Prescott Lakes’ Trails Lead to Panoramas, Petroglyphs

by Blake Herzog

The Prescott Lakes community sits across the street from Watson and Willow lakes and has its own waterfall at the entrance, along with small ponds on its golf courses. It’s also laced with paths connecting its neighborhoods to parks within and City of Prescott trails beyond its boundaries.

A 2-mile cluster of trails stemming from Vista Park has some of the best views and cardio workout moments. Offering diverse surfaces and views within their relatively short length, these trails traverse the mesas and canyons Prescott Lakes is built into and are open for public use:

Vista Trail — A 6-foot-wide paved trail through the small park it’s named after, this is a hardened, improved path that accommodates strollers, kids’ bikes, walkers and most nonmotorized vehicles.

It’s a great stroll for the whole family that takes you through the park, which has well-maintained grassland landscaping and great views. It loops through the park and follows a wash southward until it meets the Panorama Trail near Solstice Drive.

Keep in mind there are several smaller trails nestled around this loop as you navigate.

Panorama Trail — The northern leg of the Vista Trail Loop turns into this singletrack trail as it leaves the park and takes a steeper, narrower grade up the mesa through grasslands, giving users a better workout while still being accessible for everyone.

The entire loop formed by the Vista and Panorama trails between the park and Solstice Drive is about 1 mile.

Petroglyph Trail — From where the two sides of the loop converge on one short stretch that meets Solstice Drive, turn to the west and follow Solstice for about 150 feet, passing St. Enodoc Circle, until you see the Petroglyph Trail on the south side of the street.

This trail is a half-mile loop around the top of Solstice Mesa that includes a display of prehistoric petroglyphs found throughout Prescott Lakes as it was being built.

You’ll also see four petroglyphs arranged in a display about the solstice and excellent 360-degree views of the Greater Prescott area and the peaks beyond.

The 8 miles of public trails within Prescott Lakes include the Dells 89 trail system on its southeast side that hooks into the wider City network. The Panorama Trail continues south of Solstice Drive as the Pronghorn, which winds around to connect to the Petroglyph loop on its western end. To reach Vista Park from downtown Prescott, take Gurley Street east to the interchange with AZ-89 and AZ-69, merging to the left (north) onto AZ-89. Continue northeast until reaching Prescott Lakes Parkway, then turn left (northwest). Continue for about two-thirds of a mile and turn left onto Smoke Tree Lane. After about one-third of a mile turn right onto Sarafina Lane and follow that street for about half a mile until reaching Vista Park on your left.

Parking fees: None
Uses: Hiking, mountain biking
Distance: Approximately 2 miles
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation: 5,250 feet to 5,480 feet