by Blake Herzog
The Granite Dells have defined the horizon of northern Prescott for about a billion years, but their craggy heights and depths can make them seen inaccessible, impenetrable. Yet people have been forging paths through the stunning columns and boulders since prehistoric times.
The City of Prescott’s Mile-High Trail System has brought the Granite Dells’ peaks and crevices closer to us than ever and opened new sections to the public, most recently at Storm Ranch just east of the northern tip of Watson Lake.
This 160-acre stretch is now home to the Storm Trails, a playground for hikers and mountain bikers from across the city and state with more than 6 miles of short trails threading through the granite formations, with the back section paying tribute to “The Flintstones” with such names as Pebbles, Bam and Yabba Dabba View.
It’s a fantastic place to have a “gay old time,” as the theme song would say.
The Storm Trails are accessible from the Prescott Peavine Trail, branching off about 1.5 miles north of its southern trailhead. Many users access the labyrinth using the Easter Island Trail past some of the most eye-popping formations, including two monoliths perched atop a ridge that resemble the massive sculptures found on that Pacific isle.
Just beyond is a low hill with expansive views of the lake, Glassford Hill, Granite Mountain and an expanse of stone pillars and piles.
Other gateways include the more technical Captain Trail to the south and the lush Boulder Creek Trail to the north.
Hikers and bikers love the kaleidoscopic views the trails give of the distinctive features within this tangle of stone, scrub oak, cactuses and footpaths. Single-track and slickrock stretches make constantly shifting demands of everyone who enters, providing a powerful workout while you explore Prescott’s outback.
Every corner reveals a new perspective of the landscape and what it can provide.