Granite Mountain anchors the skyline of western Prescott, but it’s just an appetizer for what you’ll see from the Longview Trail.
This short but eventful singletrack starts at the gateway to bucolic Williamson Valley, climbing down one ridge and up another on a path often hugged by juniper and other scrubby vegetation.
When the trees and shrubs fall away you’re in the middle of a vast, gold-hued grassland with horizons to the Granite Dells and Glassford Hill all the way out to glimpses of Red Rock Country and, on the clearest days, Mount Humphries by Flagstaff.
The curviness of its route makes the Longview a hit with mountain bikers as well as hikers and trail runners, careening between pinyons and oaks, rocks and bushes. The dirt surface looks primitive but feels solid as you traverse it.
There still are plenty of rocks to watch out for as you continue along the trail, one of the factors that earns it a “moderate” difficulty rating, though experienced hikers will likely find it easy to complete. As you approach the eastern end there are a few switchbacks some may find challenging.
Besides the vistas, the other great thing about this trail is its connections.
It can serve as a great warmup or cooldown for kids of all ages playing on the sports fields of Pioneer Park — the Longview feeds right into its trail system at its eastern terminus. Just beyond is the Embry-Riddle Trail, which crosses state Highway 89 to reach Heritage Park and Willow Lake. All these trails, including the Longview, are part of the iconic Prescott Circle Trail.
All told, the Longview Trail is an excellent location for an out-and-back adventure or a longer odyssey through Greater Prescott’s breathtaking landscape.
This short stretch is a major link to some great long hikes, chief among them the 56-mile Prescott Circle Trail, which can be completed in segments or, if you’re hardcore, in a one- or two-day journey. It also connects to a tangle of shorter trails you can explore in Pioneer Park just to the east, including the Legacy and Brownlow, which build on the stunning horizons you’ve already witnessed. The trail is maintained by the City of Prescott, which plans to link it to Granite Basin’s trails with a new trail and additional parking at the east trailhead. To reach the west trailhead at the northeast corner of Pioneer Parkway and Williamson Valley Road from Courthouse Plaza, take Montezuma Street north, following it as it becomes Whipple Street and then Iron Springs Road. After 3 miles turn right onto Williamson Valley Road and follow it for almost another 3 miles until reaching its intersection with Pioneer Parkway. Turn right into the unpaved parking area just after the parkway, in front of the blue “Welcome to Williamson Valley” sign.
Parking fees: None
Uses: Hiking, mountain biking
Distance: 1.78 miles
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5,419 feet to 5,547 feet