Centennial Trail

by Ron Smith

Built in 2012, this trail gives recognization to the 100th birth date of the State of Arizona. Like other trails within the City of Prescott, this one was constructed by the "Over the Hill Gang" under the direction of Trails Specialist Chris Hosking. But, unlike other trails in the Granite Dells area, this one, though outside of the Dells, has much of their geologic character. 

Uniquely, however, this one lies within the boundaries of two residential developments, Enchanted Canyon and The Preserve. There is an easement through open space within the former and a purchase of about 34 acres from the latter. Together the two contiguous routes represent a truly astonishing accomplishment through some of the toughest terrain in this highland region. 

I have hiked in this area for the last 20 years and have come to realize that the only way to navigate through much of it to "bushwack" through almost impenetrable chaparral. The new trail has been cut as a narrow corridor, snaking it's way through and among the maze of giant boulders in a deeply fractured landscape. This trail has made it possible to navigate through this dramatic landscape on a splendid trail without have to crawl or tear through it.

If you are using a GPS, here are the two trailhead Lat-Long Coordinates:
W3433.4' N11229.4 (east trailhead) 
W3433.5' N11230.3(west trailhead) 

From downtown Prescott drive west on Gurley Street for about 2 miles to Gail Gardner Way. Turn north at the traffiic light and drive about 0.5 miles to Westridge Drive. Turn west on Westridge. The trailhead is about 1/4 mi. on the right, a short distance past the south fence of an RV storage lot on Gail Gardner Way.
This is not a loop trail but can be hiked as one using any of several either dirt or paved streets within the aforementioned residential areas. An alternative is to leave a shuttle vehicle at one end of the trail or the other.

To access the west leg of the trail, use the directions to the Westridge trailhead but continue past to the junction with Downer Trail (paved). Turn left here and continue on Downer to the crash gate at Sierry Peaks Dr. Turn right (north) on Sierry Peaks and follow it past Ridgewood Drive to the fenced petroglyph site. The Centennial Trail circles the glyph site around the north and south sides, then connects to the main trail as it heads northeast from here.

Trail Description:

From Westridge trailhead: The trail first climbs a series of steps before heading north. It follows a winding course among the boulder strewn terrain offering grand views of the city and the Prescott basin. The trail is suitable for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.
At 0.5 miles a side trail provides access to a residential park on Rock Lane, a short distance from Gail Gardner. 

At just under one mile, the trail takes a westerly course a short distance from and overlooking commercial areas adjacent to Iron Springs Road. The trail then crosses a small wooden bridge before heading in a more southwesterly direction. Just prior to crossing Kile St. (dirt road) there is an access trail to vehicle parking on the lower section of Kile St.

From here the trail is on an easement within Enchanted Canyon residential development (formerly Dalke property). In steep terrain it takes a course below and parallel to Rockwood Dr. before diving into a densely wooded canyon thicket. This is a dramatic piece of the landscape with three canyon crossings before reaching the petroglyh site adjacent to Ridgewood Dr. Just before reaching this site the trail splits into two short segments circling the petroglyph rock.

Click on the image to see it enlarged

Trailhead sign

Boulder shade

Steps to overlook

Preserve Point

Petroglyph rock