History of the Prescott Circle Trail

The Yavapai Trails Association initiated the idea of a Prescott Circle Trail (PCT) over a decade ago and is now supporting the further development of the trail within the Prescott National Forest as well as segments within the City of Prescott public land, State Trust Land, and within private developments. Since YTA’s originated the concept of the PCT in 1990, other organizations have taken steps to implement this bold idea. 

During late 2007, Prescott National Forest (PNF) approved a proposal is to create a 50-mile trail system circling the Prescott area for those portions of the area that lie within PNF. This proposal for action on the trail included new trails, relocation of existing trails, conversion of certain trails from motorized to non-motorized, and conversion of roads to trails.

This action was coordinated with efforts by the City of Prescott to develop those portions of the trail that would lie within its municipal boundaries. Both agencies agreed to a further feature that will include a system of dispersed camping sites to allow hikers, mountain bikers, or equestrians to travel and complete the trail over the course of several days.

Within City of Prescott boundaries large sections of the land needed to complete the trail fall within Arizona State Trust lands. This required approval from the Arizona State Land Department for the lease of trail easements on a little over six miles of trail in two separate sections. The Prescott City Council, on August 28, 2012, agreed to the expenditure of $120,000 of monies from the Open Space Acquisition account to secure these leases.

These leases will be for 10 years in areas having high development potential and for 50 years in areas with low potential for commercial or residential development. This will still leave a small gap in the trail plan where the trail would have to cross private land.

To reach the current status of the trail, we are greatly indebted to the many agency personnel and dozens of volunteers of the PNF and City of Prescott that brought this project to fruition.

View from PCT Trail #396

Quartz Mine tailings along PCT Trail #9415

Permanent pool near junction of PCT Trail #396 &Trail #81
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