I have recently had several requests for information on hiking in Prescott Valley, so I decided to go see what I could find. What I found was a spectacular journey to the summit of Glassford Hill. The trailhead for the summit hike is located on East Antelope Lane in Prescott Valley. If you are coming from Prescott, take Hwy 69 east and turn left on Prescott East Hwy (circle K). Travel north just under a mile and make a left on Antelope Lane; go about a ½ mile to the trailhead parking area on your left. There is ample parking and no fee, but also no water or restrooms. The hike is only 2 miles to the summit, but it is all uphill. The trip down is a lot quicker than the trip up. This trail is very exposed, so take lots of water with you, wear a hat, and anything else you may need to protect yourself from the elements.
From what I can gather, this trail had all kinds of volunteer help to get completed; including assistance from our very own Over the Hill Gang, as well as some help from local Boy Scouts, and other various volunteers. The city did an excellent job placing lots of signage on the trail with tons of fun facts and information about the history of Glassford Hill. Information about vegetation, volcanic activity, and the creatures you can find in the area from bobcats to butterflies, is also listed. There are also markers the entire way showing distance and elevation gain. Glassford was an active volcano around 10 to 14 million years ago. Colonel William Glassford’s heliograph station was situated on the top of Bald Mountain and was part of a then sophisticated communication system that covered the majority of Arizona and New Mexico. The trail is open to hikers, bikers, and equestrian user as well.
The trail is a beautifully scenic route that ends with an epic view of Prescott Valley, as well as a panoramic of the hill itself and all our surrounding peaks. After the summer rains, Glassford briefly changes to a hill of green, but it never lasts very long. I managed to catch it at its peak and it was incredible; full of grasses and wild flowers of all kinds. The sunset, as well as the sunrise, from this trail were both quite beautiful. I would not recommend the hike on hot summer afternoon; you will end up well done if it’s too hot outside, and seeking shade is not an option. Pushing yourself too hard on this hike could end up being an issue, as what goes up still must come all the way back down. Bring more water than you think you will need and an open mind to take in this very open county. The trail is only strenuous because it has a lot of elevation gain, and can be rocky as well as a little slick coming down. There are plenty of benches along the way to stop and take in the beautiful views while you rest a moment or have a snack.
For more information about local hikes and gear visit The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma Street in downtown Prescott, call (928) 443-8565 or visit www.azhikeshack.com