Spence Springs offers limitless options and fun scenery sure to generate lots of smiles
By Amanda Lane, Owner, The Hike Shack
When I was a kid I loved the choose your own adventure books. I would read them over and over until I had chosen every option possible. Spence Springs is a lot like those books. You can pick a starting point and create countless adventures.
One adventure I have enjoyed most recently is Vista, Noodle, Sidekick, Tatanka, Tunnel Vision, to the BLM. Spence Springs is now very well marked and at every turn there is not only a trail map but even a QR code so you can download the map and track yourself with your phone. Service in this area is quite good so even if you do manage to lose yourself it will not be hard to find you.
My loop was about five and-a-half miles long, but as I mentioned above, you can choose your own adventure and cut it a little short or add seemingly endless miles. This area has a lot of mountain bike traffic, so be safe on the corners and listen for other adventurers out there.
I headed south down the Javelina Trail from the parking area and took my first left onto Vista. Vista lives up to its name as it offers amazing views of the Bradshaw Mountains and all the way to Mingus Mountain. Roughly a mile down Vista you will want to go either right or straight onto Noodle. Going left onto Noodle will take you to the Spence Basin Trailhead. Noodle is a two-mile loop, so no matter which way you go, you will want to jump on Sidekick when you see it roughly a mile either way.
Sidekick crosses back and forth over the Water Line Trail (or road) and some seasonal streams as it leads you back up to the Javelina Trail on the old railroad grade. From here, cross over the Javelina Trail and head up the hill, then take your first right onto Tatanka. The Tatanka Trail is a little more rugged and not recommended for horses. Your next turn is a right turn onto Tunnel Vision. This leads you to a tunnel that goes under the Javelina Trail (yep; I said under!). At the next intersection, take the BLM Trail back up to the top of Vista. This is a bit of a climb but still enjoyable.
Any which way you go, the Spence Spring Trail system offers an entertaining journey. You’ll see rusty fenders, boulder piles, old cow bells in the trees, and logs stacked on each other like a totem pole, so any of your choices in miles will put a smile on your face. Grab your phone, download the map, and see where your choices take you.
The parking lot off Iron Springs Road and the Javelina Trailhead junction has recently been expanded and provides another great parking area in addition to the Spence Springs Trailhead parking area. Although improved, the parking area is not well suited for horse trailers and offers no facilities. I parked in this lot for my adventure.
Stop by The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma Street in Prescott or call 928.443.8565 or visit www.thehikeshack.com.