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Prescott Circle Trail Guide

Written By: Brandon Lampley

The Prescott Circle Trail is a 60-mile loop around the city of Prescott, Arizona. Snuggled in a shallow valley at the base of the Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott was the first territorial capital of Arizona and home to the Yavapai and Apache for millennia. The ‘other PCT’ is open to all non-motorized use and is popular with hikers, runners, and mountain bikers alike. The trail skirts popular lakes and mountains that define the greater valley, with amazing views from a well-maintained and gently-graded hike and bike trail.


Distance:
56 miles

Days: 3–5

Elevation gain/loss: 6,650 feet

Best season: April–October

Permits: Required for campgrounds and some parking, none for hiking

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

WHAT TO KNOW

The author recently completed the Circle in a counterclockwise hike over three days, camping twice along the way in Forest Service campgrounds. While it's a great mini thru-hike for fit backpackers, the Circle is also popular with day hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers. You might even meet some locals out on horseback along the way. In this article, we’ll detail a three-day backpacking trip, suggestions for base camping and day hiking the whole loop over five days, as well as a few favorite loops that use the Circle. Read on here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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Treeline

Media Mentions from Treeline Review

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MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team