Hike of the Week: Spence Basin Trail System, Prescott National Forest     

Mare CzinarMarch 21, 2023
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Populating the space between the Thumb Butte and Granite Basin Recreation areas in Prescott National Forest, the Spence Basin Trail System adds nearly 30 miles of hiking options to the area’s already packed menu. The Spence Springs trailhead, which opened in 2019, offers direct access to the heart of the system.  

The maze of loopy, hilly single tracks speak to their mountain-biker origins.  Tightly woven, with dozens of ways to customize both length and difficulty levels, the trails roll out in the varied terrain around Spence Creek.  Excellent signage along the trails make route-planning simple. 

  • LENGTH: 4.6-mile loop as described here
  • RATING: moderate
  • ELEVATION: 5,490 – 5,936 feet
  • BEST SEASON:  October – May
  • FACILITIES: restroom 


  • Spence Springs Trailhead:
  • From Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott, go north on Montezuma Street which will turn into Whipple Street then Iron Springs Road (County Road 10) for 4.8 miles to Spence Springs Road on the left.  
  • This is located just past the turnoff for Granite Basin Recreation Area.  
  • The trailhead is on the left a few yards down the road.  

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