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Tue, Oct. 15

Loop trail offers spectacular wide-angle views, forest serenity

Elevation 7,700 feet. Complete serenity.

Here, Nature orchestrates her finest tunes. The wind's melody breaks the deep silence of the forest as treetops perform a synchronized dance, creating a wave. The unique scent of the pine trees fills the air, fresh and clean.

This area is secluded. Yet it takes only a few miles of a scenic ride from downtown Prescott to get to this jewel – Spruce Mountain.

One of the highest peaks in Yavapai County, Spruce Mountain offers spectacular panoramic views and trails that appeal to many outdoor lovers.

According to Prescott National Forest data, Groom Creek Loop Trail 307, which starts at the base of the mountain, is one of the most attractive trails in the forest's trail system, especially for horseback riders.

Horse Camp, just south of Groom Creek, is an ideal site for equestrians to prepare their horses and stock basic necessities they need for the nine-mile-long horseback ride on the trail, which they can complete in a day.

The scenic trail weaves its way through the thick ponderosa pine forest. The first three miles of the trail are steep and challenging, climbing through the upper Wolf Creek drainage to the top of Spruce Mountain. The trail is mostly good, though at some spots loose rocks and swollen roots protrude from the ground and contribute to the trail's asperity.

At the top of the mountain, a small picnic area provides a few moments of relief and needed rest before the next, longer part of the trail.

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