A fun, but demanding mixed (gravel + tarmac) ride straight out of downtown Prescott featuring 3 climbs and 3 descents. No flat roads found here!
The route starts easy, departing from the Yavapai County courthouse. The first 5 miles climbs 745 ft on pristine tarmac with an average grade of 2.5%. The next 3.8 miles, on gravel, climbs another 1000 ft (~ 5% grade, with pitches at 9%) to the highest point and most scenic viewpoint of the ride, sunset lookout.
From here, the road points down towards Skull Valley on Copper Basin road, where some sections are exhilarating and particularly steep (~ 15%). A quick un-expected left turn onto Forest Service road 53, about half way down the 5 mile descent brings you to the next climb.
A word of caution: This downhill section has some serious washouts as it runs parallel, and sometimes through Copper Basin Creek. The gravel on this section is of the large stone variety (eyeballs? sisters?). A mountain bike would definitely be more suitable here but any adventurous gravel bike rider will love the challenge. We (AlainV and others) rode it with 38mm slick gravel tires with relative comfort (this will be skill dependent). // Read More
At the bottom, a steep short climb will bring you back to Hwy 89, paved (traffic??). Do not go through through the giant culvert, stay left. (Needs clarification?) The next climb looks daunting, but is gentle, and follows a very picturesque valley to your right.
At the top, a short paved descent will quickly bring you to the second gravel descent of the day, South Indian Creek Rd. This is a super fun and fast descent to the valley floor and to the last climb of the day, Wolf Creek Road. This climb is ~4 miles / 900+ feet of beautiful gravel, requiring constant pressure on the pedals. Note that at the top section, there will be an increase in traffic (cars and buses) as there are various camps and campsites.
Part way up the climb, at ~ mile 23 is the trail head to Wolf Creek Falls. If the springs and creeks are flowing, we recommend doing the hike. But … lock up your bikes.
The final section of this route features an awesome descent on pristine tarmac yet again. The speed limit is 25mph so the risk of cars passing you is low, making for a safe descent.
The route finishes where it started, at the historic Yavapai County courthouse. Coffee / food recommendation (?)
Does the route ever go by anything called Wolf Creek Falls??
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 32 miles / 3500 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 50% paved, 50% gravel roads
– Location: Prescott, Arizona
– Rideable: Spring, Summer, Fall
– Route Author: AlainV
– Published: May 2019
Advanced. Due to the ~ 5 mile technical descent on Forest Service road 53.
Yavapai County courthouse. Flush toilets and water??
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road