South of Prescott in the Prescott National Forest, the 8.7 mile Groom Creek loop is a short but steep route open to hiking to the top of Spruce Mountain (7,500 feet) for a scenic lookout into the Bradshaws. The loop is best clockwise.
To reach the hiking trailhead from Prescott, head south on the Senator Highway (Mt. Vernon Ave.) toward the Groom Creek trailhead (4 miles away). The Horse Camp trailhead is located off FS52A.
Starting at the eastern end of the Horse Camp parking lot, climb to the top of Spruce Mountain -- the summit is three miles away and 1,000 feet up from the trailhead. Traverse up a series of ridges into the heart of the Bradshaw Mountains Before heading straight up. From the summit , on a rock outcrop high above towering ponderosa pines, we could see for miles in every direction -- the glowing red rock buttes of Sedona and the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks to the north, the Bradshaws to the south, and many other nameless mountain ranges fading into the distance. From the top of the mountain, Trail No. 307 meanders gradually downward. Relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the forest. It is almost six miles back to the parking lot and the entire distance offered excellent cross-country skiing.
Overall, Spruce Mountain is the 3rd most popular cross country ski area of all 11 Nordic ski destinations in Arizona.
Local Contacts: Prescott National Forest (928) 445-7253; Prescott Tourism (800) 266-7534.
Best Season: Jan. - Feb.
Average Difficulty: Difficult
Base Camp: Pleasant St. Inn (928) 445-4774
Luxury Loding: Mt. Version Inn (928) 778-0886; Prescott Pines Inn (800) 541-5374.
Reference Source: click here http://www.fs.usda.gov/prescott/
GPS: 34.4689, -112.438
Date Published: 1/2/2016
Date Updated: 7/3/2016
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