Granite Basin Lake is a reservoir located just West of Prescott in the Prescott National Forest, adjacent to the Granite Mountain Wilderness Area. The 5 acre lake is at an elevation of 5,600′ and has an average depth of 6′. There are several well visited campsites and picnic areas within the Granite Basin Recreation area. Granite is of course the rock type we will see covered with large Pine, Juniper and Oak trees. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3832043.pdf
The trip will start by meeting at the Community Nature Center in Prescott. Those arriving at the Prescott Community Nature Center early, please feel free to wander about. The Center has 1.5 miles of trails for hiking, birding and nature study. There is a Habitat Garden with over 25 named species of native plants chosen for their drought resistance and appeal to pollinators. The small pond is a magnet for birds and other animals as well as water-loving plants. Forty-one plants are identified along the trails and their natural history is described in an on-line guide. As a group we will spend limited time here basically waiting for other trip participants.
A short drive to Granite Basin Lake, we will start by birding the lake and outlet area by the boat launch. Hiking around the South side of the lake to the dense West side and continue up Trail 261 to the Wilderness boundary. Expect to see lots of Acorn Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and other high mountain species. We may stop at birdy locations along the road out. Returning to Phoenix, we will make a quick stop at the Watson Lake overlook to see if any swans and geese have arrived for the winter.
Granite Basin Lake is located approximately 7 miles North-West of Prescott. Any car.
Things to Know/Bring:
- Granite Basin is a Forrest Service Fee area at $5 per vehicle per day. Passes can be purchased at the cash pay booths on site.
- Bring a lunch and lots of water.
- Please bring binoculars and cameras.
- Bathrooms are available at the trailhead, nearby camping area, and picnic area.
- We will be doing moderate hiking, so plan on bringing sturdy hiking boots.
- A wide-brimmed hat and sun block are also highly recommended.
Carpooling, Meeting Time/Location:
We will carpool from the Phoenix area. The meeting time and location is the Bell Rd & I-17 Park and Ride lot at 7:30 am. SW corner. It takes about 1 & ½ hours from the park & ride lot to Prescott. Here we will meet at the Prescott Community Nature Center at 9:00am It is located at 1981 Williamson Valley Road just North off Iron Springs road about 1/2 mile past the Walmart. From here we will carpool 10 minutes to the Granite Basin lake boat launch.
Difficulty: 2-3 as we will hike about two miles over uneven forest service trails.