Granite Mountain Wilderness (9,799 acres) is only about 8 miles out of Prescott. Making the climb to the top of Granite Mountain (7,626') will give you great views over Prescott, Skull Valley and Chino Valley. The northern slopes of Granite Mountain Wilderness are covered with pinon and juniper with oak and some pines higher up. The southern slopes are covered with a mix of chaparral (mountain mahogany, shrub live oak, lemonade berry bush, and manzanita) and pinon and juniper. This area sees lots of hikers and horseback riders. In season, the hunters come out for the javelina and mule deer, while the bobcats, mountain lions, badgers, foxes, and skunks come out for the hunters.

There are 3 primary maintained trails in Granite Mountain Wilderness. The trailhead for Trail #308 is located off Williamson Valley Road in Prescott, and draws more horseback traffic than hikers. The Metate Trailhead (with parking area, rest rooms, drinking water, trail maps and a self-pay station: yeah, hiking here costs $2 per person) at Granite Basin Recreation Area gives access to Trail #261, a 4.1-mile route that leads up the hill to incredible views. Trail #205 is a new trail (built in 2005) that leads north for about 3 miles to its intersection with Trail #261.

The southwest face of Granite Mountain offers a sheer granite cliff about 500' high. Among rock climbers, that face is one of the most highly recommeneded places for Climbing in Arizona. If you're out here to rock climb, use the existing anchors because there's a ban on placement of new anchors. Because the southwest face of the mountain is also a favored nesting area for the pregrine falcon, the face is usually closed to climbers from February 1 until July 15 each year.

Group size is limited to 15 head of people and 10 head of livestock. And keep your dogs on leashes...

GPS Location: 34.640556°N Latitude, -112.576389°W Longitude