PRESCOTT, Ariz. - Willow Loop Trail is a popular name. There's one in Flagstaff and another near Payson. There are several in other states. But the new Willow Loop Trail at Willow Lake Park in Prescott has a personality unlike the others.
This 2.9 mile trail takes hikers up and down granite boulders. That's why even though this trail isn't long that Prescott TrekAbout Walking Club has rated it as one of the tougher hikes in the area. The boulder trail can be moderately steep, but levels off more gently through the forested canyon areas.
The trail is well marked. Along with the signs, there are white dots showing hikers where to go over the boulders.
The ups and downs of this hike make for interesting scenery. During the ups, hikers get great views of Granite Mountain, other mountains and the Prescott area. During the downs, hikers get great views of the water. The lower portions also have an abundance of cottonwood trees.
Bird lovers won't be let down. The recent trek found the lake almost covered with ducks. Hawks, eagles and herons are known to visit the lake.
A short way into the hike, someone painted a face on one of the large boulders. Part of the hike goes right under the dam. There are streambeds to go along with the boulders here. Due to the shade from the trees, some of these streams were still filled with ice.
During the last stretch of the hike, there are stairs leading down to a bridge that's about six feet long. The view from the bridge offers a wonderful view of the lake. The scenery also includes the marvelous boulder formations.
The Prescott Courier credits City Trails Specialist Chris Hosking and volunteers for building the trail. The volunteers include the Over-the-Hill Gang and students from Yavapai College and Embry Riddle University.
There are several other trails at Willow Lake such as Apex and Basin trails. Willow Lake also offers fishing, boating and has overnight hookups for vehicles.