- The Prescott National Forest lies in a mountainous section of central Arizona between forested plateaus to the north and arid desert to the south. The Natural beauty of mountain tops, clear lakes and rivers, great varieties of fish, unique wildlife, and remnants of cultural heritage provide settings for a diversity of outdoor recreation activities.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Mingus Mountain Campground
At the lowest elevation, the primary vegetation is of the Sonoran Desert type. As the elevation rises, chaparral becomes common, followed by pinyon pine and juniper. Above that, Ponderosa pine dominates the landscape.
Scenic attractions include Thumb Butte, Mingus Mountain, Granite Mountain and the Verde River. Scenic drives include Senator Highway, Perkinsville Road, Mingus Mountain, Walker Road and Thumb Butte Loop.
The Prescott National Forest includes more than 100,000 acres of
wilderness represented in 8 designated Wilderness Areas. Of these, Granite Mountain Wilderness is the most popular because of its proximity to the city of Prescott. Others include Juniper Mesa, Apache Creek, and Castle Creek Wilderness Areas, on the west side of the Forest, and Sycamore Canyon, Woodchute, Cedar Bench and Pine Mountain Wilderness Areas on the east side.
Recreation - Offering cool relief from the desert below during the summer, and moderate winter daytime temperatures, the Prescott National Forest can be enjoyed all year round.
The forest contains 12 campgrounds, 5 group reservation campgrounds, 7 picnic areas, and 2 group reservation picnic areas. Most of the developed recreation sites are located in the pines with 5 of the campgrounds and two of the picnic areas situated near manmade lakes. Several developed sites offer barrier-free access for users experiencing disabilities.
Nearly 450 miles of scenic trails for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, or mountain biking are offered on the Prescott National Forest. The forest also contains one National Recreational Trail (Granite Mountain Trail) and one National Historic Study trail (General Crook Trail).
For the more daring visitors, the forest offers opportunities for hang gliding, technical rock climbing and bouldering, whitewater rafting, and excellent mountain biking.
Climate - Climate on the Prescott varies with elevation. The higher elevations generally receive much more precipitation and much cooler temperatures than the lower elevations. Summers on the Forest bring warm daytime temperatures with cool nights. Low elevations often experience very hot summer temperatures. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer. The late autumn, winter and early spring months bring some snow and sometimes cold temperatures to the high elevations but frequent clear, sunny days. Winter brings moderate temperatures to the low elevations; a good time to experience these normally snow free areas.
The Prescott National Forest is located in central Arizona, about 70 air miles northwest of Phoenix. Roughly half of the forest lies west of the city of Prescott, in the Juniper, Santa Maria, Sierra Prieta, and Bradshaw Mountains. The other half of the Forest lies east of Prescott and takes in the Black Hills, Mingus Mountain, Black Mesa, and the headwaters of the Verde River.