Groom Creek Loop #307
Trailhead: Groom Creek Horse Camp
Length: 9 miles roundtrip
Managing Agency: Prescott National Forest
Directions to Trailhead:
From the intersection of US 89 and SR 69 go south on Gurley Street to Mount Vernon Avenue. Turn left on Mount Vernon (which becomes Senator Highway) and follow the paved road 6.5 miles to the Groom Creek Horse Camp and 307 Trailhead. There is a fee to park at the trailhead; please contact the National Forest Service for the most current fee information.
This trail is quite popular and we encountered about 20 hikers, bikers and even a horseback rider during our 4 hour trek.
From the trailhead, the trail immediately forks. We took the right fork for a counter clockwise loop. 200 yards into the trail you will reach a power line. The trail is indistinct at this point, but it follows the power line road to the south. Follow the power line for 1/4 mile until you cross a dirt road. The trail then turns east and leaves the power line road. The trail rises and falls and crosses numerous drainages as it climbs gently along South Spruce Ridge.
After climbing 3.5 miles you reach a saddle where Trail #377 branches off to the right. Stay left and continue the gentle climb for 2 more miles until you reach the Spruce Mountain Lookout. There are several picnic tables, fire pits and a outhouse here. It makes for a nice lunch spot. A dirt road also makes this area accessible by car, but we did not see anyone drive up. While you're here, take the 200 yard side trip to the lookout tower. The views from here are stunning and you can see the Bradshaw's, Granite Mountain and even the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff.
From the picnic area the trail continues to the south and switchbacks down along Groom Creek. The trail here is steeper than the section you climbed to the top. From the top it is 3.5 miles back to the trailhead.
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