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Covering the area of 1.25 million acres, Prescott National Forest is heaven for outdoor enthusiasts in Arizona. This glorious park offers visitors lush views of pine forests, rock formations, rivers, and mountain lakes. The changing elevation makes this place perfect for hiking, wildlife observation, rock climbing, mountain biking, and boating. Not to forget that the national forest is easily accessible since it lays west of Prescott and a bit over two hours away from Phoenix.
The unique location of Prescott National Forest has been attractive to explorers for centuries. The desert terrain dominates the southern part of Arizona, but as Prescott National Forest stretches north, the landscape gives way to dense forests and rolling hills. The U.S. Forest Service recognized the potential of this place and established Prescott National Forest in 1907. It is a prime location for camping as well, so if you wish to take a scenic drive through northern Arizona, book an RV in Yavapai County and experience the different side of this state.
The mild climate allows hikers to explore Prescott National Forest all year round. There are more than 100 trails within this area that range from beginner-friendly to difficult. All trails are well-marked, and hikers could easily find a route that suits their abilities. Prescott National Forest campers who choose more challenging uphill paths, like Pine Mountain Trail or Granite Mountain Trail, will get to enjoy incredible vistas that stretch in all directions. It is good to mention that hiking here in summer could be hard because of the high temperatures. Make sure you stick to shaded trails and carry enough water with you.
With four lakes and eight rivers, Prescott National Forest is an excellent location for fishing and watersports. The recreational opportunities here are endless, especially if you are into boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Lynx Lake is popular among anglers because it is close to a campground and regularly stocked with trout. Unfortunately, swimmers can’t use this 55-acre lake. If you are looking for a more secluded fishing spot, Granite Basin Lake could be one of your options. Anglers come here to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.
Prescott National Forest has several campgrounds that can accommodate long vehicles and RVs. Located on the top of the mountain, Mingus Mountain Campground is one of the best places for motorhome camping within this national forest. The views of the Verde Valley are simply spectacular, and campers will have access to all the basic amenities during their stay. These include drinking water, vault toilets, and picnic areas. The campground offers 19 sites for RVs, and each has an electric hookup. These are suitable for vehicles that are up to 40 feet long. Pets are welcome here, but they need to be kept on a leash. Reservations are not available since the campground is first-come, first-served.
When you want to go camping near the water, Lynx Lake Campground is for you. This place has 35 sites suitable for RVs and trailers not longer than 35 feet. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. No hookups are available here. Other features include vault and flush toilets, drinking water, and garbage pickup. Lynx Lake Campground is open from April to late October. Campers may reserve their spot by contacting the campground’s office via phone or online.
The city of Prescott is nestled between the Mingus and Bradshaw Mountains. Visitors who go RV camping at Prescott National Forest will probably pass through the city on their way there. The fascinating history of this place includes Native Americans, cowboys, and gold miners. That should be enough to convince you to spend a couple of hours touring this gorgeous city. Not to forget that Prescott was the first capital of the Territory of Arizona until 1867. The city is known for stunning historic architecture and rows of old Victorian houses. If you want to learn more about Prescott’s past, stop by the Sharlot Hall Museum. It was established in 1928 by Sharlot Mabridth Hall, who started collecting various documents and information about the area. Here you may see the permanent exhibits dedicated to Yavapai County’s past, as well as Native American artifacts. The museum offers guided tours, but visitors are free to explore this place on their own.
When you happen to be in Prescott in summer, make sure you attend the Prescott Frontier Days. This event has been held in Prescott since 1888, and it is often referred to as the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Prescott Frontier Days bring the whole community together over the 4th of July weekend. Visitors could see various rodeo performances, participate in dance competitions, watch the parade, and listen to live music. Younger visitors are encouraged to attend the arts and crafts workshops or even learn the basics of rodeo from the professional cowboys.
The downtown area of Prescott is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture. A large number of buildings are from the 1800s, and they have been fully restored in recent years. The most popular part of this historic area is the Whiskey Row. It was built in 1864 after a devastating fire and used to be the meeting point for some of the well-known icons of the Old West. Doc Holliday was a common sight in Prescott’s saloons. Tourists may also find excellent restaurants in downtown Prescott that serve delicious Old West food.
Those of you who wish to see more of Arizona in their rental RV could get supplies at one of the convenience stores downtown. Then head east to I-17 and continue driving north towards Flagstaff, the city surrounded by natural wonders such as Grand Canyon National Park and Sunset Crater National Monument.