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Groom Creek Loop Day Hike
October 13, 2012
by Jim Buyens
  Trail Map 
Jim, Nicole, Doug, Quy, Kathy, Ed, Anikó, Cathy, Dottie, John, and Lori.

Eleven members set out to enjoy the Groom Creek Loop, a familiar trail to most, on a fine fall day just south of Prescott. The temperature at the trailhead was only 48° but we all came prepared and after a sweltering summer, the crisp clear air felt great.

Lori, Dottie, and Anikó work their way up the mountain.

We left the trailhead at about 9:30 AM and hiked basically upward for the next three and a half miles. The brisk air was thoroughly refreshing and there were no steep climbs. Along the way we looked for a fallen cabin but never did see it. Either eleven pairs of eyes all missed it or it was too far off-trail.

At the summit we stopped for lunch at some picnic tables, a rare treat for those usually looking for a nice soft rock on which to rest.

Lunch al fresco in the serenity of a pine forest.

Right nearby was the summit, and the views were spectacular.

The fire watch tower was closed and there weren’t as many fall colors as we’d hoped, but we did spot Lynx Lake, a snow-capped Humphrys Peak, Granite Mountain, and the town of Prescott.

Looking forward to the summit, which was only
a couple hundred yards away. [photo by Quy]
Lynx Lake
Humphrey’s Peak and Agassiz Peak
Jim, John, Nicole, Anikó, Doug, Dottie, Cathy, Quy, Kathy, and Lori at the summit.
[photo by Quy, with assistance from a passing hiker]

The way down was longer but essentially all downhill. We saw the most fall colors near the bottom, and more on leafy plants more than trees. The trees, of course, were mostly evergreens.

Back to level ground nearing the trailhead.
    After reaching the trailhead we headed into Prescott for a great lunch at Murphy’s Restaurant, which started out as a mercantile store in 1890. The store’s original motto was “All Goods Guaranteed to be First Class” and that still holds true today.

You’d think the Groom Creek Trail would climb Groom Creek Mountain but in fact, there is no such mountain. The trail actually climbs Spruce Mountain which, in a case of mistaken identity, actually has no spruce trees. The supposed spruces are actually Douglas firs.

Groom Creek is an unofficial town (i.e. a populated place) located roughly at the base of Spruce Mountain. It’s named for Col. Bob Groom, who came to Arizona from Kentucky in 1862. Groom lived mainly by prospecting and mining, but was also a surveyor and a member of the first Arizona Territorial Legislature.

The town’s original name was Oakdale, but that lasted only six weeks, when it became Groom Creek. By 1901 it had a post office, and in 1903 it officially recorded its townsite in Prescott.

So just think: we could have been hiking the Oakdale Loop, or the Douglas Fir Loop, or the Spruce Loop! But whatever its name, this was still a great hike.

Rejoining for a welcome glass, some great food, and especially some great
camaraderie after the hike [photo by John, with assistance from our server]
Distance:9.81 miles
Total Time:5:36 hours
Moving Time:3:47 hours
Avg. Moving Speed:2.6 mph
Starting Elevation:6,386 feet
Maximum Elevation:7,621 feet
Total Elevation Change:± 1,549 feet
Temperature at start:48°F
Temperature at finish:68°F
Temperature in Phoenix:   81°F
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated October 21, 2012