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Prescott National Forest

The Prescott National Forest is a 1.25 million acre United States National Forest located in north central Arizona in the vicinity of Prescott.

Welcome


Prescott National Forest

344 So. Cortez St.
Prescott, AZ 86303
(928) 443-8000

Bradshaw Ranger District
The Bradshaw Mountains, located south of Prescott, have long been known for being one of the most mineralized mountain ranges in the world.

Chino Valley Ranger District
Nestled comfortably in the mountains of Central Arizona at an elevation ranging 3,000 to 8,000 feet, Chino Valley is located about 20 miles north of Prescott and 2 hours northwest of Phoenix.


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Verde Ranger District
Located near the geographic center of Arizona, the Verde Ranger District is accessible to visitors from all over the state.

Fire Center
In the Southwest, an important line of defense against a major wildfire, a natural disaster, or emergency incident is the Prescott Fire Center and Henry Y. H. Kim Aviation Facility. 

Prescott National Forest History
The Prescott Forest Reserve, predecessor to the Prescott National Forest, was established on May 10, 1898, by a proclamation issued by President William McKinley.

The forest is located in the mountains southwest of Flagstaff and north of Phoenix in Yavapai County, with a small portion (about 3.5 percent) extending into southwestern Coconino County. Its administrative offices are in Prescott. There are local ranger district offices in Camp Verde, Chino Valley, and Prescott. The forest includes Lynx Creek where Sam Miller panned for gold and was wounded by a cougar.

The Prescott Forest Reserve was established by the General Land Office on May 10, 1898. It was transferred to the U.S. Forest Service in 1906 and became a National Forest on March 4, 1907. On July 1, 1908 it absorbed Verde National Forest, and on October 22, 1934 it absorbed Tusayan National Forest.

Recreational Activities

Summer visitors seeking relief from the hot weather of the desert come to Prescott to camp, fish, picnic, hike and ride. The main recreation season generally runs from May to October; however, winter daytime temperatures are moderate and the Prescott National Forest can be enjoyed all year.

The forest contains 10 campgrounds, 4 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). The mild climate allows the trails to be enjoyed year-round.

For the more daring visitors, the forest offers opportunities for hang gliding, technical rock climbing and bouldering, whitewater rafting, and excellent mountain bicycling.

The Prescott National Forest is guardian of more than 100,000 acres of wilderness represented by 8 wilderness areas. Of these, Granite Mountain Wilderness is the most popular because it is only 20 minutes from Prescott by paved road. Travel is limited to foot or horseback in wilderness areas.

Currently, the forest is being challenged to increase its emphasis on wildfire and recreation management programs.

Some sites are closed during the Winter months, and during wet weather, recreation sites may be closed to prevent resource damage. Please contact the district office responsible for the site you want to visit to be sure it is open.

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