About a stone's throw north of the Phoenix metro is a town that goes by the name of Prescott. Seeing that Prescott made the Expedia "19 Cities That Must Be Seen In 2019" list after they made the 2018 list last year, and a little history lesson, will let you know why we had to make a trip up north to visit.
Prescott was established way back in 1864 as the Territorial Capital of Arizona. It was a booming political town with the nearby Fort Whipple. As politics grew, so did business as Prescott mining companies and cattle ranches sprouted up.
In 1889, after some struggling times in the area economically, the capital was moved to Phoenix where it remains today. Prescott didn't cease to be though, because in 1886 the Arizona Central Railway was opened that connected Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix to the Southern Pacific Line. This brought prosperity back to Prescott heading into the 1890s. (History Source)
This is when Prescott gets very interesting. If you're a fan of the old western time period like we are, then you will LOVE this part of the Prescott history lesson. Legends by the names of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday made stops in Prescott and actually staked their claim in town for awhile before heading to Tombstone. Poker was played, whiskey was drank and yelluh bellies were dealt with at the historic watering hole, The Palace Saloon.
After hearing all of this we knew we had to make a trip to explore some of the trails that this town was founded upon. After a stop in to town at Firehouse Coffee Roasters to get us some steaming coffee to chill our bones (It was about 45 degrees and we live in Phoenix... We were cold), we headed out to Adventure two for the year: Constellation Trails.
As soon as we stepped foot on the trail head we were met with more Prescott history, but this time more on the tragic side. On February 28, 1959 a U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-121G Super Constellation crashed on the trail and five U.S. Navy Servicemen lost their lives that. What makes this tragedy hit even deeper to the core of our hearts was that lying on the ground west of the memorial was a pile of rubble from the plane that went down that February day.
Now, after spending some time taking in just what we were looking at, we had to decide what trail we wanted to take, because the Constellation Trails is a network of winding trails that you could get lost exploring for hours.
We decided upon the North 40 Trail seeing as it was the big loop around the entire location. As we started on our way, we knew we were not going to make it all the way through the journey. Not because it was difficult, but because there are so many more trails that take you to many gorgeous, secluded areas. So, naturally, we explored as many of them as we could.
We seemed to always only make it about 1/8 of a mile before deciding to take a stroll on a side trail. Every single time we were met with breath taking rock formations to scramble up on and fallen trees to take a quick seat on, to take in the views.
Now, as you continue along the main trail, you come across some beautiful overlooks that conveniently have benches built in so that you can sit and enjoy a snack, a good book or a conversation as you look out at the beauty before you.
We made it about halfway along North 40 Trail before our stomachs started to let us know it was time to head back and get a bite to eat. So, we cut across an unnamed trail that meets with trails that go by the names of Hole In The Wall Trail, Hully Gully and Ham and Cheese.
That last one definitely did not help our stomach growling situation!
As we started to wrap up our hike, we began to realize that the trails were very lightly trafficked and those that we came across were delighted to take part in some friendly conversation with us.
Some even had cute doggos! We love doggos!
We made our way back to town to enjoy some of the rich history we had learned about and get a bite on the same bar stools that Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday likely sat and enjoyed an Old Fashioned on at the Palace Saloon (The bar top is the same as from when the Palace opened. It survived the big Prescott fire because of the Palace regulars carrying it to safety! Now that's dedication!).
Once we walked through the swinging doors, we were transported back in time as the employees all dressed in western garb and had old revolvers in their gun belt holsters. We had some of the best burgers one could eat as we ended our trip.
A fitting way to end such an amazing day of adventuring. Stay tuned as we explore Butcher Jones Trail in our next adventure!