“A challenging climb to the top of Spruce Mtn with lots of fun downhill.”
— Jeff Combs
One of the best views around from the overlook on top of Spruce Mtn.
Starting from the Tr.297 (Smith Ravine) trailhead located 4.8 miles east on Walker Rd. from Hwy 69, you encounter a climb from the very start.
Smith Ravine Trail #297 is nicely shaded as it passes through oak and ponderosa pine forest. The trail rolls up and down as it gradually climbs from an elevation of roughly 6,000 at one end, to nearly 7,000 at the other. About halfway along the route, this trail crosses Smith Ravine Spring. The spring may be flowing during certain times of the year, evidenced by the presence of yellow columbine and other water-loving plants. As the trail ascends into the Bradshaw Mountains, there are occasional views of the Lynx Creek drainage area to the north and east, and Spruce Mountain Lookout to the south. This area is home to coyotes, javelina, skunks, and mountain lions and there may be signs of wildlife along the trail.
Once at the end of Tr. 297, go left on the jeep road and follow to the Spruce Mtn summit. Catch your breath and check out the view from the overlook located by the lookout tower. Then follow the Tr. 307 to the left (south) and enjoy a fast downhill to the 307 trailhead. Then back to the summit and the return trip on the jeep road and Smith Ravine.
Groom Creek Loop Trail #307 is one of the most attractive trails on the Prescott National Forest, offering a rewarding hike through the areas forested high country. This trail passes through idyllic stands of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak as it climbs to the top of Spruce Mountain. While there are no actual spruce trees on the peak, there are Douglas fir and a number of other cone-bearing species that thrive in the cool mountain conditions. A picnic area, a vault toilet, and a lookout tower are located at the top of the trail. You may visit the lookout tower when it is staffed, usually throughout the summer months. The views, of course, are stunning.