Granite Gardens 2022.09.15

Temperature-80 deg F at 2:10 PM (GMT-7); Weather-Partly cloudy with light breeze from south; Elevation 5,050' at trail head; Coordinates 34.60803N, 112.41851W.

Granite Gardens is a popular trail system within Prescott Circle Trail system. It provides opportunities to observe within a Riparian Deciduous Woodland zone along Granite Creek (on the south side of Granite Gardens Dr.) and immediately transitions to an Interior Chaparral zone when one gets onto the well-marked and maintained trails in the Granite Dells on the north side of the road. Note: Granite Gardens Dr. is a graded dirt road. Remain vigilant for 4WD and OHV traffic when hiking along the road.

South-side (Riparian Deciduous Woodland) photo Acer negundo @phil86315 | North-side (Interior Chaparral) photo Opuntia chlorotica @phil86315

Some leaves, specifically Fraxinus velutina (Velvet Ash) in the riparian zone, appeared to be turning toward fall colors.

Once on the Staircase Trail, the Interior Chaparral zone doesn't disappoint. Post-monsoon, an explosion of color, plant life, trees, and cacti awaits every hiker. No telling how long the flowers will last, though. I observed pools of rainwater still in the crevices of some of the unique granite formations that comprise the "Dells."

Love geology? The trails provide a great opportunity to "geek-out" on some really old (1,400 ma) rock. The PBRs (precariously balanced rocks) provide endless possibilities for photographers, too.

Here's a species list showing Research Grade observations made during the hike. (Clicking the link will open the observation in a new tab):
Oenothera curtiflora (Velvetweed)
Ratibida columnefera (Upright Prairie Coneflower)
Arctostyphalus pungens (Pointleaf Manzanita)
Yucca baccata (Banana Yucca)
Perityle ciliata (Fringed Rockdaisy)
Opuntia chlortica (Pancake Pricklypear)
Ageratina herbacea (Desert Ageratina)
Datura wrightii (Sacred Datura)
Echinocereus bakeri
Nolina macrocarpa (Sacahuista)
Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm)
Geranium caespitosum (Pinewoods Geranium)
Acer negundo (Boxelder)
Urosaurus ornatus (Ornate Tree Lizard)
Salix goodingii (Goodings Willow)

That's my take. What's yours? If you've been there, please take a moment to relate something special about your experience at Granite Gardens in the Comments area below. Please also visit the Natural History Institute on the web at

Stay tuned for more Journal Posts from the Mogollon Highlands ecoregion.

Posted on Σεπτέμβριος 21, 2022 0611 ΜΜ by phil86315 phil86315


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