|[Photo: Granite Dells and water tank, late afternoon]|
On this hike into the Granite Dells north of Prescott, Arizona, I approached the Dells from the east, using the Iron King Trail. It was about three miles across the flats of the Antelope Hills area, skirting the northern base of Glassford Hill.
It's four miles from the trailhead at Glassford Hill Road to the junction with the Peavine Trail. Both trails use abandoned railroad grades that were originally built in the late 1800s. They were the first rail service to Prescott from the Santa Fe mainline north, and to the rich copper mines south in the Bradshaw Mountains.
About three miles in, you finally get to the edge of the Granite Dells. There are a few of the historic little railroad cars along the way, but no other interpretive signs until you get to the Peavine Trail. A sign or two as to how the railroad cars were powered, and what they carried, would be a nice addition.
|Sunlit grasses in the Granite Dells at evening|
Once into the Dells, the landscape is infinitely more interesting. The slowly eroding granite rocks make for endless shapes and patterns. There are even still mountain lions in this area, along with coyotes and javelina. The Dells are surrounded by open ranch land and developed subdivisions, but the ruggedness of this relatively small area of rocks provides enough sanctuary for at least a few mountain lions.
|Water tank reflection, Granite Dells|
|Railroad car, Iron King Trail, Granite Dells|
It was the evening golden hour, and the color temperature was getting ever warmer as the sun approached the western horizon.
|Sunlit grasses, Granite Dells|
|Granite spires, Point Of Rocks, Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona|
Finally I was to Point of Rocks. Besides the fantastic vertical granite spires and boulders, this was where the two railroads joined. There was even a train depot here. All that remains is a cement slab.
One of the most photogenic stone formations is right near the Peavine Trail here. It is a twin monolith of granite, like two stone tablets set in the bedrock. One can't help but think the Ten Commandments would go well on them. Though I'm glad that they are unaltered.
|"Stone Tablets", Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona|
At this time of the year, the almost-set sun lit up the Tablets while their base was in shadow, as if a spotlight was on them. The deep blue sky and the tree in the middle background were very nice additions.
|Granite rock spires, Granite Dells, Yavapai County, Arizona|
Zooming in on some of the other vertical stone formations set against the blue sky. The shadows help to provide detail and a feeling of depth.
|Point Of Rocks at sunset, Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona|
|Sunset on Point Of Rocks, Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona|
One more look at the pointiest rock formation before the sun slid beneath the horizon. Then it was time for the four mile walk back to the trailhead. The first couple were in twilight, but the last couple were total darkness.
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