Watson Lake in Prescott offers hiking, fishing, boating, casual rock climbing, and more. It’s so perfect for a day trip! We’ve been numerous times over the past 10 years, and it never gets old. The iconic boulders of the Granite Dells are what makes the area literally picture perfect.
We just love hiking here! Start at the north parking lot, just past the play area, and hike down to the water for amazing views and fun, kid-friendly rock climbing! The name of this trail is the Explorer Trail. The trail also connects to other trails, which can lead you around most of the lake. The trails are not stroller-friendly. Watch littles too as there are rocks often sticking halfway out on the path.
Also, don’t miss the south boat ramp, where you can explore along the bank (no swimming allowed). There are usually lots of geese here in the summer! Seasonal boat rentals are also available. And you can launch your own kayaks or canoes, or fish from the dock.
Watson Lake is just under 2 hours from Phoenix, near Prescott, AZ. The $3/car entry fee is very affordable (and it’s free on Wednesdays!). True story, we paid with a $20 bill once to enter…and got back change in $1 coins! So definitely bring along smaller bills to pay, unless you want the coins.
Restrooms and picnic areas are available, and a small playground. You can also camp at Watson Lake over the summer only. Sometimes events are held here so be sure to check the website for any announcements if you’re looking for a less busy experience.
More information can be found on their website.
We’ve also explored at Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, and Willow Lake around Prescott. Lynx Lake is a favorite, especially for camping!