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Watson Lake

Central Arizona, Arizona

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Watson Lake

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  • View of Watson Lake from atop a rock formation.- Watson Lake
  • View of a kayaker in Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • Vegetation grows from within the rocks in Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • View of Watson Lake from atop a rock formation.- Watson Lake
  • Kayaking on Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • Kayaking on Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • Breathtaking views of Watson Lake can be seen while kayaking.- Watson Lake
  • View of Watson Lake from a distance.- Watson Lake
  • Kayaking at Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • The granite dells of Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
  • Kayaking on Watson Lake.- Watson Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful and unique scenery. Easy access. Fishing. "No wake" rule for boats.
Cons: 
Crowded in peak seasons.
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Region:
Central Arizona, AZ
Congestion: 
Moderate
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

Watson Lake is one of two reservoirs at the Granite Dells just minutes outside of the historic city of Prescott. Watson isn’t the largest of lakes, but the out-of-this-world scenery is definitely worth the trip. The “Granite Dells” is comprised of large, granite boulders dating back an astounding 1.4 billion years. Weathering and erosion have caused the boulders to become rounded, giving Watson Lake its distinct look. Vegetation grows out of some of the rock formations, exemplifying the strength and resilience of nature.

The lake is frequented by campers, hikers, birders, and adventurers of all kinds, but one of the best ways to explore the lake is on the water itself. Kayaks and canoes are regularly seen on the lake, and if sitting at water level isn’t your style, paddleboarding is a great option as well. Getting out on the water allows you to see the lake from a completely different perspective and gives you the ability to paddle right to the base of the giant granite boulders. There are many coves to explore on the lake, which are perfect for kayak fishermen. The lake is known for having bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and carp – and it is stocked with trout in the winter. Since motorized boats are limited to 5 mph, this lake is perfect for kayakers, SUPers, and canoers. For those who don’t have their own gear, canoe and kayak rentals are available at Prescott Outdoors during peak seasons and can conveniently be found at the lake’s launch ramps. Those with their own gear can drive directly to the launch area at the end of Hillsdale Road, northeast of Watson Lake Park, for drop-off and pick-up.

During your leisurely paddle, be sure to park your kayak at one of the rock formations and take a quick hike to the top. The aerial view of the lake is absolutely magical and one you definitely don’t want to miss. 

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
13 Members
Who's Done It
8 Members
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Contributor
22 Adventures Explored
5 Adventures Published

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