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Number of days
?
Motorized watercraft allowed?
Yes
Water difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

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. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Beautiful and unique scenery. Easy access. Fishing. "No wake" rule for boats.

Cons

Crowded in peak seasons.

Address

Watson Lake Park Rd
3101
Prescott, AZ 86301
United States

Features

Campgrounds + Campsites
Fishing
Picnic tables
Bird watching
Wildlife

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide

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