Prescott’s got lakes and one in particular, Watson Lake, makes for time well spent outdoors in Arizona. On the particular day that we decided to go, there was actually a car show going on in one of the parking areas for the lake. While we didn’t actually attend the car show, we did walk through it on our way to the trailhead of the lake and saw some pretty cool old cars. There were even some steam-powered engines on display which I thought was different and awesome.
Watson’s water surface is about 380 surface acres with beautiful blue water and is surrounded by huge granite boulders and vegetation (we actually came across wild watermelons growing!).
On this day, we didn’t stay on one trail but hopped a couple to form a loop resulting in 4.91 miles of hiking with a 231 foot elevation gain (note: there was also a 291 foot elevation loss). We took Peavine Trail to the Lakeshore Trail network and from there took a couple of different trails within there. See photos below of the hike from my Garmin Connect App:
There are a bevy of other things you can do around and at Watson Lake as well. The allowed activities include fishing, hiking, bird watching, Rock Climbing, Camping, and Boating. Boats with gas powered and electric powered motors are permitted, but there is a 5 miles an hour speed limit. Kayaks and canoes are available during open hours and you can rent them on site. Dogs are allowed on the hikes so long as you keep them on a leash. Our dog Chalupa came with us and he loved it!! Even as a 2.5 year old puppy, he was tired and his paws slightly sore that night. It’s also clearly a great way to tire them out because Chalupa has #EnergyForDays and he slept for two straight days afterwards.
We didn’t have to pay to park but I have heard that one of the parking lots is a paid lot and that you should bring $2 in exact cash. We parked at the lot closer to the roundabout and had no problem parking for free.
As you can see, the views change frequently on this hike and they are incredibly beautiful. If you stay on the main Peavine trail, it is flat and pretty accessible to most. If you hike the Lakeshore network, the hike becomes more difficult. Pay attention and follow the white dots or you will get off trail. Follow the white dots! A good portion of the hike consists of scrambling up boulders. Have fun and let me know if you go!