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Home » Things to Do » Outdoor Recreation » Lakes & Hiking

Prescott Hiking, Lakes, Outdoor Guide

Lakes in the Prescott Area

Watson Lake

Go north on Route 89 about 3.5 miles. Enter the traffic circle, take the first right into the park. Picnic facilities are available as are kayak and boat rentals and camping in the summer season. This is a fee area - $2.00 per car.

Lynx Lake

Take Route 69 to Walker Road. Turn left and travel about 5 miles to the north end of the lake. If you go another mile or so there is an entrance to the south end of the lake. Picnic facilities are available at both these locations and the Lynx Lake trail is accessible from both. Don't miss the Lynx Lake Cafe for breakfast or dinner and unbeatable views. This is a fee area - $2.00 per car.

Goldwater Lake

Go up Senator Highway, which begins on Mount Vernon St, about 4 miles to the entrance to the lake. Turn right and park in the parking lot at the end of the road. This is a minimal fee area. The park has a picnic area, fishing, canoeing, and facilities. There is also a nice trail around the lake to the far side of the dam. Return on the same trail.

Granite Basin Lake

Take Montezuma Street north which curves west and becomes Whipple Street and then becomes Iron Springs Road (these are actually the same road; it just changes names). Continue out Iron Springs Road about 4 miles to the Granite Basin turnoff. Proceed on this road about 4 miles to Granite Basin Lake. Follow the road around to the right to the trail head. Hike on the trail as far as you like and return the same way. This trail goes up onto Granite Mountain but the first part is fairly level. Picnic facilities may be found at the entrance to the park. This is a fee area - $2.00 per car.

Willow Lake

Take Montezuma Street north which curves west and becomes Whipple Street. Then turn north on Willow Creek Road and continue about 4 miles to Willow Park. You'll find a nice trail around the lake; the area is noted for excellent bird watching. Non-motorized boats are allowed.This is a fee area - $2.00 per car.

Hiking in the Prescott Area

Forest Trail #320

Follow directions for the Lynx Creek Ruin trail and park at the trail head. Walk back across the road to the entrance of trail #320. This is a very easy trail and goes through a beautiful section of the Prescott National Forest. At one point the trails enters a lovely open area which is the future site of a Nature Center. If you continue on a trail up the hill you will reach the Lynx Lake Road at the north end of the lake where you will find a picnic area, boat rentals, and a store. If you take the side trail back at the future Nature Center, you will follow a small wash to Lynx Creek. At this point, the area has large boulders and a small flume - well worth the trip.

Groom Creek Handicap Trail

Follow directions to Goldwater Lake and continue on Senator Highway through Groom Creek to the old schoolhouse. Park in the parking area and follow the asphalt trail into the forest. Picnic tables are available near the schoolhouse, and bathroom facilities are also available.

Lynx Creek Ruin Trail

At the end of this trail there is an interpretive area overlooking a prehistoric ruin of the Prescott culture. It is easily accessible from Walker Road of Route 69 east of Prescott. This is a Prescott National Forest trail head (users fee - $2.00 per car). The trail is fairly easy and is about 3/4 mile long. The views are spectacular. Picnic tables are available at the trail head.

Pioneer Park

Go north on Route 89 to the first stop light. Turn left onto Willow Lake Road. Turn right on Will Creek Road to Commerce Drive. Turn left on Commerce Drive to the top of the hill. Park at trail head. Hike on trail as far as you like and return the same way. Picnic facilities may be found off Willow Creek Road at Willow Creek Lake Park or Heritage Park by returning down Commerce Drive and turning left. The parks are just up the road.

Prescott Peavine Trail

This trail covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Yavapai County. The trail crosses a lush riparian area, passes above Watson Lake through the beautiful Granite Dells and on toward open rangelands. 9.2 miles, easy hike. Take Route 89 to the Sundog Ranch Road. Turn right and cross the bridge. Then make a sharp left turn and go north about a mile to the turnoff for Watson Woods parking area. Follow the dirt road west to the rail bed. Hike as far as you want and return the same way. Nice views of Granite Dells and Watson Lake.

Salida Gulch

Follow directions to the Lynx Creek Ruin Road and proceed down this road. You will find this road to be somewhat rough but passable in a passenger car. At the Forest Service fence near the creek (about a mile from Walker Road) park in the open space. Cross the creek and follow the trail on the south side of Lynx Creek for about 1 mile into the gulch. There is a rock panel on the left of the trail containing several petroglyphs (figures pecked into the rock in prehistoric times by Native Americans).

Thumb Butte Trail

Prescott's most popular hike provides enjoyment during all four seasons. The loop includes a vista at the city's most famous landmark, Thumb Butte, where hikers can view downtown Prescott and (if you squint) Humphrey's Peak in Flagstaff. 2 miles, moderate hike.

Wolf Creek Loop Trail #384

With little elevation gain this is a great loop hike for everyone. Maverick Mountain and Mt. Tritle provide a beautiful backdrop to this trail that winds through lush vegatation along the Hassayampa River's upper basin. 6 miles, easy hike.

Written by: Christina Hecht

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