Watson Lake at the Granite Dells in Prescott, Arizona is a scenic lake surrounded by granite boulders and glassy waters that is a haven for hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, and bird watching. In this video, we share findings and tips from the banks of Watson Lake along the Watson Lake Loop trail, which is approximately 5 miles in length and makes an entire loop around the lake. Residing at a surface elevation of 5,100′ feet and located just 4 miles from Prescott, this beautiful lake is an oasis when you are looking to escape the desert heat. Being so close to Prescott gives you a great opportunity to get into nature without much travel time. Watson Lake park is part of the Granite Dells which is a unique area, with amazing granite formations, boulders, and balanced rocks. The scenic park allows access to Watson Lake, as well as the boulders of the Granite Dells. Though swimming is prohibited, there are many other fun activities to do at Watson Lake including fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. The summertime campgrounds include restrooms with showers, picnic areas, and parking has a $3 parking fee.
Boats with gas-powered and electric-powered motors are permitted on Watson Lake, but there is a maximum 5 miles an hour “no wake” speed limit on the lake. Visitors can fish from boats or from the banks of Watson Lake. Fish varieties include largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and sunfish. Bird watching at Watson Lake is plentiful so bring your birding book as the lake is an Audubon-endorsed bird watching area where you will spot hundreds of bird species including eagles and pelicans. Granite boulders rock climbing allows you to test your rock climbing skills at the same places where mountain rescue groups train. Watson Lake is one of two reservoirs at the Granite Dells, in Prescott, Arizona, that was formed in the early 1900s when the Chino Valley Irrigation District built a dam on Granite Creek. The City of Prescott bought the 70 acre reservoir and surrounding land in 1997 to preserve it as recreational land.