February 6, 2018
4 Best Lakes Near Prescott
Water enthusiasts love Prescott’s rich variety of lakes, creeks and rivers that provide a multitude of recreational opportunities, ranging from boating and fishing, to hiking, bird watching and picnicking.
Northeastern Prescott boasts Watson, Lynx and Willow lakes, at the southern end of the picturesque Granite Dells area. Located south of Prescott is Goldwater Lake, nestled in the hills of Prescott National Forest.
Take some time to relax and soak in the scenic vistas with exquisite shades of blue water surrounded by multicolor rocks and gentle hills and mountains near Prescott.
Lynx Lake is a somewhat small 55-acre lake, but extremely popular with locals and tourists. There’s no end to the number of activities you can enjoy at Lynx Lake. Hiking, boating, fishing, camping and even gold panning—it’s easy to spend an entire day here. Stop by the Lynx Lake Marina, where you can rent canoes, kayaks or pedal boats (only boats with 10 horsepower or less are permitted). The Marina has a charming café and store for supplies that will get your day started (open from late spring to early fall and closed on Mondays).
Anglers enjoy a wide variety of fish including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie and catfish. The Lynx campsite has 39 sites and the Hilltop Campground has 38 camping sites, both with toilets and drinking water, but no hookups. Many campers enjoy hiking around the perimeter of the lake.
Location: A couple miles from downtown Prescott and 25 miles from Talking Rock. Drive up Highway 69 as if you’re leaving Prescott to head to Prescott Valley, head east on Walker Road and follow the signs to Lynx Lake.
If you’ve never been in the Granite Dells area, you owe it to yourself to visit Watson Lake—there’s no other place like it! Explore the unique granite rock formations that surround it, either by renting a kayak or a canoe, or hiking the Peavine or Iron King Trails.
Photographers and fisherman love the lake, with its beautiful views and a large variety of fish, including carp, catfish, crappie and largemouth bass. Bird lovers are sometimes able to spot eagles and pelicans at the nearby riparian preserve. During the summer months, campsites, picnic tables, grills, fish cleaning stations and a boat ramp are all available to guests. It’s easy to rent canoes and kayaks to really explore this gorgeous area.
Location: About 20 miles from Talking Rock. From Courthouse Plaza, drive east on Gurley Street about a mile to the junction of Arizona 69 and Arizona 89. Head north on Arizona 89 about 2.3 miles, then turn right on Prescott Lakes Parkway. Proceed 0.3 mile, then turn left onto Sundog Ranch Road and look for the parking area on your left.
Willow Lake is another gorgeous area you won’t want to miss, especially if you’re interested in biking or hiking. Boats with gas motors are not permitted on Willow Lake. You may bring your kayak or canoe, but there aren’t any rentals available. Or bring your binoculars to view the thousands of waterfowl that can be seen in the winter months.
The Willow Lake north shore features an archaeological site that was excavated around 2004 as a part of the Willow Lake recreation facility development. The site provides exposure to remains of a village that may have housed up to 800 residents at one time, known as the Prescott Culture. This site is unique in that it is a great example of the Hohokam influence on the people of the Prescott region.
Location: Willow Lake is about 20 miles from Talking Rock and located off Willow Creek Road on Heritage Park Road, minutes north of Prescott.
Goldwater Lake was named for Morris Goldwater, a longtime mayor of Prescott (and Barry’s uncle). It is a great area to get away from crowds, kick back and enjoy the day.
Kayaks, canoes and boats powered by electric, not gas, motors are allowed on the lake. There’s an easy trail that surrounds the lake, great for smaller children or those looking for a relaxing, rather than challenging, hike. Visitors will find picnic tables, grills and restrooms around the lake, plus a playground, a volleyball court and several horseshoe pits. There is a $2 parking fee.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks the lake with rainbow trout every few weeks during the summer months. The schedule is posted on the Game and Fish website at https://www.azgfd.com/.
Location: About 25 miles from Talking Rock and a little over four miles from downtown Prescott. If you’re traveling from the downtown area, head east on Gurley Street, south on Mount Vernon Street, and travel approximately four miles to the lake.
If you love Prescott, but like your independence, visit Talking Rock https://talkingrockaz.com/
Thirty minutes outside of Prescott, this private master planned community offers a variety of home sites including large home sites, custom builds, on the golf course, and ready-to-move-in options amidst Arizona’s finest high chaparral scenery.