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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Watson Lake Loop, AZ

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Guide 47 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott NE
3.7 of 5 by 23
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 5.05 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,251 feet
Elevation Gain -170 feet
Accumulated Gain 550 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.8
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9  2019-08-10 Nightstalker
1  2019-03-17 Tortoise_Hiker
20  2019-01-26 tibber
12  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
11  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
11  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
2  2017-03-29 hikerdw
7  2016-11-15 leonesiegel
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep
Sun  6:14am - 6:34pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
This hike starts from the southern boat ramp (canoe/Kayak rental area) within the Watson Lake Park. It more or less follows the lakeshore.

Use the gps route provided here for best results. The north end might be a challenge to follow without using the gps route. It's pretty easy to find with the gps route.

Resourceful hikers can figure out how to start from other locations.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2015-01-01 HAZ_Hikebot
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 21 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We came in the main pay gate (free on Wednesdays) and drove straight ahead past the second restroom building. There was a parking lot on the left and we could see the trailhead sign before we made the left into the lot. Judy and I did this hike clockwise. Hiking it clockwise gives you the 'dells' right from the get go. There was about a mile and a half of boulder/rock trail. Good flow of water being released out the back of the dam...good to hear the roar as we approached. After that we could see a dirt road ahead with bikers and runners and determined this was the Peavine Trail. At this point the flat dirt road looked good to us so we bypassed a about 1.5 miles of trail closer to the lake. The last few miles is not very exciting with a well maintained smooth trail and not a lot of views of the lake. For me this hike would be better if you hiked clockwise for about 2.5 miles and turned around.
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
    Joe suggested the PCT earlier in the year and Bruce and I jumped on board. Bruce and Route Editor broke it into three day hikes for us. This was our third and final section. This one had the most street walking but was still enjoyable with the company I had. The diverse terrain, Joe's singing capabilities and mirthful sense of humor, Bruce's cerebral conversation, and me to keep balance :D, I found hiking the Prescott Circle Trail quite entertaining. Dallin and I have very different capabilities and both did the PCT we were capable of :o :oops: . Even this one I had to do as a slackpacker. My hats off to Dallin and the real PCT.
    Another enjoyable day with Joe and Bruce in the Arizona Outdoors... :y:
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
    The final leg of our 58 mile loop around Prescott, started at the Peavine TH in the low 40's.

    The low morning sun cast intriguing shadows on the rocks and trees around Watson Lake. The lake was busy with waterfowl of all types. Willow Lake was just as thick with ducks and geese.

    We climbed out of Willow Lake, to Emery Riddle and an RC plane doing aerobatics.

    The middle section today was a pleasant mix of tall grasses, mixed conifer, rolling hills, and long views.

    After lunch we made the final push ending in a gorgeous stand of pines.

    It was great catching up after five weeks away from the gang.

    Good times gentlemen :y:

    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
    We brought the PCT Trail full circle. Today was the 3rd leg Bruce created breaking the PCT into 3 reasonable segments for day hikes. I enjoyed the entire circle. That said this would be the area least appealing to most.

    Started out in the first cold weather morning of the season. 'Twas spectacular skirting Watson & Willow lakes. The tail end of Autumn Foliage had the massive cottonwoods screaming y(h)ellow in the low morning sun.

    The majority of the hike along Pioneer Pkwy, Williamson Valley Rd and a local neighborhood would unlikely interest the masses. Personally I enjoyed seeing how it connected but wouldn't be jumping for a redo.

    We hiked this man club style doing each segment in the direction of the most aeg. Which was an appreciated group tactic to keep me from crying like a baby👶

    Thx to B&D for setting up all the necessary shuttles!

    short section in the final stages, see description
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I had some comp time so Kelley and I decided on a day trip to Prescott for a hike, lunch and beer, and a little antique shopping. When in Prescott I always stop in at the Honey Man store to see if they have any Fairy Duster honey. They didn't. The best tasting honey I have ever had.
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Lived in Prescott area 1991-97 and never did this hike, better late than never! Nice hike, kind of two hikes, started from south boat ramp, in a clockwise direction, the first half, through the Dells is pretty and towards the north end a little "sketchy" as one triplog noted. Be careful not to take a spur trail in this area. Loved the hike through the Dells, nice spots with water. After leaving the Dells hooking up with the road is not quite as much fun. Glad we did the hike!
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Another fun hike out of my Boots and Burgers book. I wanted to start from the Watson Lake Park. I didn't plan right and got there an hour before it opened. I just waited but I had to skip my lunch plan later in the day :( . Cool little area. :)
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Constellation Willow-Watson Loop
    Joe through a dart at the Constellation Trail system and said, come up with something. I didn't know anything about this "Little Gem" so I started downloading stuff. There are 11 trails in the Constellation Trail system, totaling less than 5 miles. So that wasn't going to make the drive to Prescott worth it. I'd looped Watson lake before and enjoyed the heck out of it. I'd always wanted to loop Willow Lake also, so it was on.

    The Constellation Trail System is a wonderful group of of short trails through a boulder wonderland. Officially it's a self-enclosed system. But as we found on the way back, there is a trail that connects this with the Willow Dells system and Willow Lake. The Ron James Approach Trail does not show to connect on the maps, but it does. There is no signage and it's not obvious though.

    All but the east side of Willow Lake looked like just a means to connect the loop, but then we stumbled on the Cottonwood Spur. Some of the biggest Cottonwood stands I've seen. `

    Willow Lake Video :next: ... YbKg
    Back on the Jan Alfano Trail and then we jumped over to Watson Lake, to do the loop there.

    Watson Lake Video :next: ... CTBU

    The highlight on this loop is the Lakeshore Trail and the Over The Hill Trail, taking you to the Granite Creek Dam.

    Granite Creek Dam, Watson Lake Video :next: ... nVp0
    A little road walk got us back over to the Willow Dells Trails.

    Once again the hiking was great, except for 1/2 hour bug storm we ran through.

    I really enjoyed looping these two Granite infested lakes, and the weather was perfect!

    A great time out with the Squad.

    On the day....A Gopher snake, Squirrels, Cottontail rabbits, Cormorants, all sorts of Ducks, Bluejays, Blue Herons, A hawk diving out of the sky right in front of us snagging a bird.
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
    The more I hike around Prescott, the more I like it. Joe tossed out a starting point (the Constellation trails) for this hike and Bruce filled out the rest. The result is a gem. A beautiful granite landscape dominates a big chunk of the hike while giant cottonwoods add variety and splendor along the way. The weather, while a bit windy at times, was perfect otherwise. We did have to improvise to connect the dots, but it worked out well. Lots of large swarming gnats chased us around the east side of Willow Lake on the return, but that was a minor inconvenience for a few minutes on an otherwise great hike.

    Bruce and Joe, thanks for inviting me along. As always, I had a tremendous time!
    Watson Lake Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
    Last summer I spent several hours tracing up the constellation trails. Driving by the area intrigued me so I looked it up online. Prescott is dialed in on being a trail friendly community and it shows in all the details.

    On a whim I remembered and mentioned it to Bruce. He made it sing adding in Willow and Watson lakes. Prescott hadn't been an area that intrigued me much other than Granite & Groom. It's been growing on me a little over the years.

    Yesterday I pulled a leg muscle. This seemed easy enough that I could hobble it out with a trekking pole.

    The Constellation Trails are well marked with "you are here" maps at major junctions. The area was popular on this chilly April morning and on our return with more families. If you're an avid hiker with family/friends that get bored/whiny after a mile or two they might enjoy a little loop through this disneyland of granite.

    Bruce sold the Willow leg as the boring part of the hike. We all enjoyed it more than expected. Temps and a little jaunt through huge cottonwoods on the peninsula did the trick.

    Like all of the loop I'd never been to the famed Watson Lake. Seems like everyone gets a great photo here and now I know why. Aravaipa Running had an event going on. Ray and I held back a tad as Bruce hiked by the onlookers and through the finish line backwards. They cheered finishers coming in and didn't yell at him so we proceeded. A minute or two later I was standing at the postcard shot of the lake. Not a cloud in the sky when we started but they raced in just as we arrived. After marveling the scene I noticed the perfect snow capped San Francisco Peaks back yonder. Wow... forwards, backwards and upside-down Mom!

    We lunched overlooking Granite Creek just before the dam. Squads were out enjoying the weekend lake vibes. After lunch Bruce escorted us over to the dam. Water shoots out from high above. It would be really nice on a hot day. Continuing on is a cottonwood paradise high above the creek. This would be another great area to take non hiking friends for an hour of piddling around as parking is near.

    To make the loop work we needed to cross private property. Got lucky as a man was taking out trash to the garbage. Ray asked the REI shirted gentleman and our dream loop came true.

    This hike put Prescott on the map for me.

    some indian paintbrush, nothing else rings a bell

    Permit $$
    Special Use

    Summer Hours: (Memorial day-Labor day) 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Winter Hours: 7:00 AM - Sunset, $3.00 parking fee

    Map Drive

    To hike
    From Prescott AZ-69 go North on AZ-89 for 3.4 miles. Turn right at the traffic circle into Watson Lake Park. Follow the signs to the Canoe and Kayak rental area. Right on East Granite Dells road. 0.2 mile to TH on the right.
    page created by The_Eagle on Oct 10 2010 8:53 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
    help comment issue

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