Watson Lake near Prescott worthy of icon status

Arizona is home to three national parks that millions of people flock to each year to see some of the state’s most amazing natural wonders. But there’s one city park, just north of Prescott, with some truly unique wonders of its own.


Watson Lake is a man-made reservoir that was cleverly designed to accent an amazing natural phenomenon known as Granite Dells. The area consists of exposed bedrock and large boulders of granite that have eroded into an unusual lumpy, rippled montage. The result is visually stunning.

This place has become an iconic site in recent years due to the viral spread of pictures on social media that highlight the massive oblong granite boulders that protrude from glassy calm waters on the north end of the lake.


Click any image for larger view.

Granite here has been dated at 1.4 billion years old by scientists. Through a process called spheroidal weathering, the huge boulders that make up the Dells have since been eroded away. Weathering along joints produced the rounded boulders and other unusual rock formations that characterize the Granite Dells.

Watson Lake activities:

  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Camping (summer only)
  • Photography

See why Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ is the best small lake in the country to paddle a kayak or stand-up paddleboard


Watson Lake facts:

  • Surface area 70 acres (28 ha)
  • Average depth 50 ft (15 m)
  • Surface elevation 5,100 ft (1,600 m)
  • Remains ice free all year
  • 5.2 mile hiking trail around the lake
  • Stocked with bass, crappie and catfish

Get a close up look at the beautiful rock formations of Watson Lake from a kayaker’s perspective of in this video on the AZ Wonders YouTube channel:

Here’s the way to Watson Lake:


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