Kayaking Watson Lake

I’ve spent a significant amount of time kayaking in the Pacific Northwest where there is an abundance of water everywhere you look. Unfortunately, the desert makes finding good kayaking spots a little tricky.

I was planning a surprise birthday outing for my dear friend Caitlin who had never been in a kayak before. The tricky part was finding a good spot to go that had kayak rentals on-site so as to not ruin the surprise. I did some research and came across Watson Lake, near Prescott, AZ. The lake offers picturesque views with granite boulders surrounding pristine waters like a gumdrop forest. The kayak/boat rental facility at the shore of the lake, Prescott Outdoors, offers tandem kayak rentals for reasonable rates. I stuck to a tandem this time as this was Caitlin’s inaugural trip and I was worried about how she would fare in her own boat.


Kayak launch at Watson Lake
The launch - Watson Lake / Prescott Outdoors

The tandem kayak rental rate is $20.00 for the first hour and $15.00 for each additional hour, or $75 for a full-day. Solo kayak rates are slightly cheaper. The two gentleman running the small booth helped us bring the kayak to the launch and sent us on our way.

layered canyon reflection - watson lake
Gumdrop rock formation refections - Watson Lake
Heron flying out of the rocks - watson lake
Heron captured mid-flight - Watson Lake

We saw a variety of wildlife on our day paddle including several species of birds, fish (the lake boasts fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and channel catfish) and more dragonflies that I ever thought possible.

Taking a break - kayaking watson lake
Caitlin enjoying a rest in a secluded cove

The lake may appear small at first sight, but the array of coves and granite wonders will captivate you long enough for a good paddle. Just watch out for the over abundance of Dragonflies in the summer, they tend to be a beautiful nuisance.

Consider this lake conquered
Consider this lake conquered

There are a variety of other activities you can do at Watson Lake including: granite rock climbing, fishing, hiking, camping, birdwatching and more. You can find out more information here: Watson Lake Park

Getting to Watson Lake / Prescott Outdoors launch point (from Phoenix): take Interstate 17 north to Arizona 69 (Exit 262) at Cordes Junction and go about 32 miles northwest toward Prescott. Turn right (north) at Prescott Lakes Parkway. Go 2.2 miles and turn right (east) at Arizona 89, continue 1.1 miles and turn right at the signed turnoff for the lake.

Maureen Elsberry

Adventure seeker, outdoors junkie, UFO journalist, space geek. Co-host of the webseries Spacing Out! and Uncovering Aliens on The Science Channel and Animal Planet.

3 thoughts on “Kayaking Watson Lake

  • July 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    wow, looks very pretty. I’ve never gone kayaking before but am dying to try. Would you recommend this for a couple of first timers going without an experienced guide?

  • July 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    babes on kayaks….love it.

  • July 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    @Erica Deets – yes, I would definitely recommend it for first timers…its a very easy paddle. You get a lot of picturesque bang for your buck on this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *