Watson Lake and Flume Trail

MODERATE 267 reviews

Watson Lake and Flume Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Prescott, Arizona that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
367 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

paddle sports

trail running

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

Parking lot by the Humane Society, fee for parking (self serve). Be careful about putting a large bill into the self serve and expecting change. Have $2 ready.

2 days ago

Excellent trail with awesome scenery. If you are looking for a good workout this is the trail for you. Defitnley on the hard side with a lot of steep climbs. Will go back for sure.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike! Boulders were fun but not terribly difficult. A little tougher than what I expected. Scenic views. Follow the white dots for the more challenging hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful park and trail. Agree with Hard rating, mostly boulder climbing. Make sure you have good hiking shoes and bring water and snacks.

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular opportunities to hike and climb and explore in a breathtaking environment. These golden boulders invite to explore off track. Even saw a bobcat crossing my path at 10m distance. Lucky he/she was just as surprised as I was.

1 month ago

Not a hard trail. Took a little over 2 hours with several stops for pictures. Really pretty area right below the dam.

1 month ago

Fun hike with good diversity! I would call this a moderate hike, not hard, light scrambling but the trails were well marked and maintained. This is a double edge sword however because this along with the damn make it slightly less organic.

hiking
1 month ago

BRING BUG SPRAY!!!!

1 month ago

Great hike to see both the Dells and the lake! I would rate it as Medium not Hard. Trails were well marked and maintained.

1 month ago

Amazing, but long and sometimes confusing. Do not start this hike after 4pm or it will be dark when you finish. Bring plenty of water and be careful behind the dam, the trails get tricky to follow. I would have classified this hike as moderate. I (41 year old in good/great shape) completed the whole loop hike in 2 hours and 45 minutes with my 10 year old. We never stopped for breaks and I didn’t need a whole lot of water. Barely broke a sweat. I only got a bit worried when the tangent trails made the main trail hard to follow since all were marked with white dots. There were also multiple different signs that made following the trail a little tricky especially around the creek. This trail is not good for anyone with mobility or joint issues. There is no real turning back once you are a mile or so in. The gnats were pests near the water, but the views were AMAZING. Just breathtaking. Be careful at the end. We had to go through mud and find our way around the water to get back to our car otherwise we would have ended up on the highway. I’d do this hike annually about this time of year and begin between 10-2 in the future. Much of the trail takes you through valley of rock formations which got a bit dark by 6pm.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful place to hike, the trails are well marked and the little hidden coves are such a treat, I could have hung out for hours by the dam area. I will have to bring my daughter's here when they come to visit.

hiking
1 month ago

Started at humane society trail head. This took us 3 hours and 15 min to hike and take pictures and enjoy the view. I think we clocked around 6.5 to 7 miles. The white dots along the way show are perfect markers. Hiking shoes are good for the rocks. I would call this hike medium. You climb but it wasn’t too challenging for a 32 year old and 62 year old.

hiking
2 months ago

I was very pleasantly surprised by how remarkable and beautiful this trail system is. The combination of water views with rock views makes it unique in this area. The trails range from easy flat gravel pathway to rigorous hiking and rock climbing. You can set your own level of difficulty by taking different routes around the lake. This is also a novice climber's paradise with an infinite array of climbing spots. The views are breathtaking througout with an incredible degree of variety and diversity in different portions of the park. This is an overlooked gem of a trail system that is extremely enjoyable and memorable. Do not miss it if you are in the area.

2 months ago

I also agree that this hike is not hard!! It was wonderful and enjoyable for my family and my dogs! I suggest wear shoes with grip and follow the dots!

hiking
2 months ago

Have to disagree w other user reviews. This trail doesn’t justify the difficult rating. The ascents/descents are short and mild, and footing is good. I took every detour I could find and only logged 5 miles. The trail is generally obvious, and markers & signposts are abundant and clear. All that aside, it’s a fun trail. Very pleasant 2 hr morning walk. Great views of the lake, dam, and dells.

hiking
3 months ago

We parked by the humane society and did an entire circle. Total 7 miles. Was not easy - should be rated hard due to all of the rock climbing. Not an easy hike at all. A lot of difficult up and down rocks. Breath taking views - wonderful area just be prepared- lots of water to drink. Definitely rated incorrectly in All Trails.

hiking
3 months ago

This place is absolutely beautiful! It made the hike that much more enjoyable to look around and stop and see you are surrounded by such beauty!

hiking
3 months ago

Breathtaking views. Moderate workout but worth going.

hiking
3 months ago

I like this trail. Some ups and downs on the rocks, but nice views of Watson Lake.

3 months ago

I have to say that everyone in my Hiking club, Arizona Baby Boomers Hiking and Adventures , found this hike to be HARD! We parked near the Yavapai Humane Society - went in through the marsh area. Noticed how dry everything was. Went up and finally got to the point where we needed to climb the rocks - and we climbed and climbed for 6.5 miles - Arrived at the dam totally exhausted to find water flowing from dam, but still very dry in area. Then more climbing on rocks!! Our oldest hiker is in her 70’s and hiked this 2x a year - still tough even for our 50 year old hikers. ALL TRAILS incorrectly rates this trail. It is HARD - we all enjoyed the 7 miles - MUST HAVE GOOD ANKLE SUPPORT AND LOTS OF WATER. Rock formations - keep a look out for goddess sitting on ledge overlooking about 3/4 - excellent, challenging, and not for sissy’s !

4 months ago

This is a fun loop with some great technical sections. Amazing scenery in the dells area

hiking
4 months ago

Great views.

4 months ago

A little more than I expected. Be sure to have good ankle support. Loved the hike.

4 months ago

The trail itself was really cool and it was not too challenging. The people I was with felt there was a lot of climbing but it was short spurts up rock.

The one infuriating thing was that the “white dots” that you follow are also markers for other trails. So you can easily end up on other trials that do bring you back to the main trail but it adds a lot more.

All in all it was a beautiful January hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This hike around the lake has excellent views, fun twisty trails and turned out to be tougher than we had expected. We opted to cut down using the trails that ran closer to the lakeshore and at times climbing up and over the rocks was a bit of a challenge for us. We would do it again though. Our two little dogs loved it!

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike and hit record on your app. It gets a bit confusing before the dam and a bit afterwards. We enjoyed it though

road biking
5 months ago

The very best of the best views in Prescott.
The trail terminates at the boat dock for road bikers, but connects up nicely to the Peavine and Iron King trails.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail was a lot of fun. Signage was great but at the same time you options. Cutting in an out of the loop to get closer to the lake. You can make the trail a bit more fun and windier if you always pick the path near the lake. Lots of good rocks to climb over. Except views. It’s longer than it seems for sure. So be prepared with food and water.

5 months ago

overall a really great hike! the southern, Eastern and Western sides is boring but the northern Boulder area makes up for it! in the boulder area watch for the white dots placed about every 20' on the rocks. they will guide you along. do not assume the path follows any worn dirt path ( of which there are many) along the way. Stay with the white dots. some of the dots cannot be seen until you get up to the boulder so pay attention to your compass and map. also, be especially alert when other trails intersect the main trail as they also have white dots.

allow 2.5 - 3.0 hours for the full hike. we are in good shape and are faster walkers but it took us 2.5 hours. Have fun!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful & scenic hike! Take the loop along the lake and not the straight & narrow loop. It’s more challenging and much more beautiful. Bring picnic to eat when you get down in the bowels...picturesque! Remember to take your trash with you.

5 months ago

“Easier” to go south from parking lot and loop around. Get the ugly marsh out of the way and end up on the pretty lake for second half

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