Watson Lake and Flume Trail

MODERATE 342 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.

hiking
10 hours ago

definitely go clock wise around the trail. it was gorgeous. it took us 2 hours, the trail is really well marked with white dots. plenty of places to stop and take in the scenery. loved every minute!

5 days ago

Great variety of terrain. Go clockwise to get the workout done first. Last mile or so was flat. Map my walk clocked the route as a little over 5 miles.

hiking
8 days ago

Really enjoyed this trail. Hiked with our 2 and 4 year olds but there were areas where they needed to be carried down the rocks, or helped. Beginning was a bit boring, the middle is beautiful.
We didn’t bring enough water or sunscreen, bring LOTS of water if hiking this during the warmer months.

14 days ago

Super beautiful trail, sometimes a little steep, nice views.

15 days ago

trail running
22 days ago

I loved this trail. A did a sunset run/hike around it. The temperature was perfect and there was hardly anyone on the trail. I actually like how it isn’t super clearly marked, and how many different parts you can choose todo and still get to the same spot. The boulders where a good added intensity to my run, even though it was more of a shuffle in those parts.

Overall it’s a beautiful and great hike. Especially at sunset. I’ll have to do a sun rise hike soon.

29 days ago

beautiful trail .nice picture's kinda Rocky but do able.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful trail with amazing views of the lake. This is a nice trail because there is very few people on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful. We did the 4.8 mile loop that included Over the Hill and Lakeshore (I believe that’s what it was called.) I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there. It was actually more difficult than I thought it would be, a majority of it was fairly easy but the rocky sections can be tricky and steep. I def. recommend boots and not sneakers if you are in in for the longer hike. The bird watching was also great!

hiking
1 month ago

Watson Lake offers lots to see and the terrain is very unique. We went in June and it can be warm with very few places to get in the shade. We started out early, like 7:30am so the sun ended up not being an issue, but I was glad to be finishing up around 11. As an FYI we had planned to hike and then kayak, but the rentals are open Fri-Sun, so we were a day early. It all worked out as we did not need to get more sun after the 2.5 hour hike, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise. As noted the trail is beautiful and unique for AZ, but the route finding can be very difficult. We lost the trail several times, but knew that it followed the lake so when we lost the dots on the rocks we kept close to the shore. Also be careful in the mud flat area on the south end. We tried to take a short cut and cross the cracked dirt where it appeared the lake had receded. It might look dry but it is wet and gushy underneath, I sunk a few feet and boots and shins were covered in a sticky slick mud. Thankfully a bathroom was near to rinse out my boats. Entire loop took us about 2.5 hours, but we were probably bush wacking 1/3 of the way. Think this would be a much better fall hike due to the exposure and it does have some difficult parts so might be too much for beginners.

hiking
1 month ago

My husband (55) and I (39) hiked the loop yesterday morning. We parked in the upper parking lot right by the dells and started our hike to the left. We planned ahead and agreed to do the more difficult portion in the beginning. The white dots are very hard to follow at times and I was glad that we had our gps, which I highly recommend! Make sure to stop at the “waterfall” for some tranquil pictures. After you get out of the dells the hike becomes a lot easier and you can’t loose the path anymore. There are many amazing photo opportunities around every corner and believe me we took some great pictures. We finished the 5.3 mile loop in 2h 29m. Please remember to bring water and have $3.- cash ready when entering the parking lot. Also make sure to wear good shoes! Some areas are very slippery. Overall I would absolutely recommend this hike to anyone that is in good physical shape.

Amazing bike and hiking went out with my father and it was amazing love this and I will do this soon

hiking
1 month ago

Hike was far more difficult than anticipated. we should have stayed on the peavine trail for the majority of the trail, but unfortunately most of our hike was through the rugged rocky portion of the trail. it was far too hot and difficult for the hikers in our group. Got to be treacherous as we got overheated, worn out and low on water. Thankfully we all made it out, but took over 4 hours, was over 5 miles an we were pretty worn out. Be sure you know where you are on the trail... stay on peavine if your fitness level isn't up for this level of challenge.

2 months ago

I had an enjoyable time out on the trail, but found that it really doesnt skirt along the lake as much as I wanted. The lake is so beautiful that I couldnt help but walk off the trail up to the lake for more photos. I set out to do the entire loop, but managed instead to have zig zagged about 6 miles and was barely a third of the way around the lake, so I ended up having to turn back and walked another 2.5 miles back to my starting point because my water wouldnt have made the whole loop at the rate I went. The dots get hard to follow, Im not sure if maybe the trail is more obvious to others, but I found myself frustrated at a few points when I couldn't figure out which way I should go and it was another 15 feet to the next dot. Particularly by the bottom of the dam where it gets really grassy and green, I did a lot of circling and back tracking. I did have to get on all 4s to climb up and down several times, which isn't usually what I expect on a moderate trail. That being said, I guess if you stick exclusively to the trail and dont zig zag on and off the trail or end up on the side trails, it'll be the hike it says it is, but I found this trail to be at the upper limits of my physical ability as a 24 year old female who is by no means a couch potato, but doesnt exactly make it to the gym all 3 times per week.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

It was about 5 miles for us.. but switched off to Peavine trail on the backside and skipped the last lakeshore trail

You do need good shoes and water.

White Dots very helpful but hard to see in places and easy to get off on an Ad Hoc trail if distracted. Some of the white dots are obscured and in other places a bit inconsistent ..i.e a bunch in one pace then spaced out a bit too far in other places. Map is good. GPS is good. Better in morning - cool ....er ... we did rock stuff first than flat trail out...

3 months ago

Good hike. Rocky but slick loose gravel. Nice photo ops.

3 months ago

Took us 3 hours for three, fit adults. Got off the trail a few times, a bit confusing how they all connect and harder than moderate for sure

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely not an easy hike! Very challenging, but so worth it! The views are awesome :)

hiking
4 months ago

We loved this trail. It was moderate. Some real pretty areas. The view of Watson lake was fabulous. We went on down and kayaked for a while. I am not sure if there is always rentals. We got lucky.

4 months ago

Incredible beauty around ever turn. I camped and hike the next morning.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. Well marked. Definitely need good footwear. Awesome views at the top.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful views at the bluffs, nice rocks to climb on. Beautiful waterfall below dam. Not hard, definitely moderate unless not in shape. Areas away from bluffs are flat and wide. My only complaint is that in some areas the white dots are hard to find, and used for multiple paths, so very difficult to find the way. Bring water - I saw so many people who were wishing they had brought more. I didn’t park by the humane society, but parked up at the Park - faster access to the really beautiful areas.

hiking
4 months ago

Need plenty of water, electrolytes, hat, toilet paper, grippy hiking shoes, and snacks. There aren't water stations to refill so pack up or restrooms. Moderate trail for those who aren't newbies and hard for those who need a little assistance. There will be spots where you'll need to climb on all fours from how steep it can get. I can't wait to go again!

4 months 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 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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.

6 months ago

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

6 months 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.

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