Hone your Technical Skills on Lakeshore Trail

The City of Prescott’s Peavine Trail is the centerpiece of its network of paths — a wide, accessible route along Watson Lake’s shoreline that stuns with its views of the water and the towering cliffs that surround it. It follows a former railway bed.

And then there’s the Lakeshore Trail, a singletrack path pasted onto the rocks closer to the water beginning a mile from the Peavine’s southern gateway, eventually meandering into rocky wilderness deeper in the Granite Dells. The City website describes this as “really a suggested route” rather than a trail because users are free to explore beyond the white dots onto the surrounding granite surfaces.

It beckons to well-versed hikers and mountain bikers with slippery ups and downs that can get their hearts and lungs pumping, and it recruits every muscle to keep them upright. It’s a test and a treasure for dedicated trekkers, climbers and riders looking to upgrade or maintain their skills.

There are two benches at the Lakeshore Trail’s southern entrance with a sweeping view of the lake that draws you onto the rocks for even more striking vistas over the calm blue water. Then the dots veer away from the water’s edge into a climb up the rocks to perhaps the best lake-gazing along its 2-mile length, from a higher vantage point rewarding fancy footwork and persistent pedaling over slick rock.

The route kisses the lake shore twice more at two inviting coves, the second of them the famous Secret Cove that has a spur trail extending along its north shore for an extraordinary view over the kayakers skirting the canyon walls.

After this, the trail winds deeper into the craggy Dells following narrow passages past steep rock faces and tenacious trees before its junction with the even more rugged Over the Hill Trail before bringing our intrepid adventurers back to the Peavine.

Lakeshore Trail

The City of Prescott’s Lakeshore Trail is a side loop beginning about 1 mile north into the Peavine Trail that takes you onto the scenic and slick rocks on the eastern shore of Watson Lake. It has six junctions taking you back to the Peavine, giving you several opportunities to bail if you need to take a break from all of its scrambling and balancing.

It’s a great workout for experienced hikers and bikers familiar with the granite surfaces that make the Dells so unforgettable. It’s popular with both kinds of users, so remember your “share the trail” manners.

To reach the trail take Prescott Lakes Parkway northwest from state Route 69 or southeast from state Route 89A, turning onto Sundog Ranch Road (Yavapai Humane Society is at the intersection) and proceeding to the Prescott Peavine Trailhead, which will be on the left. Travel the first mile of the Peavine to the Lakeshore trailhead on the left and follow the white dots.

Parking fees: $3
Uses: Hiking, mountain biking
Distance: 2 miles
Level of difficulty: Difficult
Elevation: 5,160 feet to 5,220 feet