Paddle Your Fitness to the Next Level


There’s no better way to get an upper-body workout while plunging into the beauty of our area than with a kayak or paddle board. 

Whether your lake of choice takes you to the base of awe-inspiring granite boulders or plops you into the middle of a lush pine forest, your lower back, abs and arms are bound to become very toned and lean as you push yourself through the water, and the associated cardio workout will do the same for your heart. 

Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the nation’s fastest-growing waterborne workouts, as it brings balance, posture and even foot strength to the mix, providing a true full-body workout few activities can surpass. 

Watercraft rental companies serve all of Greater Prescott’s major kayaking/paddle boarding destinations, or you can bring your own. All are located on the area’s extensive trail system, so if you have an inflatable kayak you can hike to other lakes, too. All are accessible year-round except for snow closures, but onsite rentals and other services are typically confined to the summer months.

City of Prescott

Watson Lake — 3101 W. Watson Lake Road, City of Prescott — The best-known of the lakes, Watson provides a calm surface on which to slip between soaring rock walls in the Granite Dells while exploring hidden coves and passageways between outcroppings found across the lake. 

Willow Lake — 1497 Heritage Park Road, City of Prescott — Just to the west of Watson, Willow Lake is the city’s largest and is also shaped by the granite greatness of the Dells, which line its eastern shore. It’s typically the least busy of the city lakes, so ideal for beginners or those looking for a less hectic pace. 

Goldwater Lake — 2900 Goldwater Lake Road (just off Senator Highway), City of Prescott — The smallest of the City of Prescott’s three lakes, Goldwater Lake is tucked into the ponderosa forest on the southwest side of Prescott. Its smaller size and picturesque shore combine for an outstanding experience, though beginners might want to try someplace else as it quickly gets congested during the busy season.

Prescott National Forest

Lynx Lake — 4505 N. Forest Service Road 611, Prescott National Forest — The lake nestled just off the southeastern corner of the City of Prescott is operated by the U.S. Forest Service as part of Prescott National Forest, and like Goldwater Lake is lined with trees and grass to offer a cool respite from the desert or grasslands.

Watercraft Rental

Prescott Outdoors
928-925-1410, — Offers seasonal onsite kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals at Goldwater Lake (through Sept. 7 this year) and Watson Lake (through Oct. 18). Online reservations are required. 

Born to Be Wild Adventures
— This mobile service will bring kayaks or paddle boards to meet clients at Willow, Watson or Goldwater lakes any time of the year, weather permitting. Reservations required.

Parking Fees

City of Prescott — The parking fee is $3, and the daily pass is valid for any of the lakes for that day. Prescott National Forest — The daily parking fee is $5. Parking is free on Wednesdays at all four lakes listed.