Approximately 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix in the summer, the mile-high city of Prescott is surrounded by mountains, giant boulders, and a national forest. Of the many things to do in Prescott, Arizona, two of the most popular attractions are the Courthouse Plaza and Whiskey Row, so named after the saloons that once populated Arizona's first territorial capital.You can still pony up to plenty of bars in this historic city, but on your next trip, mosey on out those swinging saloon doors and try lake hopping instead. Just a few miles from downtown Prescott, more adventurous travelers will find fresh mountain air at four of the city's surrounding lakes. Here are a few cool water highlights.
At 25 acres, Goldwater is the smallest of Prescott's four lakes. Named after Morris Goldwater, a former city mayor and uncle to the late Senator Barry Goldwater, it is located less than 5 miles south of Prescott. Access Senator Highway via Mount Vernon Street, south of Gurley, to get there.
Within the boundaries of the Prescott National Forest, "watch for wildlife" signs provide warning that mountain lions are a possibility. Fourteen bat species live here as well.
Beyond the picnic ramadas and playground area (with horseshoe pits for adults), you'll find two dirt trails around each end of the lake that cut through ponderosa pine and cottonwood trees. The shorter of the two trails leads to Lynx Lake, and the longer trail (0.6-mile Bannon Creek Trail) connects to the 54-mile Prescott Circle Trail, a dirt trail that circumnavigates Prescott and is accessible to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.
Waterfowl, including ducks and a one-eyed goose, wade in the waters. Visitors can fish for trout, which is regularly stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Summertime lakegoers can rent canoes and kayaks, but swimming and non-electric motorized boating are not allowed.