At a mile high in elevation, Prescott is subject to snowfall each winter. Winter was delayed in 2006 until the weekend of March 11, when I went out in the snow to take photos. Some favorite places I enjoy going include Willow Lake, which is surrounded by outcroppings of the Earth known as the Granite Dells. These rocks create interesting formations whose beauty is not diminished even if partially obscured by the snow. Tree-lined creeks are other picturesque areas to view in snowfall.
Willow Lake is a beautiful body of water surrounded by the granite dells, much like Watson Lake. Access to this lake is the same entrance you'd take to go to the Heritage Park Zoo. You can also turn off of Willow Creek Road into the Willow Creek Park entrance, which has a dog park, a ball park, and another access to the trail that leads all the way around Willow Lake, including to the lake access point.
Many of the hikes around here are foresty and shaded, at least off and on. If you want a hike with minimal tall tree cover and full sun exposure, try the Williamson Valley Trailhead off Williamson Valley Road, about 6 miles north of the intersection between that road and Iron Springs Road. It offers varying views of Granite Mountain, as it circles around at the base. Part of the trail is what used to be a river or wash of some sort, as you can see the erosion on the remaining rocks and soil. Many people take their horses on this trail, as it is available for use by pedestrians, mountain bikers and equestrians. It would be a good mountain bike trail, for the most part.
It wasn't until I'd experienced a sunset at Goldwater Lake that I realized the truth of its name. During the day, the waters shine as blue as the skies above. When the sun begins its descent below the horizon, however, it tinges the pines and the water reflecting them with a vibrant gold. As if to say to panhandlers who searched all day with no find of gold, that they need only look out at the water's edge at the end of the day, and it would seem to just brim with it.
Granite Basin Lake off of Iron Springs Road heading northwest, affords many recreational opportunities. Camping, fishing, hiking, and picnicking are all options for the outdoor-lovers. This particular lake is fairly small; however, the many hiking trails that surround it are not, and you can find hours of hiking surrounding this area.
Just off Sundog Ranch Road, by the Prescott Humane Shelter is a smooth unpaved trail that leads at least 4 miles or more (one way) in through the heart of the granite dell rock formations and the Watson Lake preserve. It is one of the most easy trails in the area, as there is hardly any grade to it. It's mostly flat and fairly smooth and broad, handicap accessible to wheelchairs with pneumatic treaded tires. There are several information points along the way near scenic spots which detail some of the history of the area's development. I love the concept of this trail, which is also coined "Rails to Trails," as it essentially is the same path of the former railroad track that used to run through Prescott. Since the trains no longer run here, the railroad tracks and ties were replaced with this beautiful nature trail, so that people could continue to enjoy the scenic views that those on the train years ago must also have enjoyed, only now we are allowed a more liesurely pace-- however fast or slow YOU want to go.
1. Coyotes in the oddest places, for example we saw one roaming a side street where house were built around the areas. 2. Prairie Dogs in the open spaces while driving from sight seeing attractions. 3. Cacti while driving along at night look like people standing along the road from afar.