Elevation: 5,215 ft
GPS: 34.591, -112.422 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 33,050 total · 225/month
Shared By: BCramer on May 4, 2007
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland
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This is the chaotic maze of domes that surrounds scenic Watson Lake. Picture parts of Joshua Tree NP under 30 feet of water. Rock is similar to that described in the High Rappel section, although in places it can be a bit better. Most of the routes are located on the lake's west shore. Several long ridges of rock radiate from this shoreline, all have climbing potential. Many new routes have been done on the rocks below the dam and on the far east shore.
See Kevin Kieth's excellent "The Granite Dells Climbing Guide" for details. Over 650 single and multi-pitch routes are described in detail. Heavily researched and full of photos, this is the best guide ever written to this highly complex region. Available in local shops and on Amazon.

Getting There

About 3 1/2 miles north of Prescott along HWY 89 there is a new traffic circle where the highway intersects Willow Lake Rd. On the east side of the circle is the entrance to Watson Lake Park. There is day use fee if you plan to park inside the park (an annual pass is available from the city's Rec. Dept.) Or you can park along the highway and then walk in to avoid the day use fee. The City of Prescott parks and recreation department has excellent trail maps online. cityofprescott.net/services…
To access the West Shore Areas that more or less overlook the lake, pick up the Northshore Trail at the north boat ramp and hike north to find the climbing.
Another, less traveled route that takes you to the west side of the West Shore formations begins at the parking area for the north boat ramp. A trail from this lot leads north over a ridge and then down to an unused dirt road, when the road curves left (west) but continue north over rock through some narrow slots along the western end of the ridges described above. From either trail it's possible to continue north and down to the climbing below the dam, but there's an easier way described below.
The easiest way to reach the Below the Dam Area is to find the trailhead parking lot (free) off Granite Dells Road and hike the Flume Trail to the dam.
The East Shore Areas are accessed by boat or via the Peavine Trailhead from a trailhead on Sundog Ranch Road (fee). The trail follows an old railroad bed and is pretty much level the whole way. Hiking north about 30-40 minute to reach the main areas. You can also bike in 10 -15 minutes. The Lakeshore Trail system off the Peavine Trail also helps you get to some of the climbing walls.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Watson Lake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Party line
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Quartz Movement
Trad, Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hour of Power
Trad, Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Time Slot
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ice Breaker
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad, Sport
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
Pick of the litter
Trad, TR
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
Feeling a LIttle Thor
Trad, Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Totally Hammered
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Sinister Exaggerator
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Party line W Shore > Pavilion Wall
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Quartz Movement W Shore > Time Zone
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Sport, TR
Hour of Power W Shore > Time Zone
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport, TR
Time Slot W Shore > Time Zone
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Ice Breaker W Shore > Thor's Wall
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Monarch W Shore > Thor's Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Pick of the litter W Shore > Pavilion Wall
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad, TR
Feeling a LIttle Thor W Shore > Thor's Wall
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13 Trad, Sport
Totally Hammered W Shore > Thor's Wall
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Sinister Exaggerator W Shore > Thor's Wall
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Watson Lake »

Weather Averages

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David Bayendor
Denver, CO
David Bayendor   Denver, CO
Just got back from three days of climbing in this area.

There are no access issues at all at this time, and this area is beautiful, fun climbing.

All the fixed hardware is in great condition. With the exception of one day during the week we had the place to ourselves the entire time.

As is typical this time of year, afternoon thunderstorms can shorten your day, but one can easily get in four hours of climbing without getting up at the crack of dawn.


Coverage is light in Rock Climbing Arizona by Stewart M. Green. If you can, get to Granite Mountain Outfitters (the only local climbing store left, on Gurley Street just past the town square), and see if they have a copy of Prescott Bouldering by Bill Cramer. Despite the title, it covers a lot of trad, sport, and top rope climbs as well and adds many routes and areas all over Prescott. It seems the Third Edition (2006) is the most current. May 31, 2009
Fort Collins, CO
Kurtz   Fort Collins, CO
I've been told by locals (and verified by web search) that you do NOT want to swim in the lake. Too bad. It would be great if it could be cleaned up. Dec 4, 2017
BCramer   Prescott
Kurtz, While the water quality is questionable, on hot days swims happen. I wouldn't make it a habit though ;) Dec 4, 2017