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Watson Lake

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Below the Dam 
East Shore, The 
West Shore 

Watson Lake Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.5913, -112.4215 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: BCramer on May 4, 2007
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Watson Lake under a full moon at dusk

Partially Closed.


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 potetnial. A few routes have been done on the rocks below the dam and on the far east shore.

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 enterance to Watson Lake Park. There is a $2 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.
To reach the West Shore and Dam areas park at the northern-most parking lot above 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) continue north over rock through some narrow slots along the western end of the ridges described above. Alternately, trails lead north from the boat ramp above the lake shoreline to access the eastern ends of the ridges and the Dam.
To reach the east shore areas you can boat across (rentals are often avail. on weekends or bring your own) or park at the Peavine Trailhead and hike in. To reach the Peavine Trail drive north from Prescott, and turn right (east) onto Prescott Lakes Pkwy, move to the left lane and make the very first left onto Sundog Ranch Rd., and then make your first left into the trailhead parking area. The Peavine Trail will take you directly to the rocks that line the east shore. The trail is on an old railroad bed and is very level the whole way. About 30-40 minute hike or 10 -15 bike.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.1 miles from here

20 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Watson Lake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Watson Lake:
Quartz Movement   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   West Shore : Time Zone
Hour of Power   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   West Shore : Time Zone
Time Slot   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   West Shore : Time Zone
Dam Classic (aka The Dam Crack)   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Below the Dam : Dam Wall
Sidewinder   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Below the Dam : Side Show Wall
Ice Breaker   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   West Shore : Thor's Wall
Monarch   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   West Shore : Thor's Wall
Feeling a LIttle Thor   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   West Shore : Thor's Wall
West Nile   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Below the Dam : Dam Wall
Sinister Exaggerator   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   West Shore : Thor's Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Watson Lake

Featured Route For Watson Lake
Rock Climbing Photo: Mid Section of Sinister Exaggerator...2012

Sinister Exaggerator 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a  Arizona : Central Arizona : ... : Thor's Wall
Radical sidepulling, pinching and crimping up an overhanging wall. Begin atop a short detached pillar and make technical, demanding moves past several bolts to the ledge at the top. Sustained! Might feel a bit reachy in spots. This route receives an 11d/12a rating in the Falcon guide, so take that for what it's worth....[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of Watson Lake Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the lake from top of Timezone wall, West s...
View of the lake from top of Timezone wall, West s...

Comments on Watson Lake Add Comment
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By David Bayendor
From: Denver, CO
May 31, 2009
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.

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