One of Prescott’s great advantages is the abundance of beautiful lakes near the city, making it a popular weekend destination from Phoenix.
Hiking, fishing, kayaking, biking and camping are popular activities in Prescott and nearby parks like the Prescott National Forest.
Founded in 1864 as the first territorial capital of Arizona, Prescott is small compared to other cities in Arizona. The capital of Arizona moved from Prescott to Tucson, then back to Prescott and finally to Phoenix.
With a population of about 43,000 and mild winters, the city of Prescott is attractive as a retirement destination.
In this post I will show you over 25 interesting things to do in Prescott Arizona, including day trips from Prescott.
1. Constellation paths
Not far from Prescott, you can see the rock formations of the Granite Dells on the Constellation Trails. Although you have to pay to park, the walk between these fresh rock formations is well worth it.
2. Watson Lake
Watson Lake is my favorite among the lakes around Prescott. You can hike on the lake, rent a kayak or canoe on the lake, or have a picnic by the water.
There is a nice walk to Watson Dam with some waterfalls, which is nice to visit, especially on a hot day, as there is some shade and waterfalls next to the dam.
3. Willow Lake
Willow Lake is ideal for bird watching and kayaking. Boats with petrol engines are not allowed on the lake. There are several picnic tables and ramadas with great views of the lake.
4. Wolf Creek Falls
A great day hike from Prescott is the Wolf Creek Falls Trail in the Prescott National Forest. This walk through the woods to the creek is good if you want to freshen up.
You can stand right under a small waterfall and relax by the stream, listening to the flowing water and the chirping of the birds.
5. Goldwater Lake
Goldwater Lake is an ideal place for family outings. Kids love the playground, and you can rent canoes or kayaks to have fun around the lake. Fishing is also popular with Goldwater.
Enjoy a picnic under the shady ramadas or take a stroll along the lake.
6. Big Toes Walkway
The Thumb Butte Trail #33 is a popular hiking trail, especially since it is only a 10-minute drive from downtown Prescott.
User fee of $5.00
Ask for a copy of the brochure or a map with routes and descriptions to plan your visit.
7. Lynx Lake
Take a walk on Lynx Lake or get out on the water to kayak, paddleboard or fish. Bobcat Lake is a good place for bird watching.
There are also several campsites nearby, a restaurant, a store and boat rentals on the lake. Read my article on the lakes around Prescott for more information and parking hours and costs.
8. Bobcat Creek Ruins Runway
Just before Bobcat Lake is a sign indicating the ruins of Bobcat Creek. This easy hike to a small ruin is a nice side trip on the way to Lynx Lake.
9. Parking package
Fain Park is the perfect place for a relaxing Sunday by the water, bird watching, maybe some fishing and a walk in the park before joining us for a picnic.
10. Groenewegen Track
A beautiful hiking trail in downtown Prescott along Granite Creek and Miller Creek. It’s a good place to cool off at the water’s edge, with plenty of shady spots. Popular with residents and visitors to Prescott.
11. Try a local beer
Enjoy a refreshing drink at one of Prescott’s local breweries. Some local favorites:
The brasserie Lazy G at 220 W rue Leroux with happy hour most days of the week (closed on Tuesdays) and a menu of pub dishes for lunch and dinner and breakfast on Sundays. Beer and wine.
The Prescott Brewing Company at 130 W Gurley St. offers two happy hours: 3 – 6 Months – Happy Hour on Fridays and late nights, every day from 10 p.m. until closing. A complete menu with dishes from starter to dessert. The beer taps are changed weekly and the drinks menu features several whiskey flights.
12. Prescott National Forest
If you want to escape the concrete jungle, head to the Prescott National Forest for camping, fishing and hiking to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Granite Basin Lake is a small but prime spot for a lazy day of fishing. Bring your kayak and paddle on the water in a peaceful setting.
For information on campgrounds and hiking trails, visit the Prescott National Forest website. Don’t forget to bring water, snacks, sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat for the hike.
13. Prescott Historic District
You must visit downtown Prescott and walk around Whiskey Row, even if you don’t want to drink, the architecture is beautiful and welcoming.
However, if you are thirsty (or hungry), stop by the Palace Restaurant and Saloon. This historic saloon opened its doors in 1877, making it the oldest bar (and business) in Arizona.
Stroll down Montezuma Street and visit historic Yavapai County Court Square and its beautiful fountain and bandstand.
At the bottom of Whiskey Row Lane, downtown, you will also find a mural that reads Welcome to Prescott.
14. Museum of indigenous peoples
147 n Arizona Ave.
13:00 to 16:00 from Friday to Sunday
Formerly known as the Smokey Museum and housed in a beautiful building, the museum displays Native American artifacts and educational panels, as well as important information about cultural appropriation.
The mission of the Museum of Indigenous Peoples is to foster understanding and respect for the indigenous cultures of the Southwest.
15. Charlotte Museum Hall
Cultural center and heritage with outdoor exhibits in downtown Prescott.
415 W Gurley St
In 1928, a museum was opened at Charlotte M Hall as the Governor’s Homestead Museum to preserve the history and culture of the area.
Today, the museum includes several historic buildings, including the former governor’s residence from 1864. Fort Misery (the oldest log cabin in Arizona) was built in 1864 and was transferred to the museum grounds in 1934.
16. Phippen Museum
The Phippen Museum exhibits the art and heritage of the American West. The museum has a permanent exhibition and special exhibitions throughout the year. If you like cowboy art, this is the place for you.
10 – 4 from Tuesday to Saturday and 1 – 4 on Sunday, closed on Monday.
17. Fort Whipple Museum
The former US Army base was Arizona’s first territorial capital. Named after Lieutenant Amiel Whipple, the fort was turned over to the U.S. Army Hospital and became a historical museum.
The Fort Whipple Museum is located on the grounds of the Veterans Medical Center in : AZ Hwy 89.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday
18. Historic Jerome
35 miles is about a 50-minute drive.
History buffs will enjoy the old copper mining town of Jerome in the Black Hills of Yavapai County, a scenic day trip from Prescott.
Explore historic Jerome State Park, Douglas Manor and Carriage House. Also visit the Jerome Historical Society’s mining museum and take a ghost tour of Jerome. Discover why Jerome is known as the meanest city in America.
19. Tuzigut National Monument
40 miles is about an hour away.
Tuzigu is located near Cottonwood, northeast of Prescott. This pueblo of the Sinagua people, with more than 100 rooms, is an interesting historical site.
The word Tuzigoot comes from the word Apache meaning twisted water, and was so named at the suggestion of an Apache who participated in the excavation project.
The inhabitants of Sinagua were farmers who grew beans, corn, cotton and squash. They built between 1000 and 1400 AD. Limestone and sandstone houses.
Enjoy a short walk through historic ruins with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. On the other side of the visitor center, you can walk along the boardwalk to the Tawashi Swamp for bird watching.
20. Montezuma Castle
45 miles – about 1 hour drive
An interesting day trip to the Verde Valley region of Arizona and the well-preserved cliffs of Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well is a unique experience. It’s another settlement of the Sinagua people.
A short walk from the visitor center is an amazing stone shelter overlooking the creek.
Not far from Montezuma Well Castle, you can visit a natural spring lake with a hiking trail and other cliff dwellings. You can still see some of the old canals that the people of Sinagua used to irrigate their crops.
21. Day trip to Cottonwood
45 miles is about an hour and 10 minute drive.
If you’re in the mood for some stroking, take time for a day trip to Cottonwood and Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Cottonwood is a pretty little town in the Verde Valley, and the State Park with the curious name is a short drive from the town.
The park has several lagoons and beautiful poplars on the waterfront. If you have more than one day, this is a good place to camp and fish.
22. Granite Mountain Hot Shots Memorial State Park
50 miles is about an hour and 10 minute drive.
The park was created in memory of the nineteen members of Granite Mountain who died on the 30th. in June 2013 while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire.
You can hike the Hotshots Trail up to the lookout point and a little further along the Journey Trail. Along the path are 19 granite plaques honoring each firefighter.
It’s a challenging 7-mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. Parking spaces are limited, so it’s best to arrive early. Also keep in mind that there is no shade on the path. So bring plenty of water and snacks, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Plan a hike of more than 4 hours.
23. Day trip to Sedona
65 miles – about an hour and 20 minutes drive.
Sedona is world famous for its energy vortex and spiritual rejuvenation. Sedona’s red cliffs are home to many hiking and biking trails, including the Little Horse Trail and the ever-popular Cathedral Rock.
Sedona is a great day trip from Prescott, and even better if you can spend a few days exploring the outdoor adventures around Sedona. If you like off-road jeep trails, there are plenty near Sedona.
24. Day trip to Oak Creek Canyon
70 miles is about an hour and 25 minute drive.
A friendly and easy family hike near Sedona is easily accessible from Prescott. The trail follows the west branch of Oak Creek and is a great place to cool off on summer days.
You can take a rest by the stream or swim in the water to recover from the heat. This hike has a beautiful canyon of red rocks and lots of shade along the way.
25. Slide Rock State Park
73 miles – about 1 hour and 30 minutes drive
A few miles north of Sedona, you can descend the 80-foot-high natural sandstone water slide in Oak Creek Canyon via scenic Highway 89.
Slide Rock is very popular and is on many lists of the top 10 swimming holes in the United States. Come early, before the crowds, especially in the summer when the park is incredibly busy.
26. Phoenix Sonoran Reserve
79 miles is about 1 hour and 20 minutes away.
The only place in the world where the saguaro cactus (pronounced Sa-WAH-ro) grows is in Arizona and the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. Saguaros, the largest cactus in the United States, can grow up to 70 feet tall and can store up to 4 tons of water.
Take a scenic drive from the Prescott Pine Woods to the Sonoran Nature Reserve to hike among the giant cacti. From April to June is the flowering period of the saguaro. Then bright white, fragrant flowers appear at the top of the stem and arms of the cactus.
27. Day trip to the flagpole
95 miles is about 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Another city to visit in Arizona, as there is much to do in both directions, is Flagstaff, and Prescott is easily reached by car. While it’s better to spend a few days in Flagstaff, it’s also not a bad idea to get away from Prescott for a day to change the scenery.
Flagstaff is located on historic Route 66, with great hiking and biking trails, several historic ruins nearby, a lava tube, the Sunset Crater, and no shortage of great cafes.
28. Grand Canyon South Rim
125 miles – about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Of course, it’s best to spend more than a day at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, but if you only have a day, why not explore one of the most amazing places in the world!
Park in Grand Canyon Village, near the south entrance, then hike part of the trail in a loop to enjoy spectacular views of the Grand Canyon and visit historic buildings such as Kolb Studios, Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel and Hopi House.
Enjoy a meal at one of the park’s rustic pavilions, then hike a mile and a half on the Bright Angel Trail to the first rest stop and back to Hope.
Other companies in Arizona
Here are some other places to see in Arizona. All of these places are perfect for a weekend getaway from Prescott, or combine them all and make it a great trip to Arizona.
The north side of the Grand Canyon receives fewer visitors than the south side.
Winslow Arizona is located near Petrified Forest National Park.
The horseshoe bend at Page Arizona is a nice hike.
Saguaro National Park is located in Tucson, Arizona – a great place to spend a few days.
Wave Cave Hike hike near Phoenix in Tonto National Forest.
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Tags: Arizona, Prescott.
frequently asked questions
What’s on in Prescott this weekend?
The 15 BEST things to do in Prescott – 2021 (with photos and …
What can you do today in Prescott AZ?
11 things to do in Prescott, AZ | PlanetWare
Is a visit to Prescott worthwhile?
If you are visiting the area (Sedona and Grand Canyon) and have extra time to spend in the area ~ yes, Prescott is worth a day trip.
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