Watson Woods Riparian Preserve - Prescott, AZ
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Watson Woods Riparian Preserve
GPS Coordinates: N 34° 34.516 W 112° 25.626
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BirdwatchingHorses are allowedHiking is allowedMountain bikes are allowedFishingParking
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Watson Woods Riparian Preserve is a 125-acre preserve that is being protected and restored by Prescott Creeks Preservation Association (PCPA) members and volunteers. The preserve is the remaining portion of what was once a 1,000-acre riparian (streamside) forest of cottonwood and willow trees.
The habitat at Watson Woods Riparian Preserve has been lost or severely degraded as a result of decades and decades of livestock grazing, sand and gravel extraction, illegal dumping, and firewood cutting. Despite the long term abuses to this piece of land, its been healing itself. Over the past 30 years most of the vegetation and wildlife now found at Watson Woods Riparian Preserve has returned on its own.
Cottonwoods and willows that create a cathedral-like atmosphere over Granite Creek, and the edge of a perennial pond, provide habitat for a wide variety of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians. A quiet visitor might encounter a green-backed heron fishing the pond, a Mexican vole scurrying along runways under the grasses, or a common king snake winding its way through the branches of a toppled cottonwood. Watson Woods Riparian Preserve is the premiere bird-watching destination in Prescott. Nature study or a quiet walk amongst the cottonwoods and willows are also popular activities.

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Facilities: Watson Woods Riparian Preserve access is through the trailhead of the Peavine National Recreation Trail. There is a toilet at the trailhead of Peavine National Recreation Trail. There is no potable water along the trail, however there is access to Watson Lake for watering horses.
Additional facilities including water, camping, day-use areas, and picnic ramadas are available at nearby Watson Lake Park.

Best Time To Visit: Watson Woods Riparian Preserve is open to the public for day-use from dawn until dusk seven days a week, but spring and fall are the best times to visit. During winter visits snow and ice along the stream can make for a very precarious and slippery trail. Please use caution.

Fees: Prescott Creeks Preservation Association suggests a donation for each visit to help with operational expenses.

Accessibility: This area is not accessible.

Rules: Obey all posted rules. Bicycles and motor vehicle traffic are prohibited; plan on human-power as your primary transport while at the Preserve. Equestrian use is not acceptable within the Preserve. It is available on the Prescott Peavine Trail, however.

Directions: From downtown Prescott take Highway. 89 North for 2.2 miles. Turn right onto Prescott Lakes Parkway. Cross Granite Creek (and Watson Woods Riparian Preserve) on the new bridge. Then take a left at Sundog Ranch Rd. and immediately look for the large Prescott Peavine Trail & Watson Woods Riparian Preserve sign on the left. After parking at the trailhead, follow the trail for about 100 meters. The Preserve walk-in gate and kiosk are to the left at the sharp right-hand turn in the trail.

Map: Click here for a map to Watson Woods Riparian Preserve

Reservations: Private tours can be scheduled, and all groups of 10 or more must make prior arrangements with the Preserve Manager.

 
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Address
Prescott Parks
P.O. Box 3004
Prescott, Arizona 86302
Phone
General: (928) 445-5669
Fax: (928) 445-5671
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