Watson Woods is a lush bird watcher’s paradise perfect for a shady walk

By Amanda Lane, Owner, The Hike Shack

Watson Woods is a riparian preserve that has been called the rarest, and one of the largest streamside riparian habitats in North America.

I recently took my niece on a quick day trip to this area, and it provided us with just the piece of heaven we were in search of. With a limited amount of time before the temperatures soared over 90 degrees, we took an early morning journey to Watson Woods, 126 acres shaded by majestic cottonwood trees and lush vegetation along our very own Granite Greek.

Even in our driest months, you can find a little water, green grass, and an abundance of wildlife in this birder’s paradise. This area is also home to a couple of miles of trails that allow you to wander through the majestic cottonwoods while the birds sing you a song.

We parked at the small parking area on the east side of Highway 89 and Rosser Road. There are no facilities or water here, but there is also no fee (although you are encouraged to donate $2.00 to Prescott Creeks or become a member to continue the efforts to restore this special place).

We pulled up the Prescott Recreation map on my phone to see what trails lay ahead. We decided to head north towards the lake. We were instantly shocked by the beauty of the cottonwoods in the early morning light, combined with the songs from hundreds of birds that were loud enough to drown out the noise of the cars on the highway.

The signs on the side of the trails taught us that there are more types of cottonwoods than we realized. The trails here are flat and well maintained, an easy adventure for just about anyone. As we wandered through the trees, we talked about what the rest of the summer had in store.

I quickly decided this would be a great place to take the kids after school, or your best pal when you need a place to hear each other out or just walk it off.

We were easily distracted by the birds and the trees and quickly jumped right back into the conversation as we made a figure eight of sorts and wandered back towards the parking lot. The trail system here is short and sweet, but it also gives you access to the Sundog, Peavine, and Watson Lake trails if you are looking to spend a little more time. We cannot wait to come back after the monsoons roll in, to see how things change, and to catch back up on life.

Stop by The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma Street in Prescott or call 928.443.8565 or visit www.thehikeshack.com.