Granite Basin Lake Recreation Area

01 Granite Basin Lake & Mt Prescott AZ (1024x392)

Not all of Arizona is desert.  In fact several lakes are located around Prescott with Granite Basin Lake only 15 minutes away nestled in a Ponderosa Pine forest at the base of Granite Mountain, a towering pile of boulders.  My first visit on a crisp January day didn’t entice me into much recreation yet I braved the cold briefly wearing many layers.

02 Granite Mountain Granite Basin Drive Prescott NF AZ (1024x666)

Just a three-mile drive off Iron Springs Road in the Prescott National Forest Granite Basin Recreation Area offers fishing, non-motorized boating, camping, hiking, horse riding, rock climbing and picnicking.  I pass this turn off all the time on my drive back and forth to Prescott and didn’t even know it was there.

03 Icey Granite Basin Lake Prescott NF AZ (1024x678)

The man-made lake built by the Civilian Conservation Corp was completed in 1939.  It is not stocked but allows fishing with a license.  I don’t fish but the word is that patience may bring anglers bluegill, largemouth bass and catfish.  Of course right now you’d have to bring tools just to break through the ice.

04 Snowy Granite Basin Drive Prescott NF AZ (1024x725)

Yavapai Campground accommodates tents, and trailers up to 40 feet in length at a small fee.  There are no hookups but water and toilets are available.  I didn’t notice anybody camping but then it’s a little chilly in the mountains right now.

05 Granite Basin Lake & Mt Prescott NF AZ (1024x609)

Come warmer weather I look forward to hiking some of the eight trails of 1.3 to 3.2 miles each way, or connect a few to lengthen the hike.  The trails wind through Ponderosa and Pinyon Pine forest studded with granite boulders along seasonal creeks.  During summer months wildflowers should add color to the landscape.  The Forest Service rates these trails from easy to difficult.  I’ll let you know.

06 Giant boulders on Granite Mt Prescott NF AZ (1024x678)

Mountain biking and hiking are allowed on all the same trails and horses on some of them too.  I’m not too keen on the multi-use trails under heavy traffic, bikes sneak up on you and I don’t like stepping around horse poop.  No offense to anyone who enjoys these modes of transportation, I just like to see separate trails.

07 Cliff face on Granite Mt Prescott NF AZ (1024x678)

For the more adventurous than I, rock climbers tackle the steep cliff faces.  But only from August to February as there’s a seasonal Peregrine Falcon closure from February 1 to July 15.  While researching the recreational opportunities I saw one route described as “the Guillotine Flake, that requires the leader to enter the depths of a large flake/chimney feature and emerge out its top.”  I know I won’t be tackling that.

And even if you’re not into this much exercise Granite Basin Recreation Area offers shade on a summer afternoon for a picnic and it’s not far from town.  Picnic tables are available at Cayuse, Wekuvde, Boat Launch, Playa, and Metate day-use areas.

08 Map of Prescott & Granite Basin Lake area (1024x471)

All recreational use areas on the Prescott National Forest requires a pass.  Day use fee is $5 payable on site.  Or use an Interagency Pass like the annual, senior or access passes.  If you live nearby, like I do, think about purchasing the Prescott National Forest Pass annually for $40 or four months for $20.

Oh, I forgot to mention, if you’re into movies this place may look familiar as a segment of the movie Creepshow 2 was filmed here.  If you watch this you might not want to visit.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

09 Cattails along Granite Basin Lake Prescott NF AZ (1024x678)

After about 30 minutes of wandering along the lake shore taking photos my glove covered hands started to tingle.  That’s my clue to get somewhere warm.  However I’m glad to have finally checked out this local destination and look forward to returning for some future hikes.  Sometimes it’s those places in our own backyards we visit last.

What local destinations offer you an escape into nature?



Capturing the present for future memories of the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

  1. I just love the giant boulders among the pines. That looks like a great place.

    Kind of funny on the passes but when the family went to Mount Rainier NP in Washington last summer when we were going through the line to pay to get in I was asked by the Ranger if I was over 52. I said yep so he sold me a lifetime senior pass. I get home and get looking at it and it says that I have to be 62! So I guess that I have an outlaw senior pass. And I guess that I’m not a government certfied seniors either!
    yogi recently posted..Skywatch Friday –My Profile

    • At least you got into the park for $10. Most entrance/pay stations ask for ID with those cards so I would just hang on to it for a few years. It will be good for the rest of your life, beyond 62. Bet you can wait. 😉

  2. Great pictures. It looks like a really nice place to be in warmer weather. I’m with you on multi-use trails. I guess the bikers and horse riders could share without much trouble but those of us hiking should not have to watch out for the wheeled or hooved and their droppings. Or at least that’s my 2 cents.

    • I obviously agree. One of my favorite trails in WA along the Lewis River was multi-use and after being scared to death and jumping off trail for a bike I silently wished there would be a horse around the bend for him to stick his head up its…. Not because I don’t like horses mind you.

  3. Really like the looks of that area there. Being Northerners, we do miss our trees & forests. For sure we’ll slip up there in warmer weather & have us a look around. Anytime water, rocks, & trees are mixed together it’s gonna peak my interest for sure:))
    Bayfield Bunch AL recently posted..AND THAT WAS IT FOR TODAYMy Profile

  4. What a beautiful place, I like the smooth rock formations, it does look cold where there’s ice and snow. The roads and trails I go on are multi-use with horses, walkers, runners, bikes and trams. The bikes and trams are allowed during different hours so it never gets too crazy except that there are lots of noisy pedestrians.
    Diane AZ recently posted..Autumn ColorsMy Profile

  5. Nice pictures. I am glad you explored the area a little bit. Now you have another close destination for some easy hikes.
    Living in the tree farm we have zillion of easy and/or hard trails and forest service roads. Plenty to do close at hand.
    No, I didn’t use a tripod. Just me and my zoomed out camera. MB

  6. Oh I just love the lakes, forests, boulders and mountain trails. Although I like the sea, I much prefer inland water bodies and MOUNTAINS like the Berg in KN and the Outeniquas in the Cape. I would also be nervous to hike along a trail not knowing if a bike was going to careen into me! As for horses, um – the only animal that I am afraid of ! LOL! Gaelyn, please could you mail me on hedges@telkomsadotnet? I can’t seem to make normal e-mail contact with you. Hugs Jo
    Jo recently posted..South African PetsMy Profile

  7. I know there is a lot of unexplored territory near both our homes but somehow it is easier to explore far afield.
    I don’t care for having to share the trail with horses, often I encounter them in areas where it is difficult or dangerous to get out of the way. As for the mountain bikers, they like to deface the tags informing them that they are not permitted in the wilderness. I guess the figure if the tag is gone it is OK to ride into the the wilderness.
    Martha Z recently posted..Birding in HawaiiMy Profile

  8. Love those rock formations, I usually pay attention if I could see faces or shapes of whatever kind.

    I just came back from a 4 day camping/photo hike in Death Valley, and boy was it freezing at night. I could relate about the gloves, but I prefer not to wear it when I shoot.

    Here”s looking to more adventures in the coming year. Got schedules for road trips till May 31.

    Happy New Year!
    Ebie recently posted..2012 – A Year of Photographic OpportunitiesMy Profile

    • I always see faces in the boulders. Makes me feel safe somehow, like I’m being watched over.
      Death Valley is so dynamic and diverse but those cold desert nights…brrrr
      Glad to hear you’re getting out and about. Look forward to seeing your photos.

  9. hat a nice place to stretch your legs! I’m definitely with you about the multi-use of trails. Mountain bikes tend to erode steep bits and are fast moving, which I am not. The combination does not sit well and depending on the width of the trail,horses and hikers don’t mix so well either. I do like the fact that boating is allowed and even more do I like it that motorised boating is not. It preserves the peace and does not erode the banks.

    When are you off to S.Africa, or are you there already? I have missed so much on your blog. Sorry.
    Arija recently posted..Wild Bird Wednesday and Nature Notes – Blackbird and WormsMy Profile

  10. This looks like a great place to bird as well. But I think you’re right….spring…wildflowers…..what a nice little hidden world:) Another spot to add to my list in AZ. We have so many cool places:) Thanks for sharing.