Special Places

The Prescott National Forest is filled with Special Places, too numerous to list all. We've used this page to feature places that offer a special type of experience. There are many more.

Recreation Rentals

Fun for the family

Off-Highway Vehicle 


Wilderness is designated by Congress as "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence." Wilderness is a repository of clean air and water, unfragmented wildlife habitat, and natural areas for research and education. Prescott National Forest's eight wilderness areas are ideal places to view wildlife, hike, ride horses, backpack, find solitude, and connect with Nature.  

Highlighted Areas

Highlands Center for Natural History

The Highlands Center for Natural History is a non-profit nature-based education organization that operates under a Special Use Permit from the Prescott National Forest.  Its 80-acre campus lies within the Lynx Lake Recreation Area among ponderosa pines adjacent to Lynx Creek.  

Visit the Highlands Center for Natural History website to learn more about their organization, nature trail, discovery gardens, environmentally sound building techniques, desert landscaping, and much more.  

Verde River

Prescott National Forest has eight sites that offer access to the Verde River.  Some sites are commonly used to put-in or take-out non-motorized watercraft while others offer picnicking facilities or are popular for wading and fishing.  Down river, starting at Beasley Flat, the Verde River has Wild & Scenic River status protecting its outstanding natural and cultural values.  Upriver, the Verde Canyon Railroad follows the Verde River as it cuts through stunning red rock canyons that border the Prescott and Coconino National Forests.

Verde River Guide (&, 928 KB PDF)  Please plan ahead, be prepared, and practice Leave No Trace ethics to leave the Verde just as you find it for those who come after.

Canoe and Kayak Launch:

  • White Bridge Located across from the Verde Ranger Station on Highway 260, this site has picnic facilities and is the most popular boat launch for float trips to Beasley Flat.
  • Beasley Flat This site marks the beginning of the Wild & Scenic stretch of the Verde River which is recommended only for experienced boaters.  Float trips take out here, and there are picnic facilities and a nature trail. 
  • Clear Creek  Though boaters can put in or take out here, this is not a very good boat launch.  The access to the river is steep and slippery, and parking is limited.
  • Black Canyon A popular fishing spot, and a fun place to splash around on an inner tube!

Fishing, wading and picnicking:



Learn more about the National Wild & Scenic River program: Check out this story board created by the National Park Service!

Help increase awareness of our nation's Wild & Scenic Rivers by using the 2019 Forever Stamps featuring Wild & Scenic Rivers of the USA

Walnut Creek Center for Education and Research

Walnut Creek Station YouTube video promotional image.Ripe pears on treeResearchers in protective clothingCrew members from the Max Planck Institute working in the research gardenStars in the night skyPeople making notes about a plant along the phenology trail


Walnut Creek was established by Prescott National Forest (PNF) to serve as a District Ranger Station in 1909. The District Ranger Residence(1934) and barn (1936) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since that time Walnut Creek Ranger Station has also functioned as a work center and station for fire operations.  In the mid-1990’s personnel were moved to the Chino Valley Ranger Station and the fire operations were moved to the newly built Prescott Fire Center. With the buildings no longer used by the PNF, former Chino Valley District Ranger Mark Johnson coordinated with several area educational institutions and formed a partnership called the Walnut Creek Center for Education and Research (WCCER).  Currently WCCER consists of Prescott College, Northern Arizona University, and the Flagstaff Arboretum and operates under a special use permit. Students of all ages visit the facility and participate in various educational activities and research programs. 




Recreation Areas