Goldwater Lakes Trail #396

Goldwater Lake Trail #396, which lies within the Granite Creek watershed, is a forested trail shaded by dense stands of ponderosa pine that occasionally give way to alligator juniper and chaparral-type vegetation. There are excellent views of both Upper and Lower Goldwater Lakes, as well as the high country to the east and west. This trail traverses a landscape of hills and ridges, where the valleys are green with Gambel oak, a variety of grasses, and in some of the more significant drainages, classic riparian species such as willow and box-elder. The trail crosses Bannon Creek twice, which may be flowing in the spring. Birds are especially active in these areas, creating outstanding opportunities for birdwatching.

Upper Goldwater Lake can be accessed from the eastern portion of the Goldwater Lakes Trail #396 via a network of marked City of Prescott trails.

Please be considerate of other users—slow down and know when to yield the trail. Refrain from using horses and bikes when the trail is wet.


Printable Map:

At a Glance

Fees: No
Open Season: Spring
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Approximately 10 minutes from Prescott, AZ
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.

General Information


From its intersection with Gurley Street, travel south on Senator Highway 4.1 miles to the trailhead on the right. Parking is limited, but additional space is available directly across Senator Highway at the trailhead serving Watershed Trail #299.

To reach the west trailhead, travel south on White Spar Road 1.8 miles past its junction with Copper Basin Road. Turn left at the sign for White Spar Campground. Park in the lot to the right. The road conditions are paved.

General Notes:


Mountain Biking

  • This trail offers an intermediate mountain bicycling experience and provides access to Goldwater Lake. This fun, flowing single-track can be ridden as an out-and-back, or in conjunction with other Forest Service trails.
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Day Hiking

  • This trail provides remarkable views of both Upper and Lower Goldwater Lakes, as well as the surrounding high country. Mature stands of ponderosa pine provide ample shade.
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding

  • This shaded mountain trail is open to horseback riding.  Excellent views of both Upper and Lower Goldwater Lakes are revealed where there are breaks in the vegetation.
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
4.7 miles

  Elevation : 
6,160 feet