Can you swim in Goldwater Lake? | Golden Dips

One of the most beautiful spots to visit in Prescott, Arizona is Goldwater Lake. Nestled in the heart of the Bradshaw Mountains, its shimmering blue waters create an idyllic paradise.

But when you are on the verge of packing your swimwear and towels, the main question pops up – can you swim in Goldwater Lake? This comprehensive guide seeks to answer this query and provide other valuable information about the lake.

Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake holds a mysterious allure for visitors and locals alike. Its beauty is captivating, and its serene ambiance provides a soothing escape from the bustling city.

This enchanting locale is not just about the stunning scenery; it offers several recreational activities that one can indulge in. However, before planning a fun day out or a picnic, there’s an essential aspect one must be aware of – the lake’s swimming regulations.

Understanding Goldwater Lake

Named after Morris Goldwater, the grandfather of Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, the lake has been a favorite recreation spot for decades. This man-made reservoir located 4 miles south of downtown Prescott is set in the midst of lush pine forests, adding a dash of greenery to the azure water vista.

Surprisingly, Goldwater Lake is not as massive as it seems. Spanning 15 acres, the lake may be small, but its depth is considerable. The deepest points can reach up to 50 feet, giving it a unique charm and allure. This combination of depth and size lends the lake a remarkable appeal, making it a must-visit place for nature enthusiasts.

The distinct features of Goldwater Lake don’t end with its size and depth. The lake boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It’s also home to various species of fish, including largemouth bass, channel catfish, and rainbow trout. Anglers often frequent the place, trying their luck at catching these finned denizens.

Goldwater Lake: Recreational Activities

From hiking trails to picnic spots, Goldwater Lake provides numerous activities for both land-based and water-based enthusiasts. The lake features three and a half miles of trails where visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride. The scenic surroundings make these activities even more appealing.

Water-based activities at Goldwater Lake also hold their unique charm. Although swimming is a point of concern, other options like canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating make the lake a water lover’s delight. The serene surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for a tranquil boat ride across the lake.

The widespread appeal of Goldwater Lake extends to both locals and tourists. Its peaceful environment makes it an ideal spot for family outings, picnics, and even solo trips. The lake’s charm lies in its versatility, offering something for everyone, irrespective of age or interest.

The Central Question: Can You Swim in Goldwater Lake?

Now, let’s address the burning question – can you swim in Goldwater Lake? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Public policies set by the City of Prescott prohibit swimming in Goldwater Lake.

The reasons behind the no-swimming regulations vary. Safety concerns top the list, especially due to the lake’s considerable depth. Also, protecting the natural environment and the lake’s ecosystem is crucial.

Overuse of the lake for recreational purposes could lead to water pollution, disturbing the balance of life in and around the lake.

Alternatives to Swimming at Goldwater Lake

While swimming might not be an option, the lake offers plenty of other exciting activities. Kayaking and canoeing are excellent ways to enjoy the lake. These activities provide a unique perspective of the lake’s landscape while ensuring adherence to safety regulations.

  • Goldwater Lake’s tranquil waters are perfect for a relaxing kayaking or canoeing experience. Enjoy the sight of pine trees reflecting off the water’s surface as you paddle your way around.
  • Another popular activity is fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, fishing in Goldwater Lake offers a rewarding experience. The lake is stocked with various species of fish, and with a valid fishing license, you can have a fun-filled day.
  • Birdwatching at Goldwater Lake is another leisure activity nature enthusiasts love. The area around the lake is home to various bird species. Equip yourself with a good pair of binoculars and a bird guide to make the most out of this experience.

Ensuring Safety and Adherence to Regulations at Goldwater Lake

While the restrictions on swimming may seem disappointing, it’s essential to understand that these regulations exist for a reason. Goldwater Lake is a natural reserve, and every visitor is responsible for its conservation.

Visitor safety is another primary concern for the authorities. The lake’s depth, combined with undercurrents and underwater obstructions, makes swimming risky. These risks are mitigated by enforcing no-swimming regulations.

Non-adherence to these regulations can lead to penalties and even legal action. The goal of these restrictions is not to limit enjoyment but to ensure that Goldwater Lake can be enjoyed responsibly by everyone for generations to come.

Tips for a Memorable Visit to Goldwater Lake

When planning your visit to Goldwater Lake, some aspects can make your trip more enjoyable. The lake is accessible all year round, but the best time to visit is during the warmer months, from late spring to early fall.

Pack smartly for your visit. Essentials include outdoor gear, a picnic basket if you’re planning to eat, and, of course, your camera to capture the breathtaking sights. But remember, leave no trace behind. The beauty of Goldwater Lake is in its pristine condition, and every visitor must strive to keep it that way.

A trip to Goldwater Lake is incomplete without exploring nearby attractions. The Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, Sharlot Hall Museum, and Lynx Lake are all within a short drive from Goldwater Lake

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will be delving into some of the most common inquiries and curiosities that surround our topic.

What are the hours of operation for Goldwater Lake?

Goldwater Lake Park is open from 7 AM to 10 PM.

Can you picnic at Goldwater Lake?

Yes, there are picnic areas available at Goldwater Lake. Some areas even offer barbecue grills.

Are pets allowed at Goldwater Lake?

Pets are allowed but must be leashed at all times.

Are there any lifeguards present at Goldwater Lake?

No, there are no lifeguards at Goldwater Lake due to the no-swimming policy.

How can I report a violation at Goldwater Lake?

Violations can be reported to the City of Prescott’s Parks and Recreation Department.


Goldwater Lake, with its mesmerizing beauty and range of recreational options, is a jewel in Prescott’s crown. Although swimming is not permitted, there’s a myriad of activities one can indulge in, ranging from peaceful canoeing to exciting hiking and birdwatching.

This destination is not just about the activities it offers, but also the calmness and serenity it imparts, letting us appreciate nature’s gifts.

Being informed about the regulations and policies of Goldwater Lake helps maintain the balance between enjoyment and preservation.

It ensures the continued splendor of this beautiful locale and makes us conscious visitors. In preserving its natural state, we ensure that future generations will have the same opportunity to experience and appreciate the beauty of Goldwater Lake.

So, while you might have initially been drawn to Goldwater Lake with the intention to swim, there’s a wealth of activities and experiences that await you. Each visit will open up new vistas of discovery and enjoyment, offering you the opportunity to connect with nature in its most serene form.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Teri Franks, the voice behind Prescott Voice. I've spent years immersing myself in all that Prescott has to offer, and I love sharing the unique stories and experiences I've discovered. When I'm not writing, you'll find me exploring Prescott's trails or tasting our local cuisine. I believe that the vibrant lifestyle here in Prescott inspires us to live a healthier, happier life. Come join me on this exciting journey as we explore Prescott together.

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