Cowboy Lakes of the Copper State

By Stacey Lane | Special to the Independent

A mile high in the pines there is an ace in the hole.

This hideaway may be the next step for summer travel, a cure for the barn sour and a bee in the bonnet for those seeking another great southwest adventure. It is a prime reason to giddy up and find reprieve from the scorching heat that forged and hardened the pioneers who reshaped the American landscape.

Home to the Oldest Rodeo, a wild west hub of history, the town of Prescott, Arizona has the odd lingo, legends of latigo and a cowboy style all its own.

The cowboys called it Adam’s Ale, but it was simply water, a hard find in the High Desert. Playing a pivotal role in the construction of western civilization, the water provided buckaroos of the back country the products to pave and plaster one of Arizona’s modern tourist attractions. Today the lakes of Prescott and other designated camping areas star among the attractive places to lay a tent, float a canoe or kayak and traverse the trails of the cowpokes long past.

At the top of many a modern to-do list, the e-bike rentals and tours of Prescott E-Bike are a great way to see the scenery and explore the unique rock formations surrounding Watson Lake, Prescott’s second largest lake. A favorite among the paddlers, Watson and Willow Lake are a refreshing getaway for recreation and relaxation.

Another beauty, located off the scenic drive of Senator Highway, is Goldwater Lake. Hidden by lush pine forest, this is a perfect day-use only with covered picnic areas, a volleyball court and fishing docks for family outings. The beautiful little mountain lake also creates wonderful opportunities for birdwatching as birds are plentiful and active in these areas.

Serving as a centerpiece to the Prescott National forest, Lynx Lake with 35 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and grills is also a favorite. The light breeze, ducks and carved path around the lake further rings of solitude and tranquility.

Anglers can fish for trout, bass, crappies as well as catfish and the Lynx Lake Cafe, Store and Marina offers rustic German nutriments, with kayaks and rowboats for rent, plus a shop for beer, snacks and fish bait.

In the center of town rests the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, which serves as a gathering place for all kinds of celebrations situated across the street from Whiskey Row.

While the courthouse has been built, relocated and rebuilt most recently in 1916, the plaza has since grown. Here rests a bronze memorial statue, considered one of the finest equestrian sculptures in the US, honoring members of the First US Volunteer Cavalry of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders who gathered at the plaza on May 4, 1898 before heading to San Antonio at the onset of the Spanish-American War.

Today, people come to relax under the canopies of over 170 trees for a little history, mystery and entertainment at the historic gem. Bring chairs and blankets to rest in the elms for the upcoming Bluegrass Festival the weekend of June 25-26 with free admission.

For a way to knock the dust off and catering to the tenderfoot, downtown Prescott can serve a mess of vittles and has plenty of places to yarn the hours away.

Famous for the stretch known as Whiskey Row, the plentiful plaza offers more than just a place to get roostered.

Nestled between the galleries and shops, anyone can stroll freely and check out the finer dining that will never fail to leave one full as a tick. Get a reprieve and get a wiggle on to the Cowboy Lakes in the Copper State.

To learn more, visit www.prescott.org. Campsites, passes and tours can all be reserved through www.recreation.gov.

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