I’ve always admired the natural beauty on the drive from Phoenix to Lake Havasu City. But most people don’t know about hiking, canoeing and walking opportunities in the area… until now.
Millions of Americans may associate Lake Havasu City with powerboat racing, personal watercraft competitions, spring break, and other, well, noisy pastimes, but there’s a little-known quiet side to the area that is gaining in popularity. In fact, to meet the growing demand for a true get-back-to-nature experience, the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a new feature on GoLakeHavasu.com that covers hiking trails throughout this lower Sonoran desert oasis, centrally located along 60 continuous miles of lake and river waterways.
The newly searchable information, found under the web site’s “Activities” section, is powered by Google Earth and not only lists 17 favorite walks and hikes in order of difficulty, but even includes a day hike checklist suggesting what to bring on some of the best hiking trails in Arizona (hint: don’t forget your sunscreen or lip balm). (For more information, here is their hiking trails page.
In addition to hiking, here are more ideas for enjoying the outdoor beauty of the area:
Take Refuge – With its majestic rock cliffs, its ribbon of cool water running through the Sonoran Desert, and its cattail-filled marsh harboring waterfowl, Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge offers a little bit of everything for both wildlife and people. Located just 23 miles from Lake Havasu City, the area features a one-quarter mile trail for nature watching and boating at no wake speed (which is as slow and quiet as you get). There’s also a boat ramp for non-motorized watercraft only. The rare riparian habitat of Bill Williams River NWR is also criss-crossed by a number of hiking trails where one is likely to see the tracks of cottontails, javelina, and deer, as well as predatory coyotes, bobcats, and the less common cougars. (For more information: see the Bill Williams web site.
What’s SUP? – There’s plenty “SUP”, the abbreviation for stand up paddling, a sport growing nationwide in leaps and bounds. Those enthusiasts standing up and paddling on what appears to be a surfboard now have a new way to glide silently along the Bridgewater Channel, just below the home of thousands of bats who nest within the London Bridge which was relocated to Lake Havasu City and placed into service 40 years ago this year. Stand Up Connection website.
Aloha Arizona – A group of dedicated canoeists are keeping Pacific Island culture alive by paddling a fleet of outrigger canoes. There’s perhaps no better way to appreciate the almost two dozen replica lighthouses that dot the shore of the lake.
Through prior arrangement, visitors can learn safety techniques and how to paddle in a six-man outrigger canoe with five other paddlers for recreation or competition. (For further information: 928 855 5565, Outrigger Canoe Website.
Paddle Past Petroglyphs – Step back in time and kayak past petroglyphs in Topock Gorge on a 14-mile guided kayak trip down the Colorado River, starting at Topock Marina, 35 miles north of Lake Havasu City. Topock Gorge is a breathtaking mountainous canyon. The Havasu wilderness extends down to the bank line on both the Arizona and California shores. Indian petroglyphs tell the stories of early peoples who lived along the lower Colorado River during a much, much quieter time. (For more information: call 928 855 6414, or see their Website.
Information Courtesy: Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau