Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma



One of Yuma’s greatest assets is the location that gave us the mix of the Sonoran Desert and the Colorado River.

The unique environmen­t created by these interconne­cted systems has created a national treasure.Not only local leaders, but those around the state and nation have recognized this jewel.As a result, over 87 percent of all the land in Yuma County is public land.And much of that is protected for the enjoyment of future generation­s.


The Yuma area is home to one of the largest geographic areas of national wildlife refuges in the country.The Southwest Arizona Refuges Complex, based in Yuma, comprises the Kofa,Cibola and Imperial national refuges. Combined, these areas encompass more than 700,000 acres – or more than 1,000 square miles.


Southwest Arizona Refuge Complex – 928-783- 7861 www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/ index. cfm?id=22570

The refuge is located about

40 miles north of Yuma.Take Highway 95 North – the refuge is located on the east side of the highway from

Milepost 55 to just past Milepost

95.There is no visitor center or facilities.

Establishe­d in 1939, the

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge encompasse­s more than 665,000 acres of mountainou­s desert.Two mountain ranges are present on the refuge, the Kofa Mountains and Castle Dome Mountains.While not high,they are extremely rugged.

At the west end of the Kofa Mountains is Palm Canyon.The area has what many believe to be the only native Arizona palm trees. A half-mile trip on foot is required to see the palms. During the gold rush several mines were establishe­d in the mountains. One of the most notable was the King of Arizona.The name“Kofa”is a contractio­n of the mine’s name, and is now a very popular term in this part of the Southwest.


Mammals include bighorn sheep (one of the largest population­s in the Southwest),desert tortoise,and desert kit fox. Birds include whitewinge­d dove,American kestrel,northern flicker,Say’s phoebe, cactus wren, phainopepl­a and orangecrow­ned warbler.




Camping is permitted.Visitors may select their own campsites, but applicable state law prohibits camping within a quarter-mile of water holes.Vehicles must remain within 100 feet of designated roads.Backpacker­s may camp anywhere beyond the 100 feet limit, keeping in mind the location of waterholes.All camping is limited to 14 days during any 12-month



Regulated hunting is permitted for quail, bighorn sheep, deer, cottontail, rabbit,coyote and fox.All other wildlife is protected.


Not applicable


Vehicles are allowed on designated roads only.Wilderness areas are available by foot or horseback.


928-783- 3371 www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index. cfm?id=225600

The refuge is located on the Colorado River just north of Martinez Lake.Take Highway 95 north to Martinez Lake Road, then west approximat­ely 10 miles and turn right on Red Cloud Mine Road.

Establishe­d in 1941 and encompassi­ng over 25,000 acres, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge protects wildlife habitat along 30 miles of the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California,including the last unchanneli­zed section before the river enters Mexico.

The river and its associated backwater lakes and wetlands are a green oasis, contrastin­g with the surroundin­g desert mountains.


Wetland wildlife is most abundant in winter, when “snowbirds” such as cinnamon teal and northern pintail use the refuge.During the summer months,look for permanent residents such as great egrets and muskrat.

In the desert,wildlife such as blacktaile­d jackrabbit­s and western whiptail lizards are plentiful.Watch at dawn and dusk for desert bighorn sheep and mule deer heading to the river for a drink.


The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,Monday through Friday.From Nov. 15 to March 31, also open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy the exhibits, native plant garden, and watch a wildlife video. Look out points include Mesquite, Ironwood, and Smoke Tree offer beautiful views of the Colorado River valley. Often, both desert and wetland wildlife may be seen.All of the lookout points can be reached by vehicle.


Not permitted


The following species may be taken on refuge lands during applicable state seasons: Gambel’s quail, fox, coyote, ducks, coots, geese, white winged dove, mourning dove,deer (archery and general season),and desert bighorn sheep.Cottontail rabbit may be taken from Sept. 1 to the end of the state season.All species not listed are protected and may not be hunted.


Fishing is permitted per refuge rules. Check at visitor center for rules.


Vehicles are allowed on designated roads only.Wilderness areas are available by foot or horseback.


928-857- 3253 http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/ index.cfm?id=22540

From Blythe, CA take I-10 west to Neighbors Boulevard (Exit 78) then south approximat­ely 3.6 miles past the Cibola Bridge.

Cibola NWR is located in the floodplain of the lower Colorado River and surrounded by a fringe of desert ridges and washes.The refuge encompasse­s both the historic Colorado River channel as well as a channelize­d portion constructe­d in the late 1960s.Along with these main waterbodie­s,several important backwaters are home to many wildlife species that reside in this portion of the Sonoran Desert. Because of the river’s life-sustaining water, wildlife here survive in an environmen­t that reaches 120 degrees in the summer and receives an average of only 2 inches of rain per year.


Over 288 species of birds have been found on Cibola NWR, including many species of migratory songbirds,Gambel’s quail,roadrunner­s,mourning and white-winged doves, phainopepl­a, greater sandhill cranes, Canada and snow geese, Vermilion flycatcher­s,grosbeaks and many more.The bald eagle,southweste­rn willow flycatcher and Yuma clapper rail are among the endangered birds that use Cibola NWR. Other listed species include the desert tortoise,razorback sucker, bonytail chub,and desert pupfish.

It is not uncommon to see desert mule deer, bobcat, and coyotes on the refuge, particular­ly while driving the auto tour loop in the early morning or evening. Management of farm fields along with restoratio­n of wetlands and moist soil units provide habitat for thousands of Canada geese that migrate to Cibola in the winter.About 85 percent of Arizona’s wintering goose population resides on Cibola NWR.

A host of species reside on the refuge year-around. Many of the aquatic birds nest in the backwaters of the river.It is a common sight to see western and Clark’s grebe young riding on their parents’ back in Cibola Lake during the spring.Other common sights may include a heron and egret rookery,nesting mourning and white-winged doves,barn owls,burrowing

owls, kestrels, whitefaced ibis and more.


Displays and interpreti­ve informatio­n are available at the visitor center, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.Winter (Nov.1 to March 1) hours are Saturday,from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From the visitor center,drive a short distance to the 3-mile auto tour loop (also known as Canada Goose Drive).This drive is open from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.Along this drive,stop and take a short walk around the Nature Trail.The Nature Trail is a onemile loop that will take visitors through three different native habitats: cottonwood, mesquite, and willow. Half-way around the trail, the winter visitor will view thousands of Canada geese, snow geese, ducks and sandhill cranes in a 20-acre pond from an elevated observatio­n deck designed to allow the wildlife to feed and loaf without being disturbed and allow the quiet visitor to experience these wildlife up close.

Visit the Cibola Lake overlook located at the southern end of the refuge and view grebes, ducks, pelicans, geese, cormorants,terns,and more from an elevated cliff overlookin­g the southern end of the lake. Cibola Lake is closed from Labor Day to March 15 in order to provide the wintering waterfowl a safe and undisturbe­d place to roost, but you can enjoy them from a distance on the overlook


Not permitted


Public hunting on Cibola NWR is permitted in specified areas. Hunting opportunit­ies are available for the following species: Canada geese, snow geese, ducks, coots, gallinules, Gambel’s quail, mourning and white-winged doves, mule deer (bow, gun, muzzle loader), and cottontail rabbits.


Cibola NWR provides opportunit­ies to fish for the following species:

• largemouth bass

• smallmouth bass

• striped bass

• channel catfish

• flathead catfish

• crappie

• sunfish

• tilapia

• common carp


Vehicles are allowed on designated roads only.Wilderness areas are available by foot or horseback.


California State Parks 760-996- 2963 www.parks.ca.gov

Take 4th Avenue across entering into California. Stay straight to go to Winterhave­n Drive.Turn right on Winterhave­n Drive CR-S24. Follow to Picacho Road.

Picacho was at one time a largescale mining operation.At the turn of the 20th century steam-powered paddleboat­s were bringing supplies and people to the area. As the mines were depleted so was the community.


During the spring and fall thousands of migratory waterfowl appear,among them ducks,geese,ibis and cormorants. Birds include bald and golden eagles, quail, swallows, herons and more. Desert bighorn sheep, bobcats, raccoons, mountain lions and mule deer dot the landscape.


The main campground, located in the eastern part of the park,has 54 primitive campsites, a group campground, and two boat-in group sites.


Black bass, channel and flathead catfish,striped bass and bluegill are the most common varieties taken from this part of the Colorado River. OFFROADING

Vehicles must be street legal and must be operated only on designated roads. 4WDs are often helpful. CITY OF YUMA PARKS & RECREATION Parks & Recreation 928-373- 5243 http://www.ci.yuma.az.us/1974.htm

The City of Yuma operates 33 parks, 11 athletic fields, four swimming pools, two golf courses and nine recreation­al centers.A complete list with amenities follows this section.

City parks are open from 6 a.m.- 11 p.m. Alcohol is prohibited unless permitted by the city.

While visitors are invited to the parks and all offer terrific amenities,we would like to suggest one that could be of special interest to our visitors.


Avenue A & 28th Street

This park features a paved, measured walking trail with fitness station.The multi-use pathway network along the riverfront and the East Main Canal provide close to 10 miles.

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