One of the best ways to truly enjoy Yuma County is going outside and taking a walk or a hike.
The region offers a variety of walking and hiking paths to help Yumans and visitors alike explore the outdoors,both in Yuma County and just across the state line in neighboring California.
Hiking in the wilderness can be a wondrous adventure.The desert sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, and the views from a hiking trail can be breathtaking. Nothing compares to the desert when it blooms in the spring,bringing a riot of color to the landscaping.
However,for every moment of beauty, there is a potential danger, such as rattlesnakes, scorpions, very spiky cactus, and spiders both venomous and nonvenomous.
Before you go on any of these adventures,there are a few safety pointers from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to keep in mind.
• Let a friend know where you plan to go and when you expect to return.Some of these regions are remote, and don’t offer facilities or cell phone coverage.
• Plan your trip,and be sure to bring plenty of water.
• Be prepared for extreme temperatures.
• Be sure to pace yourself.Keep your limitations in mind, and don’t overdo it.
• On your way out, be sure to leave no trace,and help keep these areas pristine.
HIKING TRAILS LITTLE PICACHO WILDERNESS AREA
Located about 25 miles from Yuma on the California side of the Colorado River, this hike starts with a broad, white sandy wash that narrows into rugged bedrock canyons after about 20 minutes of hiking. From this point on, the hike becomes more challenging, as it progresses through canyons.
Getting There: High-clearance vehicles are recommended.Take Highway 95 about 20 miles to Imperial Dam Road, and turn left at the Big Guns by Yuma Proving Ground. Drive about six miles to Senator Wash road, and turn right.Take Senator Wash Road about three miles, and enter the South Mesa Imperial
Dam Long Term Visitor
Area. Follow the graded road though the campsite to Ferguson Lake Road,and turn right. Drive for approximately 10 miles on Ferguson Lake Road and park near the sand wash.Keeping to the farthest right side of the wash, begin your hike.
MUGGINS MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS
There are no developed trails, but depending on your fitness level, you can either take an easy walk through Muggins Wash, or a strenuous climb up nearby peaks.This wilderness area is located about 25 miles east of Yuma.
Getting There: From Yuma, travel east along Interstate 8 to the Dome Valley exit. Travel east through Ligurta to Dome Valley Road and turn north.Follow Dome Valley Road to Avenue 20E.Take Avenue 20E north to County 7th Street and turn east.Travel east on County 7th Street pas the old Dome Valley Transfer Station (small structure enclosed by chain link fence). Continue on primative road for about two miles to access Muggins Wash. Park near the information kiosk.High-clearance vehicles are recommended. For more information,call 928-317-3200 or visit
FORTUNA MINE INTERPRETIVE TRAIL
Nestled in the foothills of the Gila Mountains east of Yuma, Mine Shaft No. 2 is the head of the Fortuna Mine Interpretive Trail. Pedestals along the trail offer written history of the area.Fortuna once had its own post office, schoolhouse, general store and blacksmith shop.Today,the trail covers about two miles,with an easy to moderate level of difficulty.
Getting There: A permit is required to access the Barry M.Goldwater Range, where the trail is located.To get a permit, call the Goldwater Permit office at 928269-7150.Once you have a permit,take the Fortuna Foothills exit from Interstate 8.Turn right and then immediately left to head east on the frontage road.The frontage road will turn right into South Avenue 15 E. Follow this due south to the end of the road.As the paved road continues right,stay left until you reach the main entrance to the Barry M. Goldwater Range, which is marked by a range sign. Follow the graded road - the Fortuna Mine Interpretive Trail begins at
mile marker post B7, about 7.5 miles from the main entrance.A visitors kiosk at the trailhead provides historical information and more.
PAINTED DESERT TRAIL
The Painted Desert Trail is located at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, near Martinez Lake.It is a self-guided loop trail that is 1.3 miles long, winding over rocky mesas and down into sand washes. The Chocolate Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for the Colorado River,and it’s possible to see a variety of wildlife along the way,including bighorn sheep,burros,jackrabbits and more.
Getting There: From Yuma, take Highway 95,and turn left on Martinez Lake Road.Continue on Martinez Lake Road for about 10 miles,then turn right on Red Cloud Mine Road. Follow the signs to the visitor’s center, where a map and directions to the Painted Desert Trail can be found. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the center, and the trail is located about three miles from there.
PALM CANYON TRAIL
Palm Canyon is home to an interesting stand of palm trees, tucked high in a side canyon.The California fan palms are the only native species of palm tree in Arizona.The canyon itself was cut through a formation of volcanic rock,and one can sometimes see bighorn sheep during early morning visits.The trail is easy to follow,but does have steep sections.At the trail’s end,one can look up at the narrow side canyon, where the palms can be spotted.
Getting There: Take Highway 95 to milepost 85.Approximately 63 miles north of Yuma, watch for the brown Palm Canyon sign,and turn onto the dirt road. Follow the dirt road east for seven miles to a parking area.The narrow canyon above the parking lot is Palm Canyon. A half-mile foot trail starts at the upper end of the parking area, leading into the canyon.
Telegraph Pass offers a challenging path up and down a 5.3-mile-long loop. The trail to the base of the mountain is moderately difficult, while the paved path up the mountain is difficult, with a total
elevation gain of more than 1,200 feet.At the top, however, the views are magnificent.
Getting There: Exit Interstate 8 at Fortuna Boulevard,and follow the North Frontage Road until you reach the parking lot.
Also known as Jester’s Peak or Flag Mountain, this hike gains about 1,000 feet in elevation along the way.The steep trail is narrow,but the summit has a 360 degree view.The hike is easy to moderate, getting progressively more challenging as one reaches the top ridge,where the terrain is steep with loose rock and sand.
Getting There: Park at Avenue 15E/Las Barrancas,then walk about 2.5 miles up the dirt road to the trailhead.(Or,drive the dirt road and park at the turnaround).
Located in the Kofa Mountains,this hike starts out easy,along a gently sloping wash, then gains difficulty as it gains elevation.The last stretch is loose rock and steep terrain, with lots of scrambling.
From a distance, the top of the peak is distinctive in shape, looking almost like a muffin or cupcake.
Castle Dome Peak has an elevation of over 3,700 feet
Getting There: Take Highway 95 north to Castle Dome Mine Road, and turn right.Followed the paved road (which eventually becomes dirt) east toward the peak, which eventually circles around Castle Dome Peak, before arriving at a large wash slightly northwest of the peak, marked by a sign indicating no motor vehicles. Park here, and follow the trail up, watching for cairn rock trail markers along the way.
Located about eight miles west of Yuma, Pilot Knob offers several hikes and trails around the mountain.The easiest to find is about 1.4 miles from the base to the flag up top, and is a moderately difficult hike.At the top,one can see a panoramic view of Yuma, Los Algodones and Felicity.
Getting There: Take Interstate 8 west from Yuma, and exit at Sidewinder Road. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp,and take Sidewinder Road to the mountain.
CITY OF YUMA WALKING TRAILS
If you prefer to keep your hikes and walks closer to town, the city of Yuma offers several walking paths and trails. The Colorado River Trail winds from the West Wetlands Park to the East Wetlands, starting at 22nd Avenue and Water Street, ending by Pacific Avenue,for a total of five miles.This path winds through parks and along the river’s edge, offering some of Yuma’s best scenery.
That route also connects to the East Main Canal Path, which runs from Avenue A and Colorado Street to 40th Street, a 6.5-mile adventure.
There is also a horse trail in that area, running along the West Wetlands Park for 1.5 miles.
The 20th Street Bike Path runs from 20th Street and Avenue B to the East Main Canal, about 8/10 of a mile.
Carver Track, at 5th Street and 13th Avenue,is 400 meters long,and four laps is equivalent to one mile.
Kennedy Park (24th Street and Kennedy Lane), Madison Trails (201 N. 4th Ave.),Winsor Basin (Winsor Avenue and 32nd Street) and Kiwanis Park (8th Street and Magnolia Avenue) all offer paths that are around a 1/2 mile long.
Netwest Park (1100 S. 14th Ave.) and Winsor Rotary Park (3407 W. 20th St) have paths clocking in at around 1/3 of a mile long.
Smucker Park, meanwhile, has a onemile-long loop, located at Avenue A and 28th Street.
Saguaro Neighborhood Park, 4183 Desert Willow Way, gives walkers a 1,300-footlong path,and Sunrise Optimist Park,20th Street and 45th Avenue, offers a 4/10 of a mile path.
One last thought,readers.Yuma County has a lot to offer for outdoor enthusiasts, a little something for everyone. If you are interested in biking trails, stop by the Yuma Sun offices and pick up a copy of our latest Biking Map.It features a variety of choices for people to get out on their bikes and enjoy our terrific sunshine!