Friday, November 6, 2015

Buckskin Mountain State Park, 11/02/2015

Located about 26 miles south of Lake Havasu City on Rte 95, Buckskin Mountain State Park is situated on an 18-mile stretch of the Colorado River between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam near Parker, AZ. It is a beautiful area where mountains line the river on both the Arizona and California sides. 

The park has a campground, cabana sites, a beach, hiking trails, a picnic area, a boat ramp, basketball and volleyball courts, and a playground. There is also a restaurant, arcade, and market in the park. 

Our first stop was the Buckskin Center and Gift Shop to pick up information about the hiking trails here.

This area is on the border of the Mojave Desert to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south. The Cactus Garden located near the Buckskin Center has plants from both deserts. 

There is a desert tortoise habitat in the garden as well. Unfortunately, we did not get to see him. This is the second tortoise habitat we have seen in the last week and both times the tortoise was hanging out in his private cave-like structure. Some fun facts about these amazing animals:
  • Can survive where the ground temperature exceeds 140 degrees F;
  • Survived for the last 15-20 million years;
  • Lifespan is 50 to 80 years;
  • Adults can go a year without water; and
  • Spend 95% of their lives in borrows or shelter and are most active after seasonal rains. 
  • Have survived for the last 15-20 million years;
The ranger told us that their tortoise (Bucky) is getting ready to hibernate. 

The trail head to all of the hiking trails in the park are behind the entry station. 

The trail is initially a steep climb providing a great view of the park and the Colorado River.

The Buckskin Trail (1 mile loop) is accessed from the Lightning Bolt Trail and is well marked. It winds down to a concrete pedestrian footbridge that crosses Highway 95 (very convenient). The footbridge can be seen in the photo below. 

Views from the scenic overlooks after crossing Highway 95. 

Our doggy, Sadie, had a great time sniffing everything in sight. Mostly, she finds lizards. 

The Buckskin Mountains are in the Sonoran Desert so there are saguaros, creosote bushes, palo verde trees, fish hook cactus, prickly pear and the like. There are various short spur trails that lead to overlooks where benches have been installed along the loop trail. 

We continued on the Buckskin Trail to the Lightning Bold Trail (.5 mile round trip). This steep and winding trail provides a fabulous view of the Colorado River and the campground. 

After hiking we enjoyed a picnic lunch near the beach area. 

I wandered down to the beach area (dogs not permitted). The water was clear and cool. Lots of boats and personal watercraft were on the river. 

What a beautiful park! There is another trail, Interruption Point Trail, that can be accessed from the Buckskin Trail (1-mile trail to a scenic overlook and an additional .5 mile trail to several abandoned mines). We may return to this park for this trail while we are here in Lake Havasu City. The trails are well marked and maintained. 

Admission to the park for day use is $10/day. We purchased an annual pass for the Arizona State Parks ($75), so our admission was covered. For more information about this state park, check out their website.


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