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Adventure Seekers: Six Best Places in Yuma for Outdoor Recreation
Published on May 10, 2017

If you are looking to get the very most out of a trip to Arizona, you really ought to stop and experience Yuman Nature. Our location in the heart of the Sonoran Desert is more than just sand and tumbleweeds. The Yuma Valley and surrounding topography is host to rugged mountains for climbing, meandering waterways for rowing, and rolling dunes for imagining. Here's our list of the top outdoor adventures in and around Yuma ...


Go with the Flow — Yes, Yuma has water! Easy to overlook when cruising along the interstate, the Colorado River winds through Yuma after its 1,400-mile journey. Once mighty and treacherous, today's engineering has transformed the southern stretch of the river into a tranquil artery, satiating agricultural needs and community supply while providing locals and travelers a means to relax and recreate. Whether by canoe, kayak, boat, or float, the Colorado River is open for public use. For more information about boating in Arizona, visit the Arizona Game & Fish Department website. Need watercraft for rent? Check with Jet Rent Yuma, or Yuma Kayaks by phone at 928-503-0537. Prefer a guided tour and have a group of at least 10? Give City of Yuma Parks & Recreation a call at 928-373-5200. How about a cool float down? Yuma River Tubing can set you up!


Surf's Up! — Yes, Yuma has LOTS of water! In case you're looking for more adrenaline-filled recreation, there are several upstream lakes, reservoirs, and waterways fit for opening up the throttle and carving out wake. Nearby Fisher's Landing and Martinez Lake resorts provide docking and dining options in between sessions of fun on the water. Again, visit the Arizona Game & Fish Department website for more information about boating in The Grand Canyon State.


Leg Day — Looking for a challenge? Telegraph Pass in Yuma County's Gila Mountains certainly isn't Mt. Everest, but it does offer up one of Yuman Nature's tougher obstacles. In just about two miles, the frequented trail climbs more than 1,200 feet in elevation with some steep sections to overcome. At the very top sits your reward: a view upon vast desert vistas in all directions and a guest book to log your accomplishment. Remember: no matter the time of year, plan accordingly. An ample supply of water will help prevent dehydration.


Arm Day (and more) — For the expert-level climbers, Picacho State Recreation Area on the California side of the Colorado River is nature's metaphorical jungle gym. But, even if you're no climbing guru, the area is home to excellent fishing and camping. Day use fees apply, so visit the California Department of Parks & Recreation website for details.


A Land Far Far Away — Sticking to southeastern California, the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area is a site like few others on Earth. Doubling as a distant planet for the sarlacc scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the Dunes are mountainous waves of sand open to exploration on foot and with all-terrain vehicles. If you plan on using the latter, be sure to purchase the necessary permits. Information on requirements and vendors can be found online at While you're here, bust out the camera phone for a selfie as named this location as one of the best places to take a selfie before you die.


Go Wild in Yuma — Surrounding Yuma are 700,000 acres of protected National Wildlife Refuge lands, including the Kofa, Cibola, and Imperial refuges. At each, visitors can expect ample space for wildlife watching, spots for hunting, and off-roading on designated trails. In the majestic Kofa refuge, Arizona's only indigenous palm trees reside in a corner of a mountainside known as Palm Canyon. At Imperial, the desert floor turns to shoreline for the Colorado River. Here, keen birders will spot a variety of the nearly 400 species of birds which make Yuma their home throughout different part of the year. And in the Cibola refuge, the Colorado River's floodplain sprouts vegetation which protects and feeds various species of birds, as well.



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