Bill Williams River

(nr Parker Dam AZ)
The Visitor Center for Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge is not visible from the highway. It is easy to miss; which I did before finally getting there. The small building had ample displays providing info about the refuge and a helpful ranger made good suggestions about what to do.

Mountains, marsh

Bill Williams River NWR

I started with the Delta Loop trail, which went along the shore toward the river, and had spots marked to match a handout describing the plants or features. Along the way was a pond, a shell beach, a hillside with cacti, and a high viewpoint overlooking the delta.

Bird, lake, delta

Heron by the lake

Mountains, delta marsh

Bill Williams Delta

To the west was the southern end of Lake Havasu with the Whipple Mountains and Wilderness beyond. Eastward was the Bill Williams River basin stretching for ten miles. I moved Tardis to a scenic pullout across from the entry to Planet Ranch Rd, which parallels the river, and was suitable for high clearance vehicles only. Or, so I was told.

Lake and mountains

Lake Havasu & Whipple Mountains

Slot canyon cliff

Hole in Slot Wall

I walked in, on the gravel road, for 1 1/2 miles and passed only two spots that were a bit rough. Tardis probably could have made it. The walk up and down the hills did me good and wasn’t difficult. There were several draws along the side, heading into the mountains, that looked like good hiking possibilities. The goal was to see a small slot canyon just off the road.

Saguaro cactus and cliff

Looking back toward the slot

Saguaro cactus, and rock shape

Clearing outside of slot

The slot was very short and soon opened onto a pretty clearing once through it. Red rock formations, saguaro, cholla, and palo verde trees made for some beautiful photos. The shade in the canyon was a nice respite from the warm sun too. It was worth the hike. The road continues to a parking area, with trails extending into the refuge.

RV, palm, river

Tardis at La Paz County Park

River, palm, sunset

Colorado River Sunset

Most dump stations in the area were charging $15, and fresh water costing an additional $10. La Paz Campground provided the dump and a primo spot backed up to the Colorado River for $16. I was warned not to get water there though. Since I still had 35 gallons on board that was OK.

Camp: La Paz County Park Campground
Scene: Mountain, lake, slot canyon

4 Responses to Bill Williams River

  1. Dorothy January 25, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    Now I’m really jealous! Gorgeous place & photos. The hole in slot certainly is a great sight to see.

    • Pleinguy January 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

      The hole was a nice surprise. And, I was really impressed by the clearing after the slot.

  2. Ted January 25, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Yeah, it sometimes makes more sense to pay for a campground site with amenities included rather than pay for waste dump, trash disposal, and water separately.

    • Pleinguy January 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

      I was surprised at how much those in the area were charging for a dump only. Normally I could find a cheap or free one.

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