Wildlife Watching and Nature Trails
What makes this refuge so amazing is that it harbors a river that is functioning as it should – wild and choosing its own path. It shifts on the landscape the way a river is meant to and the route it chooses is seldom obvious. As such, the refuge’s trails can be difficult to maintain. Please be aware that maps do not always accurately reflect the current state of the trails.
In addition to these trails, visitors are welcome to explore the refuge on foot. Be sure to ask refuge staff for brochures that provide information on plants and animals, specifically the refuge’s amazing birding hotspots. Peninsula Trail (3/4 mile)
: This is one of two trails near the refuge’s headquarters. The first ¼ mile is paved and leads to an accessible fishing dock. The trail includes interpretive and educational signage that will teach you about the wildlife and habitat found on the refuge. Several park benches along the trail offer visitors an opportunity to sit, listen and enjoy. After the first ¼ mile, the trail is unpaved and goes for another 1/2 mile (unpaved). Here you can see great view of the Bill Williams River delta. This is also an excellent location for wildlife watching, especially birds. To add to your adventure, this trail is linked to the State of Arizona’s Oasis Desert Quest
. Delta Loop Trail (half mile)
: This nature trail is not paved but it follows along the shoreline of the Bill Williams River delta and hills offering excellent views along the way. This trail also leads to a boat launch area used by canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts.Auto Tour Loop
This 3.5 mile auto tour route is off of Highway 95 on the refuge just north of the headquarters. Turn on Planet Ranch Road, which parallels the Bill Williams River and prepare for a rough ride (high-clearance vehicles recommended) and exceptional views, including one of the last flood-regenerated forest found on the lower Colorado River. You can also hike the washed-out portion of the road for a close-up look at the river’s forest and the abundant wildlife community. Check with refuge staff for water conditions and remember to be careful and smart. Always carry plenty of water when hiking the refuge, even in the winter.
The Bill Williams River delta area, including much of the cattail marsh, can be viewed from several turnouts off Arizona Highway 95. Parking is available at the 3.5 mile marker on the old Planet Ranch road. Hunting
Hunting for dove (mourning, white-winged), Gambel’s quail and cottontail rabbit is offered on the refuge and permitted south of the Planet Ranch Road. Only shotguns are permitted for hunting dove, Gambel's quail, and cottontail rabbit on designated areas of the refuge. In the field, hunters using a shotgun shall possess and use only nontoxic shot. Hunting for cottontail rabbits is during the dates coinciding with quail season. For your safety and enjoyment, please be familiar with the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s regulations at www.azgfd.gov
Fishing for striped, largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill and other fish is permitted on Lake Havasu. Lighted shoreline fishing facilities on the refuge are available for use 24 hours a day. Please use catch-and-release techniques with any native fish captured and report your catch to refuge personnel.
Boating is permitted only at No Wake Speed
. Water skiing and personal watercraft are prohibited. For your safety and enjoyment, please be familiar with the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s regulations at www.azgfd.gov
Refuge visitors can launch canoes and kayaks at the non-motorized boat ramp located at the refuge visitor center near the river delta. Take in the dramatic scenery and wildlife while enjoying a 2.5 mile paddle on the Bill Williams River.