For the adventurous boater, Topock Gorge a good one-day trip

While the Havasu National Wildlife refuge protects 30 miles of the Colorado River, 20 remarkable miles of that flow through one of the few natural stretches remaining of the lower Colorado: Topock Gorge. Exploring it is a wonderful one-day adventure if you have boating skills.

The gorge has high rocky cliffs on both sides with interesting formations, including many natural arches. This stretch of the river is a native riparian area with Fremont cottonwood and Gooding’s willow and mesquite, which support a variety of wildlife. It is especially a birders’ paradise, with more than 300 species either making homes here or using it regularly when when migrating.

The wildlife viewing possibilities are endless. You will have the opportunity to see Western and Clark’s grebes, summer tanager and yellow-billed cuckoo. Larger birds include great blue herons, peregrine falcons and an abundance of Canada geese, ducks and other waterfowl. Other wildlife in the gorge includes desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, javelinas, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions.

Established in 1941, primarily as a migratory bird habitat, the refuge includes 37,515 acres in California and Arizona. All of it lies within the Pacific Flyway, and it is considered an Important Bird Area in Arizona.

To visit Topock Gorge, you’ll need to take a boat upstream from the Lake Havasu area or downstream from the Topock Gorge Marina. The Gorge is considered a Class I section of the Colorado, meaning it has flat water with a light current and no rapids.

My favorite trip through the gorge has been a one-way downstream kayak trip, starting at the Topock Gorge Marina under the Interstate 40 bridge over the Colorado River, then paddling and drifting down to the Castle Rock area. Besides the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, the 15-mile trip also takes you through the Needles Wilderness Area.

Be warned, though. This trip is very remote. No roads access the river between your starting point and the place you’ll take your kayak out of the water, so you’ll need to be a confident and self-sufficient kayaker.

The lack of alternative take-out points makes it especially important when planning your trip, so pay careful attention to weather conditions and forecasts, because high winds can ruin your adventure. If blowing up the river, they can make it very difficult and slow to paddle those 15 miles. With good weather, and allowing time to stop a few times for exploration, the trip downriver will take about five to seven hours.

The first and most popular take-out point (or your put-in point if you want to go upstream into the gorge and return the way you came) is at Castle Rock, at River Mile 220. The parking area is found off Vista Drive in the community of Crystal Bay, just a couple of miles north of Lake Havasu City. From the parking area to the river is about 100 yards, so you’ll need to portage your kayak or canoe. The Castle Rock Bay area is closed to personal watercraft and is a no-wake zone.

You can take two vehicles, leave one at the takeout point, and shuttle yourself and your vessels to the launching area at Topock Marina. Or you can use a guide service. Desert River Outfitters, out of Bullhead City, Ariz., offers a shuttle service that will pick you and your kayak/canoe up at your planned take-out point in the morning and bring you to the Topock Gorge Marina. Then you’ll be on your own to cruise downriver, at your own chosen speed, to the place you left your vehicle. The company also offers a complete package of shuttle, kayak and gear, for $55 per person. For more information, call 888-529-2533 or visit desertriveroutfitters.com.

Deborah Wall is the author of “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide” and “Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States,” published by Stephens Press. She can be reached at deborabus@aol.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like