Patria Flats Day Use Area
La Paz County Park
You'll have lots of room to roam here, as the park (eight miles north of Parker at 7350 Riverside Dr., 928/667-2069) stretches one mile along the Colorado River. Facilities include tent and RV camping with showers, picnicking, swimming beach, boat ramp, playground, tennis, volleyball, softball, basketball, horseshoes, recreation hall, putting green, and dump station. Campers will always find space in the dry area, but hookup sites fill early during summer weekends and October-March.
Fees run $2/person (12 years and over) for day use,
$10/vehicle dry camping,
$16/vehicle dry camping with a Ramada,
$20 for an RV site with hookups.
Only group campgrounds can be reserved.
The 18-hole Emerald Canyon Golf Course (928/667-3366) lies across the road.
This riverside park makes a fine place for a picnic with shaded tables, restrooms, and boat launch; free. It's on the Parker Strip 6.7 miles north of Parker. River View Day Use Area, a half-mile south, is a small area used by anglers
Buckskin Mountain State Park
This scenic park (11 miles north of Parker off AZ 95, 928/667-3231) sits on a bend in the river backed by low cliffs. Trees provide welcome shade in summer. Visitors enjoy use of the campground, picnic area, swimming beach, boat ramp, playground, volleyball court, basketball court, horseshoe pit, shuffleboard, and hiking trails.
Day use costs $8, but hikers pay only $2/person for trailhead parking.
Campsites go for $20 with showers and water and electric hookups;
Some sites include sewer hookups for $23.
A dump station is available too.
Cabana sites by the river have a covered table and electric hookups only, $22.
All camping is first come, first served; arrive early on summer weekends and Jan.-March.
You can join interpretive programs and hikes Jan.-April and full moon hikes in summer. An interpretive garden near the ranger station identifies plants of the desert; old mining relics lie nearby. A concession (928/667-3210) runs a café, store, gas dock, and inner-tube sales/rental; it's closed in winter.The one-third-mile-roundtrip Lightning Bolt Trail climbs to an overlook from near the ranger station. Also start here for the interpretive Buckskin Trail that follows a bridge over the highway, then winds into scenic hills on a one-mile loop; a spur trail halfway leads half a mile farther into the hills to some mines; another trail branches off the mine trail and follows a ridge to an overlook at Interruption Point, adding about a mile roundtrip.
River Island State Park
This smaller unit (1.5 miles north of Buckskin Mountain State Park on AZ 95, 928/667-3386) offers picnicking, camping, a swimming beach, boat ramp, horseshoe pit, hiking, a reservable group ramada, and an amphitheater. Wedge Hill Trail climbs to an overlook in about half a mile round trip; a trail leaflet tells of wildlife habitats. Interpretive programs run some days Jan.-April.
Day use costs $8.
Campsites cost $20 … include water and electric hookups and showers.
Try to arrive early for summer weekends and during January-March.
River Island Market (one-half mile south of the park, 928/667-2448) offers supplies and tube rentals year-round.
Alamo Lake State Park
This remote desert lake lies on the Bill Williams River at an elevation of 1,200 feet. When Alamo Lake began to fill in the mid-'60s, the flooded cottonwood, mesquite, and paloverde trees became homes for bluegill, sunfish, and tilapia. Hungry largemouth bass and channel catfish then fed on the small fish.
The park (928/669-2088) provides picnic tables, campgrounds with showers and hookups, a group reservation area, boat ramp, and a dump station; costs per vehicle run $5 day use, $10 undeveloped camping sites (chemical toilets), $12 no hookups, and $19-22 with hookups. January to early May is the busiest time with autumn the next most popular, but the park always has room; groups can reserve a camping area. Fishing draws the most visitors. You can also hike or go birdwatching in the surrounding desert, though there are no designated trails; the ranger station has a birdlist.
To get here, drive to Wenden on US 60 (60 miles southeast of Parker and 108 miles northwest of Phoenix), then turn 35 miles north on a paved road at the sign for the park. You'll first come to Cholla Road in the park; turn right for a choice of undeveloped and hookup sites, fish-cleaning station, and paved boat ramp; this area offers closest access to the upper lake and is less likely to be crowded. Continue 1.5 miles on the main road to the ranger station; turn right for the ramada area, developed campgrounds, fish-cleaning station, and paved boat ramp. Or continue straight 1.3 miles at the ranger station to Bill Williams Overlook near the dam for a great overview of the lake and surrounding desert.
Nearby Wayside Inn (928/925-3456) offers an RV park ($9.50 dry, $18 w/hookups), a smoky bar/café, a tiny store, and a gas pump. It's about three miles off the road to Alamo Lake State Park and about 4.5 miles from the lake itself. Unpaved Alamo/Tres Alamo Road connects Wayside Inn with US 93 (between Mileposts 178 and 179), but you'll need a high-clearance vehicle for the bumpy 30 miles.