Colorado River Jewels

The River Is Priceless To The Desert Southwest

Compiled By Carol L. Allen

With Contributions From InvertSports And Mary E. Young: Arizona Waterways

Somewhere along the massive Colorado River you will find what you want — from the relatively safe and sane tube floating to the crazed rush of a whitewater adventure to the thrill of catching The Big One.

This behemoth of a river sketches the western border of Arizona and has carved out the Grand Canyon over many millennia. The Colorado stretches over 1,400 miles in length and touches five states in the southwestern United States.

The seasons change the river, which is navigable all year, but in spring, there are potentially dangerous conditions for the neophyte as the spring melt swells and churns the river with its fast flows.

Rafting the Mighty Colorado is a perennial favorite adventure, but it is really for the experienced, and permits are required. Amateurs should consider taking such a trip with a commercial outfitter.

Lee’s Ferry: The Rapids Start Here

Rapids on the Colorado generally begin at Lee’s Ferry, a destination known not only for its excellent flyfishing, but also for some spin casting. Catch and release is the rule here, and both rainbow and brown trout are plentiful.

Once south of the Grand Canyon, there is a personality change; The Colorado calms and offers many miles of boating opportunities — of almost all genres.

Lake Powell: The Ultimate

princessPhoto Credit Allison & Partners

Considered by many to be the ultimate water sports, fishing, boating, and hiking vacation. Lake Powell is one lake that almost everyone must visit.

Known also as Glen Canyon, it is 186 miles long with a shoreline of 1,986 miles. The crystal-clear water and red sand stone rock make it the perfect place for all your outdoor activities. Lake Powell has countless canyons to explore, and you can fine smooth water to wakeboard, wake skate, wake surf, kneeboard, tube, air chair, water ski and more.

Whether you decide to camp on the sandy beaches, or cruise in the comfort of a houseboat, Invert Sports will be there to make sure you catch the ride of you life at Lake Powell. They also offer jet skis, wave runners, tours, and water trampolines for rent at Lake Powell. See their vacation package about Lake Powell at http://www.invertsports.com.

Lake Mead: Long, Hot Season

Hoover Dam Lake MeadPhoto Credit Allison & Partners

Formed by Hoover Dam to generate electricity, this lake provides all you could ever ask for in convenience and water activities

If you like a long, hot boating season, this is the place to come. Lake Mead is know for its size where fishers, boaters, swimmers, hikers and sightseers can come to enjoy this fresh water lake. Lake Mead offers houseboats, and camping areas for any size group.

Only 40 minutes away from Las Vegas, this is a fun place to come and experience Lake Mead with Invert Sports, where the weather is hot almost all year round. We offer a vacation package with all the water toys at this lake; visit our vacation page for more info (http://www.invertsports.com.

Lake Mohave: Activities For All

Lake Mohave 1Photo Credit Allison & Partners

South of Lake Mead but part of the Lake Mead Recreational Park is Lake Mohave. Only four miles wide, it boasts 67 miles in length. That’s plenty of room for virtually any outdoor activity: boating, jet skiing, wave running, swimming, water skiing, camping, and great photography.

Fishing too? Yes! Especially at the lower end of the lake the largemouth and striped bass await. However, they’re not to be outdone by crappie, bluegills, and catfish — all Lake Mohavees.

Amenities are at Katherine’s Landing and Willow Beach, and Cottonwood Cove, a family resort, offers houseboat and deck-cruiser rentals. A plus: Laughlin’s casinos are about an hour’s drive from here.

Lake Havasu: Imagine The Possibilities

Lake Havasu CityPhoto Credit Allison & Partners

This lake is 45 miles long; just imagine the possibilities of getting your own place on the lake to throw down your favorite wakeboard tricks, first shove-it on the wake skate, or 360 on the wakesurf. Lake Havasu offers all the amenities for a great vacation including boating, fishing, camping, hiking and more. Contact Invert Sports to outfit you next trip to Lake Havasu (http://www.invertsports.com), and check out the article by Margie Anderson on page one of the May-June issue of Arizona Boating & Watersports.

Parker Strip: Year-Round Watersports And More

Tube20084Photo Credit Allison & Partners

About midway on the Colorado is the all-encompassing destination known as The Parker Strip. Special events dot the calendar annually: the Eduro Speedboat Race in May, an annual Innertube River Float in June, Fourth of July Fireworks, and a holiday lighted boat parade in December.

The Colorado’s personality is mellow here at Parker (population 3,000 and elevation 450 feet). Tubing, water skiing and jet skiing are favorite pastimes. A great place to picnic, camp, and launch a boat is River Island State Park, to say nothing about Buckskin Campgrounds just 12 miles north of Parker.

At Buckskin, there are cabanas, amenities, a boat ramp, and more.

And, There’s Yuma Too:

0609BF2.JPGPhoto Credit Allison & Partners

Right near the mouth of the Colorado, a favorite autumn-plus activity is Yuma River Tours, which offers sternwheeler cruises, jet boat tours, canoe and kayak adventures, and personalized excursions. Visit their Web site for more information: www.yumarivertours.com or call (928) 783-4400.

Don’t Forget Martinez Lake

Martinez LakePhoto Credit Allison & Partners

Not far from Yuma is the little lake that began as a fishing camp in 1955 and grew to be a favorite of many boaters, anglers, and water skiers. Just north of the lake is the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge — 55,000 acres that span both banks of the Colorado River for 35 miles. Sightseeing boat trips are scheduled through the aforementioned Yuma River Tours: (928) 783-4400.

So, what about the fishing? It’s definitely here — bigmouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, tilapia, and striped bass.

And, watersports? Yep, those too: water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, pontoon and aluminum boating.

And, for landlubbers: RV hookups, waterfront houses, trailers, cabins, a cantina and a restaurant. They’re all here at Martinez as well as a convenience store for everything boaters and anglers and picnickers need.

P.S. Mittry Lake Can’t Be Overlooked

Mittry LakePhoto Credit Allison & Partners

In the May-June issue of Arizona Boating & Watersports Margie Anderson filled us in on the virtues of little Mittry. As she mentioned, this lake is primarily a wildlife preservation area, which makes it excellent for fishing hiking, boating, and later in the fall, hunting.

There is a boat launch ramp and no limit on boat size at Mittry, the little gem not far from Yuma.

The Colorado: No Less Than Priceless

So, from the roaring fury of its beginning to the mellow wandering at its end, the Colorado River seems to me like a precious piece of jewelry — with gems of outdoor recreational activity scattered along its length.

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