September 2007

By Jet Boat Or By Sternwheeler

Yuma River Tours Plies The Mighty Colorado

What a trip! Either by jet-boat tour or by sternwheeler, join Yuma River Tours on a magnificent Colorado River excursion not to be soon forgotten.

Their standard tours combine the beautiful scenery, the rich history of the lower Colorado river, and the wildlife found in and near the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge, a natural flyway to thousands of migratory birds, is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, burros, and deer.

Along the riverbanks there is an abundance of history such as Indian petroglyphs dating back thousands of years, pioneer cabins abandoned a century ago, steamboat landings, and old mining towns. These historic sites, still accessible only by river, make a spectacular living museum.

The majestic beauty of this area coupled with the wildlife and rich history total a combination that can't be beat. The old mining and pioneer days may have passed, but the history of the Colorado River is being brought to life each day through the eyes of the captains in their modern jet boats or, of course, the sternwheelers.

There are several jet-boat tours from which to choose: Norton’s Landing Trip, Draper Deluxe Day Trip, and special three-hour trips tailored around the wishes of individual groups. YRT captains are experienced and know the best backwater channels for bird viewing and photo opportunities.

 A little more laid-back are the sternwheeler cruises. They begin as the captain and crew welcome you aboard Colorado King. Seating is available on the open-air upper deck or the main deck's enclosed area that features a small snack bar and restroom.

As guests freely walk around this one-of-a-kind paddleboat, the captain begins his narration, which includes points of interest, a fascinating history of the Colorado and the stories about riverboats and their captains who once navigated the untamed Colorado River over a century ago.

Covered in news stories across the Desert Southwest, the King and her cruise are one of a kind. The Colorado King Sternwheeler is 57 feet long, 18 feet wide and weighs 15 tons, yet draws only 12 inches of water when fully loaded.

 It is powered with a turbo-charged 185 horsepower John Deere diesel, rated at 212 horsepower. Its adjustable paddles, that move up and down, control Colorado King's steering system, with its variable independent paddle speed control, making the King the only one of its kind in the world.

As the jet-boat tours, there are options for sternwheeler guests as well: a day cruise, a sunset dinner cruise, and custom charters.

Reservations are required, and more information is available by calling (928) 783-4400.