Squaw Lake Campground, CA • Car Camp Trip

Squaw Lake Campground, CA

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Trailhead Elevation 222 feet
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12  2018-03-06
Squaw Lake Loops
10  2015-02-14
Colorado River - Imperial Dam Loop
28  2014-02-16
Colorado River - Walter's Camp to Squaw Lake
14  2014-01-26
Squaw Lake Loop
author avatar Guides 27
Routes 479
Photos 5,590
Trips 840 map ( 6,015 miles )
Age 69 Female Gender
Location Needles CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:50am - 5:45pm
5 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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by azbackpackr

This is one of my favorite campgrounds on the Colorado River. It is managed by the Yuma BLM office. It is a wonderful place for a base camp if you want to do a lot of one-day paddle trips. It's also a good place to end a long trip if you started several days upriver. (The disadvantage to this is that you have to pay the regular camping fee to park your car there for several days.) If you have the federal Senior Pass it's half price. There is also a 6-month pass available. Check current rates.
The main part of the campground is usually taken up with RVs, although you can tent in any of those spaces. There are no hookups for the RVs, just a dump station near the camp host. I don't recommend you tent near the RVs due to the noise of generators running. It is much, much nicer to camp way out on the peninsula, which is closed to cars. The camp host has good wheelbarrows to carry your gear down there. Most kayakers will opt for the peninsula. It has its own restroom with hot showers. (The showers are operated by tokens. You can get tokens using one-dollar bills in a token machine near the main parking lot.)

The peninsula sticks out into the lake, and all the campsites are by the water. You will be able to put your kayaks or canoes in camp right by where you will be launching them. You can either carry or wheel them down onto the peninsula, or you can launch them at the nearby boat ramp and paddle over to your campsite, and pull them onto shore there.

After paying your fee, drive down and park your vehicle as close to the peninsula as you can find a spot. Walk up to the host's RV and pick up a wheelbarrow. Carrying something to hold your spot, walk down and around the borders of the peninsula and pick out your site. Then come back and load your wheelbarrow, and take it down to your site.

Campfires are allowed, but of course, you need to bring wood.

Make sure all your food and your trash bag are secured at night, and when you go paddling. There are many raccoons in the area. To secure your food in a cooler, wrap a cam strap or rope around it, or a ratcheting bicycle cable lock. Do not have any food in your tent at any time. Don't hang your garbage bag from a tree, they will get to it, even if it is way out on the slimmest possible branch! Yes, I know this from experience! They are very rascally buggers, but they won't hurt you. If you do not have a secure box or cooler that you can lock or strap closed, then take all your food back to the car at night. You can also store your food in your boat hatches if you have really tight ones. I keep all my dry food in my hatches and have not had raccoon trouble. However, I've heard that in other parts of the country raccoons are known to chew on boat hatches.

There are many kayaking loops you can take from here, or you can easily cartop your boats over to the Old River Channel launch ramp just north of Laguna Dam. There is also a small network of trails nearby, easy to find, just to the north of the campground, which gives amazing views of the surrounding area, the backwater channels of the lower Colorado River, and Senator Wash Reservoir. Needless to say, fishing is also very popular here. The campground has a swimming beach if you happen to be there in the summer or fall when the water is warm. Summers here are extremely hot, but still very busy with RVers and motorized water sports enthusiasts. Late fall through early spring is the best season for paddlers, however.

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2018-03-10 azbackpackr
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

     Permit $$
    Special Use

    BLM Fee

    Paved - Car Okay

    To car camp trip
    From Phoenix, take I-10 west about 130 miles to Quartzsite, Arizona. Turn south on US 95 and drive about 59 miles to Imperial Dam Road. You can't miss it because there are big old artillery guns set up there. It is also the road to the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds. Travel on Imperial Dam Road 7.2 miles. Then turn right onto Senator Wash Road. (You are now in California). Go 3.4 miles on Senator Wash Road until it dead-ends at Squaw Lake Campground. There are numerous helpful road signs along the way.
    page created by Al_HikesAZ on Mar 10 2018 7:41 am

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