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Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, AZ

Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
197 22 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 459 feet
Avg Time One Way 6
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
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7  2020-03-30
Looking for Lost Lake
11  2019-03-05
Bill Williams River & Lake Havasu Kayak Camp
3  2018-10-22
Upriver Paddle
1  2018-10-20 azbackpackr
8  2018-03-19
Topock Gorge - Upper
6  2018-01-20
Dead Burro Canyon
9  2018-01-03
Topock Marsh - Five Mile Landing
3  2018-01-01 azbackpackr
Page 1,  2,  3
Author azbackpackr
author avatar Guides 27
Routes 438
Photos 5,310
Trips 797 map ( 5,743 miles )
Age 68 Female Gender
Location Flagstaff AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:48am - 7:39pm
Official Route
15 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2016 Topock Fire21.8 mi*

Whatever floats your boat!
by azbackpackr

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This wildlife refuge offers opportunities for kayaking Topock Marsh, Topock Gorge, and the upper end (north end) of Lake Havasu. Mountain biking is possible on the portage roads. It's a prime area for birders since it is part of the migratory bird flyway and is a year-round home for many water birds. There is hiking in the refuge's wilderness area as well, but there are no established trails.

The most popular route for kayakers is Topock Gorge, a spectacular section of the Colorado River between the Interstate 40 bridge and Lake Havasu. For beginning kayakers and bird watchers, Topock Marsh is the place to go.

Kayakers and canoeists need to be aware that motorboats may also be on the water.

Mountain bikers need to stay on the levee roads.

No camping is permitted ANYWHERE on the refuge. No overnight backpacking, no overnight kayaking, no car camping, no RV camping, etc.

Several Kayak shuttle services are available in the area. Companies such as Desert River Kayak Outfitters and Jerkwater Canoe Company will provide this service and rental boats. Due to the strong river current, a shuttle is necessary to do Topock Gorge. A shuttle is not required to kayak in the calm waters of Topock Marsh.

A couple of good maps are available. One excellent map, "Lake Havasu", is published by Fish N Map Company. Another pretty good one can be downloaded and printed for free from this website: [ 2021 deadline removed, view archived on HAZ ] These maps both also include river and lake sections between Davis Dam (Bullhead City, Arizona) and Parker Dam (Lake Havasu).

NO FEES are charged to enter the refuge.


  1. Refuge website:

  2. Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for both Havasu and Bill Williams River Refuges:

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your kayak trip to support this local community.

2014-12-07 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 $$
    Please carry your own pack. The pack animals have been seriously abused.

    All permits reported taken for the entire year within hours of becoming available on Feb 1st. The old walk-in policy of paying double is no longer honored.

    Pricing for 2018 is as follows and includes all necessary permits, fees, and taxes:
    One Person, 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56
    One Person, 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.11
    One Person, 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67

    Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Holiday weekday nights (February 19, May 28, July 4, September 3, October 8), and Spring Break weekday nights (March 5-8 and 19-22) are an additional $18.33 per night.

    2019 Campground Reservation Pricing

    ALL campground reservations are 3 Nights / 4 Days.

    $100 per person per weekday night
    $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)

    These prices include all necessary permits, fees, and taxes.

    This means that a 3 Night / 4 Day stay will be a total of between $300 and $375 per person (depending upon how many weekend nights are included).

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To kayak trip
    From Phoenix
    Take Grand Avenue west to 60 West to 93 North to I-40 West to Exit 1, Topock. Turn right on Oatman-Topock Highway. Follow signs to Catfish Paradise (for Topock Marsh). For Topock Gorge, your canoeing outfitter will give you precise instructions.
    page created by azbackpackr on Dec 07 2014 8:25 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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