Buckskin Mountain State Park

Make a splash at this riverside state park near Parker, Arizona.

The Colorado River, which forms the border between Arizona and California, bends around this state park on Arizona’s west coast. Craggy desert mountains and canyons surround the park, but the star of the show is the ribbon of blue-green water that flows through the center of it all. Many visitors enjoy the day-use area, where they launch watercrafts, swim along the river’s shore and enjoy riverside picnics. Others stay the night at one of 80 campsites in the remote area, complete with restrooms, showers and electric hookups for RVs.

Hike the Trails

A network of hiking trails in the park lead to viewpoints above the river or venture out into the surrounding desert landscape. Start on the Lightning Bolt Trail, a steep, half-mile round trip that leads to photo-worthy river views. From Lightning Bolt, extend the hike on the 1-mile Buckskin Loop that brings awesome rock formations into view. Or commit to the Buckskin Trail at just under 7 miles that includes abandoned mine shafts and rugged backcountry terrain. Most visitors plan the longer, more technical hikes in the cooler months and focus all activity on the water when the area heats up in summer months.

Play in the Water

With an elevation of just over 400 feet, this area of Arizona’s west coast is arid and hot. Water lovers know the Parker Strip as the 18-mile stretch of the Colorado River between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam. Buckskin Mountain State Park falls within the strip and welcomes all types of motorized and people-powered watercrafts to recreate on the Colorado River. Outfitters in Parker rent boats and all the gear visitors need for a fun day on the river. Anglers have good luck casting from the shore, where bass and catfish often gather near aquatic plants on the shoreline and around boat docks. Or simply sit under a shade tree on the water’s edge and watch lizards scurry across the desert and hawks soar above the river.

Make a Cultural Connection

The Colorado River Indian Reservation was established for the Mohave and Chemehuevi people who lived along the Colorado River for hundreds of years before settlers arrived. In Parker, visit the CRIT Museum, which preserves Colorado River Indian Tribe artifacts and traditions. Check their calendar of events to see when tribal artisans are on-site creating traditional artworks.

For More Information

Buckskin Mountain State Park
5476 N. US Hwy. 95
Parker, AZ 85344
(928) 667-3231

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