Back in the day when cargo-laden steamboats chugged up and down the Colorado River, the Colorado River State Historic Park (formerly Yuma Quartermaster Depot) stood above it all on a bluff – ever prepared to unload, store, and distribute supplies sent from the California coast for 14 military posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. The depot stored six months’ worth of ammunition, clothing, and food throughout its working days in the mid to late 1800s.
Established in 1864, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Depot was a significant operation in the history of the Arizona Territory. Since the 1960s, portions of the depot site were obtained by the state from the federal government to eventually establish the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park. Five original depot buildings remain, with four containing exhibits covering both the military history and the Bureau of Reclamation’s construction of major irrigation works in the area during the early 1900s. The name of the park was changed to Colorado River State Historic Park in March 2007 to better reflect the original nature of the site.
The Yuma Visitors Bureau, located in the park’s Visitor Center, offers many free brochures and maps of the area. See a model of the depot as it was in 1872 as you browse the T-shirts, magnets, books, toys, and curios in the gift shop.
Visit the storehouse, where exhibits include an Army escort wagon with mules (don’t worry – they won’t bite; they’re just model mules), a section of the original plank road with a Model-T car, Steamboat Room explaining the history of steamboats on the Colorado River and antique wagons and farm vehicles. The Office of the Depot Quartermaster contains the quartermaster’s person workspace and a U.S. Signal Corps telegraph office.
To see how officers and their families lived while stationed at the depot in the 1870s, step into the Commanding Officers Quarters. The Corral House has exhibits on the Yuma Irrigation Project as well as historic photos and displays on Laguna Dam, the Yuma Main Canal and Colorado River Siphon.
The park grounds also include two group-use areas with picnic tables under a shade ramada (reservations required) and picnic tables throughout for visitors.
There are accommodations for every budget in Yuma, from more than 23,000 RV spots to nearly 4,000 hotel rooms. Overnight camping is permitted at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Open daily, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Visitor Center: Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
Adults (ages 14+): $4/day
Children (ages 7 – 13): $2/day
Children (6 and under): Free
201 N. Fourth Ave.
Yuma, AZ 85364