Lake Havasu Tourist Guide

Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge

Canoeing at the Bill Williams River National Refuges Canoeing at the Refuge Creative Commons

Lake Havasu City is one of the premier tourist destinations in the entire state of Arizona. Most well-known for its reconstruction of the original London Bridge, many visitors also enjoy relaxing in the hot desert sun, taking part in a variety of watersports, or playing a round or two at one of the area’s many fantastic golf courses.

An attraction that many visitors to Lake Havasu City choose to pass up is the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge, but not because it is lacking in something. Rather, it’s because not many visitors actually know about it. If they did, then there is no doubt that more people would travel there to take in the stunning natural beauty of the place.

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is situated in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Soaring rock cliffs, shimmering streams, and cattail-filled marshes are mixed into the gaping and sometimes barren desert landscape. It’s one of the best places for nature lovers to hike in Arizona. In addition, many people enjoy casting a line and enjoying a day of fishing at the river.

The wildlife refuge also provides the ideal habitat for several unique species of animals and a part-time home for many migratory birds. The animals that call the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge home include numerous birds, reptiles, and mammals. Several large species of mammals like bobcats, mule deer, gray foxes, beavers, and desert ring-tailed sheep live in the refuge and are fun to try to spot while visiting. If you’re a bird lover, then you should definitely bring a pair of binoculars along because the chance of seeing species like the southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, and western tanager make the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge a bird lover’s paradise.

The refuge isn’t just home to animals though. It is also filled with a number of species of plants. The most famous of these are the cottonwood trees that band together near the Colorado River. They form one of the last remaining groups of these trees in the United States. The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is actually the only area in the world where a visitor can stand and see a towering saguaro cactus, a cattail, and a cottonwood tree all together. This diverse array of plant life is one of the main reasons that so many different types of animals are able to live in the refuge together.

Many visitors will also enjoy roaming through the wildlife refuge and succumbing to the feeling of being in one of the last wild desert landscapes on earth. While taking a morning hike you feel so far away from the hustle and bustle that is Lake Havasu that it can be hard to believe you were there earlier in the day.

If you decide to visit the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge, then you should consider picking up a guidebook before making the trek down. A guidebook allows you to better observe and identify the variety of plants and animals that the refuge holds. It will also provide you with details regarding the history of the refuge including facts about the original Indians that inhabited the area, the first pioneers, wild western shootouts, and Bill Williams himself.

Speaking of that, Bill Williams was a mountain man who traveled, lived, trapped, and hunted in the area that now bears his name. He spent a lot of his time on the river which runs through the wildlife refuge. The river is also named after him. Bill had a very mysterious life and an even more mysterious death – no one knows where he is buried. It is fun to imagine what life must have been like for him alone in the desert before modern conveniences.

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is a truly remarkable place and it is definitely worth at least a day or two of your time during your visit to Lake Havasu City. Anyone from adventurers to nature lovers to people who just want a new experience are sure to appreciate its unique array of plants, animals, history, and breathtaking scenery.

How To Get There

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is only a short drive from Lake Havasu City. The best way to get there is on Arizona Highway 95. Head south from the city for about 25 miles and you will see the refuge headquarters between mileposts 160 and 161. They have useful information here including maps, guidebooks, and further driving directions.

More Information

Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
60911 Highway 95
Parker, AZ 85344

This page was last modified on 10 April 2012 at 12:16
Lake Havasu City Arizona