Colorado River Nature Center and Wildlife Area
The Colorado River Nature Center (CRNC) is a 500-acre facility located within the city limits of Bullhead City, AZ. This property is part of a Cooperative Management Agreement between the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Bullhead City (City), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The CRNC is intended to provide a natural environment for low impact recreation uses. The CRNC include recreational amenities such as beach access to the Colorado River, a trail system, interpretive signage, shade ramadas, benches, viewing decks, and boardwalks for the public’s enjoyment. Rio Lomas beach which is located on the CRNC is used heavily in the summer months for cooling off in the high desert temperatures. Hiking and fishing are other popular activities.
Recreational Opportunities – Day Use Only
Camping: Overnight public camping is prohibited.
Fishing: Open to all fishing as permitted under R12-4-207 and R12-4-301.
Hunting: Closed to all hunting and discharging of firearms.
Hiking: Various hiking trails exist on the Nature Center. Two main kiosk parking areas are located next to the main entrance road with over eight hiking trails to choose from. The parking lot has a paved educational trail that goes around the backwater ponds at the Nature Center. This paved trail has educational signs describing the local wildlife, sitting benches for casual strolls, and a covered picnic ramada with picnic tables for family outings.
- Watch for venomous snakes along the trails; the area is well known for having diamondback rattlesnakes seeking shade under shrubs and in vegetation during the hot summer months. Keep dogs on a leash for their own protection.
- Temperatures vary from 20°F in December and January, to 118°F in June through August. Summer minimums are between 60-80°F. Winter maximums are in the mid-60s.
- No open fires
- No firewood cutting or gathering
- Motorized vehicle travel is not permitted. This subsection does not apply to Department authorized vehicles or law enforcement, fire department, or other emergency vehicles
- All dogs must remain on leash (City Ordinance)
Wildlife of the area is primarily limited to desert species like the coyote, bobcat, desert cottontail, Black-tailed jackrabbit, desert woodrat, Merriam’s kangaroo rat and the Greater Roadrunner. The Colorado River is historically a travel corridor for many species of migratory birds, waterfowl and native songbirds. Species like the Great blue heron, the American avocet, and the American wigeon can be found utilizing the river system, while other birds like the red-winged blackbird and the western bluebird can be found in the backwater areas of the Nature Center.
Amphibians and Reptiles: Reptiles and amphibians documented include western diamond-backed rattlesnake, sidewinder, and the Mohave rattlesnake, gopher snake, short-horned lizard, red-spotted toad, zebra-tailed lizard, tiger whiptail and the common kingsnake can be seen at the Nature Center.
Birds: The Wildlife Area is utilized as a stopover/resting spot during the migratory bird season. Birds begin to arrive as early as March and continues through the summer months of June and July. Documented species include the bald eagle, belted kingfisher, red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, Curve-billed and crissal thrashers, Wilson’s warbler, American goldfinch, and multiple sparrow species.
Mammals: Big game species are very rare. The habitat and harsh conditions are limiting for these species. Mountain lion occupy the area and rugged side drainages. Common predators and furbearers that inhabit the area include striped skunk, badger, beaver, coyote, gray fox, and bobcat.
Fish: The two most popular fish caught in the Colorado River are striped bass and rainbow trout. Channel catfish, common carp, flannelmouth and razorback suckers can be caught on the river. Smallmouth, largemouth bass and green sunfish are also readily found throughout the river.
Plants and Vegetation: The vegetation on the CRNC consists of moderately dense stands of non-native salt cedar associated with honey mesquite and screwbean mesquite. Saltbush, quailbush and monotypic stands of arrowweed make up the understory. Vegetation of the upper bluff is characterized by widely spaced upland desert plants including creosote bush, white bursage, and ratany.
Directions: Take Route 95 south out of Bullhead City about seven miles, then turn west on Richardo Avenue and it leads directly into the Nature Center.