RV Destinations – Colorado River

Colorado river
As I am writing this article there is snow on the ground and the thermometer is registering some silly temperature way below the freezing mark and to top it off there is about three feet of snow on the ground, brrrrrrrrrrrrr. It’s early January and for some RVer’s; time to head to warmer climates. Lynda (my wife) and I live in the northwest so the southwest is usually our RV destination at least for part of the winter and early spring.
Southern California or Arizona are our preferred destinations. The weather in this area reminds us of early summer in the northwest except the weather is better, sunshine every day, you gotta love it.
There are many areas to visit in the southwest, the Colorado River Basin is one of Lynda (my wife) and my favorites. A huge area that offers many RVing and camping opportunities.
The Colorado river flows from Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado through California and Arizona (it is actually the border between these two states), to Mexico and the sea of Cortez.
large irrigation canal
A typical irrigation canal in the southern desert
The river is the lifeblood of the west, for millions of years, natives, settlers, miners and many others have been drawn to its life-sustaining waters.
Today the Colorado River is more valuable than ever supplying agriculture irrigation through a network of aqueducts to crop fields hundreds of miles away.
As an RV destination, the Colorado River Basin from Lake Powell in the north to Yuma on the Mexican border provides an oasis of opportunities for a multitude of activities from camping, fishing, and boating to ATVing and hiking, to mention a few.
Traveling this area requires a detailed atlas, check out the map books |Lynda and I use available on Amazon.com 
A map book of California and Arizona are necessary to guide you through the Colorado River basin.
Lake powell
Powell Lake
The north is better suited for late spring and summer explorations while the south is perfect in the winter. Exploring the northern basin in the winter will put you into, frigid temperatures, and even snow.
The many dams along the Colorado have created many lakes and tributaries, providing a much needed green belt through the south.
Yuma RV
Yuma RV Park
Yuma…the sunniest place on earth.
We start our journey of the Colorado River Basin at the southern most point, Yuma, Arizona near the Mexican and California border. The Yuma area is documented as the sunniest place on earth and the warmest north of the Mexican border. It’s a winter RV destination for thousands of snowbirds, who spend a few weeks or the entire winter enjoying the desert sunshine and the company of other RVers.
Most snowbirds prefer to settle in an RV Resort while others prefer the less congested desert and the BLM  (Bureau of Land Management) government land areas. The dozens of RV resorts are the size small towns with all the amenities one could want, from swimming pools, and golf to pickleball and tennis. Most of the larger RV Resorts have enough clubs, classes, and entertainment to keep a retired couple busy all winter.
Mitry Lake
Mitry lake
Mitry Lake camping
10 to 30 miles north of Yuma are several RV boondocking areas on both sides of the river. The Arizona side features Mitry Lake. The spectacular lake shore offers free private dry camping sites 10 days per year.
Lynda and I have stayed here many times, not just because it’s free, but the setting is amazing as you can see from the picture above. Camping next to a lake or any body of water always adds an extra dimension to the quality of your experience.
Above the lake is another free random dry camping area, a quiet area next to a tree-lined irrigation canal with a scenic mountain backdrop.
Mitry lake and the canal are popular destinations for anglers. The several times we camped in this area provided me with opportunities to speak with several fishermen trying their luck.
The lake supports a healthy population of stripers, bass, and catfish, plus other less popular species.
A few miles north of Mitry Lake for those who are not into dry camping or boondocking is the Hidden Shores RV Resort on the Colorado river just north of the Imperial Dam. A large resort with full RV hook ups as well as park model rentals and a small marina for exploring the miles of rivers and lake.
Reserve your spot well in advance. In fact, if you’re planning on traveling south to an RV park make your reservations early, a year in advance is common.
Click here to check it out,  perfect inflatable 4 person boat to enjoy the lakes and reservoirs with great reviews, $120
Imperial Dam & Senator’s wash
Senators Wash reservoir, early morning
A few miles north of Mitry lake north of the Imperial Dam on the California side of the Colorado river is Squaw lake. Dry camping is available next to the lake, although it’s a paved campground with curbs to keep your rig from accidentally straying onto the gravel. There is a boat launch next to the campground, making it possible to fish or travel up the river.
A mile west of Squaw lake is Senator’s wash reservoir, dry camping on the shore is popular. Squaw Lake and Senator’s reservoir are fee-based on the same ticket. The $75 fee (2016) is good for a year and you may stay at one or the other for 14 days at a time.
A detailed map is vital for this area, we had trouble finding this area with our GPS. Check out this great soft cover atlas, click here to see my review.
LTVA (long-term visitor’s area)
Imperial dam ltva
Imperial Dam LTVA overlooking Squaw Lake
Up the hill from Senator’s wash reservoir is the Imperial Dam LTVA (Loneg Term visitors Area) This is a semi-organized random dry camping (boondocking) area with central RV dump, potable water, and trash. During the fall, winter and spring you will find hundreds if not thousands of boondockers homesteading in this large area.
This LTVA has a large social network including emergency CB radio monitoring as well as organized social events.
The fee here is minimal ($185. per season (2015), the fee includes the Quartzsite area and several other LTVA areas.
Click here to check other LTVA areas.
Martinez Lake
Martinez lake
Martinez Lake
Farther up the river on the Arizona side is this pretty lake with a private campground and a small settlement called Fishers Landing. This area offers a small RV Park under the trees along with a boat launch and marina providing access to miles of the slow moving Colorado River.
Why pay full price at RV parks check out Passport America, click the link below to join and save 50%
Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites



Blythe Ca.
For more RV camping areas along the Colorado River travel north for 60 miles from Martinez Lake on Hwy 95 to Quartzsite then west on I-10, 20 miles to Blythe Ca. on the Colorado River. Quartzsite is also a  popular boondocking area, although not on the Colorado.
Blythe is a small agricultural town that offers limited boondocking, although there are multiple RV parks and resorts to choose from. To boondock (free dry camping) head north on Lovekin road 6 miles. We haven’t camped in Blythe but our friends say it’s great for cheap golf.
Parker RV
North of Parker
 From Blythe take hwy. 95 north and then east on hwy 62 to Parker/Earp. This section of the river is by far the most beautiful and busiest, the river is quiet and pristine, with well appointed  RV resorts, golf courses, and river adventures.
There are also boondocking areas on the west side of the river north of  Earp, Cross Roads, $5 per night.
The road winds its way along both sides of the river and crosses at Parker and the Parker dam to the north. It makes for a pleasant drive or motor cycle tour. The Parker Dam is closed to RVs, it’s not necessary to cross at the Dam.
Lake Havasu
London bridge
London Bridge & canal
Lake Havasu is the focal point of the southern Colorado Basin. One of the largest accessible lakes with many RV resorts to consider. Boondocking is also available on the east side of the highway, watch for RVS on your right as you travel north from the Parker Dam or check with the BLM office in Havasu City.
Lake Havasu is a large lake with pleasant weather especially in the fall and spring, the winter can be cool. Fall and spring are like mid-summer in the north with 80+ temperatures and that perfect summertime feeling.
The lake is an amazing site during Easter weekend when the racing boats gather in the canal under the London Bridge, the boats are so close together you can literally walk from boat to boat all the way along both sides of the canal, a site to behold.
The city does a great job sponsoring free festivals throughout the fall and spring months, complete with fireworks, always something to enjoy.
Even though this area is only 600 ft higher than Yuma and 150 miles north it seems much cooler, and more wind during the winter months.
Mojave Valley
mojave valley
Mojave Valley golf
From lake Havasu, we travel North to I-95 and then to Needles Cal. there are three roads to choose from, one on the Arizona side and two on the California side. A very pleasant drive on either side of the river with several RV resorts and casinos. We enjoy staying at casinos, camping is usually free and if you like to try your luck in the casino apply for a members card it will probably come loaded with free credits to gamble.
Bullhead City and Laughlin
colorado queen
River Queen
There are many RV resort opportunities on both sides of the river, and boondocking in casinos parking areas in Laughlin is popular.
Lake Mojave & Mead
Lake Mead
Lake Mead
There are a few RV resorts on Mojave Lake and Lake Mead. Unfortunately, the lake level is very low, we stayed in an RV park that, on the map, looked to be near the lake, it probably was years before. We didn’t get to the lake it seemed like a half day hike away.
Grand Canyon & Glen Canyon
Grand Canyon
Definitely, a must see RV destination at least once. The Grand Canyon one of the 7 wonders, one mile deep straight down. Many things to do and see, of course probably no boondocking and not a winter or early spring destination can be quite cold even in April.
That’s the Colorado River basin as I see it. Surrounded by dry barren desert makes this water oasis much more inviting.  There is nothing like dipping your feet in the not so cool river after a hard day on the golf course, a hike in the hills or a dusty ATV tour.
Grand Canyon Tours, click here to check it out.
Grand Canyon
A great way to camp for free  and meet other RVers “Boondocker Welcome” click the link below to check it out.

Boondockers Welcome - Be My Guest RV Parking

I hope you have enjoyed this article, If you have comments please leave them below.
Thanks for visiting.
Gord B.
thanks for visiting
Gord B.

2 thoughts on “RV Destinations – Colorado River”

  1. Thanks for the great information Gord B!
    My parents go RVing and this is extremely helpful. 🙂 I’m going to send your website to my dad to use as a reference.
    Lots of detail and I love the pictures…makes me want to tag along!

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