BUCKSIN MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Buckskin Mountain State Park commands one of the finest views along the Parker strip, an 18-mile stretch between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam. Mountains line the river on both the Arizona and California sides, and the wildlife is as varied as the recreational opportunities along the river. This picturesque park provides scenic respite, mountain hikes, a desert escape and fun-filled water adventure. The nearby River Island Unit, about one mile north, is ideal for tent campers. It offers a ramada with campfire ring, which may be reserved for group use (fee required) except on holiday weekends. A sandy beach, cove, and boat launch area are also located at the River Island Unit.
In the summer, Buckskin and River Island are popular for boating, jet skiing, swimming and camping. In the winter, visitors appreciate the mild climate and enjoy camping, fishing and hiking in the park. Both areas are year-round destinations for those looking to discover a variety of recreational and cultural resources. The Colorado River Indian Reservation is just east of Parker and archaeological sites are scattered up and down Arizona's "west coast." Parker Dam, the world's deepest dam, is located approximately five miles to the north on Highway 95. About 25 miles north is Lake Havasu City, home of the famous London Bridge. This 1,677-acre park has been operated by Arizona State Parks since 1967.
Mammals that may be seen at the park include: bobcats, ringtail cats, coyote, and gray fox.
Snakes include: Coachwhip (Red Racer), and King Snakes.
Lizards include: desert iguana, and the collared lizard.
Birds include: red-tailed hawk, vermillion flycatcher, great horned owl, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, and egrets.
As previously discussed in the history of Lake Havasu, Buckskin Mountain was identified in the Lower Colorado River Land Use Plan as an area to be administered by State Parks. The Parks Board had identified the area as a top priority on its first list of potential park sites. The Community of Parker had strongly supported the creation of a State Park in their area to bring in additional visitors.
On June 1, 1965, the Bureau of Reclamation leased lands along the Colorado River, approximately 12 miles north of Parker, to the State Land Department for park and recreation purposes through Contract No. 14-06-300-1590. The properties were immediately sub-leased by the State Land Department to the State Parks Board. The Contract was for 50 years with the end of the lease to be May 31, 2015. The original lease was cancelled on January 18, 1968, and a modified lease was issued to the State Land Department on October 31, 1968. The 1676.56 acres of land covered under the new lease, Contract No. 14-01-0002-0008, were then sub-leased to the Parks Board by the State Land Department. The lease was for 50 years with an ending date of October 30, 2018.River Island Unit in 1981River Island Unit in 1981.
Construction of park facilities began in 1965, and John Eager was hired as the first Park Manager. The Park opened for public use and an official dedication was held on October 29, 1967. A concession for a general store with boat gas was add within the Park in 1972. In the mid 1970s, additional cabanas, campsites and restrooms were developed.
The River Island Market with gas, boat storage and laundromat was added in the late 1970s. The River Island Unit of Buckskin was developed with a contact station, campground, day use area and restroom in the early 1980s. This Unit is located approximately one and one quarter miles north and east of Buckskin proper. It also provides shoreline access and a boat ramp to the Colorado River just off State Highway 95.Buckskin Mountain State Park in 1969Buckskin Mountain State Park in 1969.
In 1995, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Land Management and the State Parks Board changed the Park boundary. The Parks Board relinquished its lease in return for a patent on 907 acres of land that contained the major developments at Buckskin Mountain and River Island.
Buckskin Mountain State Park and its River Island Unit are water based, high intensity, recreation areas along the Colorado River two miles below Parker Dam. The high intensity recreation use occurs from March through October each year. Then the winter visitors, who are retreating from the cold climate of the North and Midwest States, come and stay for most of the other part of the year.
The Buckskin Mountain Visitor Center includes exhibits, video library, book exchange and information on the surrounding area. From January through March the park offers interpretive programs and Ranger led hikes at the Visitor Center. Additional fees may apply, please check with the park staff. Hours: January through March: 9 am ? 4:30 pm April through December: Upon request.
The Buckskin Market is located in park and includes a Restaurant, an arcade, and a market. The market sells firewood, ice, food, and gasoline. Buckskin Market is operated by a concessionaire. Buckskin Market is closed in the winter.
There are 68 camping & RV sites. There are 21 cabana sites. Camping Fees are per vehicle and are per night depending on the site. There is a 14-night stay limit.
The RV & Tent sites have water and 30 amp electric available, 15 of the sites also have a sewer connection. All sites have a BBQ grill and picnic table.
The 21 Cabana Sites overlook the Colorado River and are perfect way for tenters to enjoy the water. The cabanas have two and a half walls, a concrete floor and a roof. Cabanas have a 15 amp electrical outlet. Tents can be pitched on the ground between the cabana and the river. All sites have a BBQ grill and picnic table. Pets are not allowed in the cabana sites. A group camping area is located at the River Island just one mile north of the park.
The park offers swimming along all of the shoreline. Swimming is not allowed at the Boat Ramp or Docks. The park has a designated swim area located at the Day Use area. No Lifeguard on Duty. Swimming is at your own risk.
The park has a two lane launch ramp. There is no parking at the boat ramp. Campers must park back at their campsite. Day Use Visitors must park in the Day Use Parking lot. Non-motorized watercraft may launch at any boat ramp.
The park has fishing opportunities. Whether you sport fishing for Large and Smallmouth Bass or bottom fishing for Catfish and Carp with the Colorado River on two sides of the park anglers test their skills and try their luck at fishing. The kids will also enjoy fishing for Bluegill, Sunfish and Crappie.
A valid Arizona fishing license is required for anglers fourteen and older. Licensing information is available online at Arizona Game & Fish, or purchase a fishing license at a local dealer.