HAVASU NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
From desert bighorn sheep to the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, birds and other animals at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge rely on the life-giving waters of the lower Colorado River. The refuge protects 30 river miles - 300 miles of shoreline - from Needles, California, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. One of the last remaining natural stretches of the lower Colorado River flows through the 20-mile-long Topock Gorge.
A great river in a dry, hot land attracts wildlife and people like a powerful magnet. Today, many thousands of visitors annually flock to the refuge to boat through the spectacular Topock Gorge, watch waterbirds in Topock Marsh, or hike to the Havasu Wilderness Area.
Wildlife dwell in a precarious balance with the people who recreate here. Remember, we are guests in the home of lower Colorado River animals and plants.
It is no wonder that rare birds find a haven here within the protected marshes and miles of Colorado River shoreline. Havasu NWR forms a important haven for wildlife in an increasingly populated part of the country.
Birdwatchers come to the refuge for some of the best birding on the entire lower Colorado. Four endangered bird species find a toehold here: the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, peregrine falcon, and southern bald eagle. See the Havasu NWR bird list for a list of species found on the refuge.
Indian petroglyphs in Topock Gorge trace the stories of early peoples who lived along the lower Colorado River. A few old mines tell a more recent tale of nineteenth century gold prospectors hoping to strike it rich here.
When the gates closed at Parker Dam in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Havasu NWR to provide migratory waterfowl habitat. The refuge has shifted boundaries since then, including the addition of the Needles Peaks area in 1968.
There are free boat launches on Topock Marsh at North Dike, Fivemile Landing (on County Route 1) and Catfish Paradise (on Oatman Highway/Route 66).
Local boat launches that allow access to the Colorado River include the Topock Gorge Marina, Arizona (exit 1, I-40), Park Moabi (located 11 miles south of Needles, CA on I-40), and Havasu State Park at Windsor Beach (on London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City). There are many other private and public boat launches along the Colorado River.
No Wake zones exist in the harbor of Fivemile Landing on Topock Marsh and the entrance and harbor at Topock Marina.