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Imperial National Wildlife Refuge


category : Wildlife Refuges
Imperial National Wildlife Refuge protects wildlife habitat along 30 miles of the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California, including the last unchannelized section before the river enters Mexico.

The river and its associated backwater lakes and wetlands covering 15,000 acreas are a green oasis, contrasting with the surrounding desert mountains. The refuge is an excellent site for such activities as hiking, sightseeing, and photography.

Enjoy the exhibits, native plant garden, and watch a wildlife video at the Visitor's Center, or see more on these scenic drives, trails, and lookouts.

Red Cloud Mine Road

Follow this scenic drive through the Sonoran desert landscape to access the lookout points and the Painted Desert Trail. If you intend to drive further than the Painted Desert Trailhead, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. Check with the Visitor Center for road conditions.

Lookout Points

Mesquite, Ironwood, and Smoke Tree Points offer beautiful views of the Colorado River valley. Often, both desert and wetland wildlife may be seen. All of the lookout points can be reached by vehicle.

Painted Desert Trail

Walk this 1.3-mile self-guided trail for an opportunity to see desert plants and wildlife. The trail takes you through a rainbow of colors left by 30,000 year-old volcanic activity and features a panoramic view of the Colorado River valley.

Meers Point

Looking for a quiet place to canoe or fish? Meers Point has shaded tables, toilets, and a boat launch. The refuge surrounds one of the few remaining "wild" places on the Colorado River. This stretch is valued by boaters for its remote scenery.


Hours: Visitor Center is open 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. From November 15 to March 31, open Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
From Yuma, go north on Highway 95 for 25 miles. Turn west on Martinez Lake Road for 13 miles and follow signs to visitor center.

Come visit us in Yuma, Arizona

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Yuma River Tours

A narrated jet boat tour is a great way to learn about the history of the Colorado River, as well as sight a variety of birds and wildlife, and view historical Indian Petroglyphs.

Yuma, AZ Tours

Yuma Landing

The first plane to land on Arizona soil dropped out of the sky into a ball park between 1st and 3rd Streets on 4th Avenue, October 25, 1911. Robert G. "Bob" Fowler was flying a Wright model B, 30

Yuma, AZ Monuments

Yuma Crossing State Historic Park

The Quartermaster Depot was authorized by Congress in 1865 and served the entire Southwest as a material transfer and distribution point for troops stationed at the outposts of the Arizona Territory.

Yuma, AZ Railroad History

Yuma Territorial Prison State Park

Between 1876 and 1909, this penitentiary housed many of Arizona's most dangerous and notorious criminals. Famed in movies, literature and television, the remains of the prison are now Arizona'

Yuma, AZ State Parks

Century House Museum

A regional museum of the Arizona Historical Society, Century House is one of Yuma's oldest and most historic buildings. Once the home of pioneer merchant E. F. Sanguinetti, the museum now exhibits artifacts, photographs and furnishings of Arizona'

Yuma, AZ Museums

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