Most of us only speed through southwestern Arizona on our way to the cool weather and sandy beaches of California. And even though the towns tend to be small and distances far between, there are still many places worth stopping to see if your fall road trip takes you to this part of Arizona. Fall colors tend to come late to these desert areas but the cooler weather makes for an ideal time for a road trip.
We suggest that you stop and see…
- Yuma! Get off the freeway and spend some time exploring this old Colorado River town. Mother Nature created a large, natural outcropping of granite on each side of the river that has always held strong against the once swift flow of the Colorado River and provided for the Yuman Indians and the early European explorers, an easier way to cross the once mighty river. The Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park preserves artifacts from five centuries of human interaction with the Colorado River.
- The infamous 1880s Arizona Territorial prison is now home to Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. You get a real quick understanding as to why being assigned to this prison was once the worse experience in the Arizona Territory.
- In and around Yuma are 13 fine museums that preserve the military history, mining history, natural history, Native American history and more of this old Arizona community. Here is a link that will give you information about them all - http://yumazone.com/museums.htm
You will be glad that you took the time to get to know Yuma. It is one of the oldest towns of our state and the folks who live there are friendly and welcoming. Another link to help you with your visit - http://www.visityuma.com/index.html
Other nearby Yuma attractions -
- Dateland’s “World Famous Date Shake -
- Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, CA
- St. Thomas Indian Mission, CA
- One of the great autumn road trips into southwestern Arizona can involve you meeting a fisherman –the Bouse Fisherman that is. The Bouse Fisherman is an intaglio (also called a geoglyph) and is as located off AZ Highway 95 about 6 miles north of Quartzsite. Intaglios (in tar yoes) are large geometric designs, animal or human figures constructed by early people upon the local desert floors. The most famous intaglios, also known as geoglyphs, are the Nazca Lines on a high plateau of Peru. The GPS reading for the Bouse Fisherman is N33.4745 W114.0557.
This ancient intaglio may have been carved into the desert soil some 2000 years ago. It is believed to be of the god Kusmastamo who is about to thrust his spear into the earth and create the Colorado River.
The Bouse Fisherman is just one of many intaglios found in this area, and the only one known to be in Arizona. Other nearby intaglios are located on the California side of the Colorado River 15 miles north of Blythe, CA. http://www.azoutback.com/bouse.htm
- When you go through Bouse, be sure to check out the display of World War II tanks and trucks along AZ Highway 72. This desert land was once where General Patton trained with his 1st Armored Division before the invasion of North Africa.
Other nearby Bouse attractions:
- Hi Jolly’s Tomb in Quartzsite –
- Palm Canyon Trail, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge-
- Swansea Ghost Town –
- Since you travel through Wickenburg to reach Bouse, we thought we would include this close neighbor of Anthem in this section. Because the annual fall migration of birds has begun again, its time to stop by and check out which feathered friends are hanging out at the Hassayampa River Preserve. If you like easy hikes along a flowing river and the sound of cottonwood leaves crumbling under your feet, you will get that experience again when you hike the riparian pathway of this wonderful preserve. http://gosw.about.com/od/bestsightstosee/a/hassayampa.htm
- Autumn leaves will be falling once again from the “hanging tree” of the Vulture Gold Mine, some 12 miles south of Wickenburg. Visiting the historic mine along with the adjoining ghost town of Vulture City involves some easy hiking but are full of photographic opportunities and the bright sunshine and cooler weather make October the perfect month to visit. http://www.vultureminetours.com/
- Wickenburg has long been known for its extraordinary dude ranches and cowboy way of life. Trail rides are popular and fall is the ideal time to saddle-up and discover the natural autumn beauty found in and around Wickenburg. We recommend the wranglers from Cowboy Way Adventures who reopen again for their classic Wickenburg trail rides on November 1st. http://www.cowboywayadventures.com/
- And just north of Wickenburg, along Az Highway 89 is that famous, 60-ton rock, green frog named Rocky. He is always worth a road trip visit. http://azbugztwo.blogspot.com/2013/02/rocky-arizonas-green-frog.html
Other nearby Wickenburg attractions:
- Desert Caballeros Western Museum -
- Henry Wickenburg’s Grave Site -
- Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream -
So even though this part of Arizona may not be a tapestry of autumn colors, there still are plenty of places to get out and to discover and enjoy a fall road trip. Where else but southwestern Arizona could you meet an ancient fisherman and a giant green frog while enjoying some great homemade ice cream?
|Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park|
|Yuma Territorial Prison Cells|
|St. Thomas Indian Mission|
|Date trees of Dateland|
|Camp Bouse Memorial|
|Hi Jolly gravesite - Yuma|
|Almost dry Hassayampa River|
|Fallen head frame of the Vulture Gold Mine|
|Truly great museum in Wickenburg|
|Best ice cream in Wickenburg|