If you’re a bird-watcher, angler, or canoeist, you’ll want to spend some time along the Colorado River north of Yuma. Here you’ll find the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge (tel. 928/783-3371) and the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (tel. 928/857-3253), which preserve marshes and shallow lakes along the river. One of the best ways to explore the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is by kayak. You can rent one from Jet Rent (tel. 928/314-4345), which also rents jet skis and other watercraft. Multiday canoe trips are offered by Yuma River Tours (tel. 928/783-4400) along this stretch of the lower Colorado, which features rugged, colorful mountains and quiet backwater areas.
Bird-watchers will also want to head out to Betty’s Kitchen Watchable Wildlife Viewing Area and National Recreation Trail ($10 day-use fee per vehicle) and the adjacent Mittry Lake Wildlife Area. To get there, take U.S. 95 east out of town, turn north on Avenue 7E (Laguna Dam Rd.) and continue 9 miles. Shortly after the road turns to gravel, turn left to reach Betty’s Kitchen; continue straight to reach Mittry Lake. Fall and spring migrations are some of the best times of year for birding at these spots; many waterfowl winter in the area as well. For information on both areas, contact the Bureau of Land Management, Yuma Field Office, 2555 E. Gila Ridge Rd. (tel. 928/317-3200).
During the warmer months (April through September), you can float a stretch of the Colorado River in an inner tube with Yuma River Tubing (tel. 928/750-0247), which rents inner tubes and operates a shuttle from West Wetlands Park, 350 N. 12th Ave. You can float the river for as little as an hour or as long as half a day, with prices ranging from $10 to $20.
While Yuma’s golf courses are not nearly as impressive as those at the resorts in Phoenix and Tucson, there are certainly plenty of them, and you can’t beat the winter climate. The Mesa del Sol Golf Club, 12213 Calle del Cid (tel. 928/342-1283), off I-8 at the Fortuna Road exit, was designed by Arnold Palmer and is the most challenging local course open to the public. Greens fees are $50 during the cooler months ($41 for twilight play). The Desert Hills Golf Course, 1245 Desert Hills Dr. (tel. 928/344-4653) has been rated one of the best municipal courses in the state. Greens fees range from $35 to $48 during the cooler months, with a $10 discount if you walk.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.