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Havasu Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images
A desert rock outcropping with a small pinnacle
Library image #4178: Desert landscape and pinnacles


The United States Congress designated the Havasu Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 17,801 acres. Arizona contains approximately 14,606 acres. California contains approximately 3,195 acres. It is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


Established in 1941, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge stretches along the Colorado River for 30 miles between Needles, California and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, with most of the refuge situated in Arizona. Approximately one-third of the refuge--all of it in Arizona--was designated Wilderness in 1990. California got into the act in 1994, adding almost everything north of Blankenship Bend on the Colorado River. This area shares its western border with the large Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness.

The Wilderness is rich in wildlife including quail, geese, ducks, grebes, cranes, rails, herons, egrets, falcons, eagles, bighorn sheep, coyotes, porcupines, foxes, and bobcats. Here you may see the endangered desert tortoise and the poisonous Gila monster.

Exemplary desert hiking through creosote, ocotillo, blue-green paloverde, and pockets of saguaro promises solitude, but camping is not permitted. Fires also are not permitted in the Wilderness.

Planning to Visit the Havasu Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Havasu Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.