Parker Dam & Power Plant
View the world’s deepest dam from a scenic point on either the Arizona or California side of the beautiful Colorado River. The dam is located seventeen (17) miles northeast of Parker. The dam forms the reservoir of Lake Havasu, which is 45 miles long.
Water is pumped from the reservoir into the Colorado River Aqueduct, which can provide up to one billion gallons of water a day to Southern California cities. Water is also pumped into the Central Arizona Project, providing water to Arizona cities, farms, ranches, and Arizona Native American communities. Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world at 320 feet and is one of the most visited power plants in the local area. The Bureau of Reclamation built the dam between 1934 and 1938, and to thirds of its depth is below the riverbed. The dam’s builders aimed to drill deep into the earth to find bedrock to ensure the dam’s stability. Parker Dam is operated with Hover and Davis Dams to bring water and power benefits to residents of the Lower Colorado River BASIN. The power plant is operated and managed by Reclamation. The Department of Energy, through the Western Area Power Administration, markets the hydropower produced at the power plant to cities, agricultural users and Native American communities throughout the Southwest. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California reserves about 50% of the plant’s power output for pumping water to the Pacific Coast. Tour of the power plant is no longer available to the public, due to budget cuts and security issues. However, scenic view pullouts are open to the public on both the Arizona and California sides of the dam. Currently the dam is open to passenger vehicles only, between the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Parker Dam Road Scenic by Way
The Parker Dam Road between Earp California and Parker Dam California has officially been declared a National Back Country by Way by the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Several historical and nature inspired sites along the road offer travelers a look into the area’s past as well as an insight of the desert flora and wildlife. The Bureau of Land Management also operates several campsites, OHV areas and day use sites along the California shore of the river, and there are several private Bureau of Land Management concessionaire resorts available.
The Parker Outback which includes (towns and BLM lands) offers many Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) places to ride for the avid outdoor adventurer. The Parker Outback also includes the famous ‘Parker 425’ race course as well as the ‘Parker 250’ race course (that can be utilized by visitors on any day except when race officials mark the course otherwise).
Blue Water Resort and Casino
Las Vegas fun is available in Parker at the Blue Water Resort and Casino, a gaming enterprise of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. The theme of the Resort is the “Lost City” All 200 room, of which 10 of those are suites, has a beautiful view of the Colorado River while looking down at the marina with 164 boat slips. “The Dig” (an entertainment lounge) will seat 148 people and offers a large screen TV and scheduled live entertainment. There are several eating facilities, The Feast, Garden Café, The River Willow fine dining, which features steak, seafood, and a good wine selection. There are also two (2) snack bar areas and to welcome the boaters there is a cantina located at the marina entrance which serves a lighter fare. Adjacent to the main resort is a four-screen movie theater, a 9 hole miniature golf course and a outdoor amphitheater that will seat up to 1,500. The focus is the atrium where there are four (4) swimming pools at four different levels, a spa and a 15 ft. waterfall. Located just off the swimming area is a full body workout facility. The facility also has extensive conference rooms available. Last, but not least, the 8000 square foot casino boasts of many slot machines, card room, huge bingo room and live blackjack tables.
Emerald Canyon Golf Course
This is the most fascinating and unusual golf course you’ll ever play, often referred to as the “Jewel in the Desert”. You may tee off over a ravine to a fairway bordered by vertical canyon walls on both sides, or hit your tee at a par three to a green guarded by a deep canyon. Then again, you may stand on an elevated tee and gaze down at the mighty Colorado River and the numerous mountains that surround you as you feel you can see for eternity. The Golf Digest quoted “An unexpected pleasure. The course is a fantastic and unusual layout with stunning surroundings. The golf course offers a full service Pro Shop, beverage cart, and snack bar. There are two (2) practice greens with a lighted driving range. Golf lesions can be taken from PGA golf professional. They are located about eight (8) miles North of Parker just off HWY 95 at 8251 Riverside Drive.
Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Museum and Library
The Colorado River Indian Tribes is unique in the sense that it is occupied by four (4) distinct tribal groups: Mohave, Chemehauvi, Navajo and Hopi, each with its own separate culture and traditions The CRIT Museum and Library are both open to the public Monday through Friday and there is no charge to visit the facilities. The Library offers a vast selection of reading materials; including historical archives and selections relative to the four tribes the museum contains the largest collection of Chemehuevi baskets in the world, excellent examples of pottery, beautiful Navajo silversmith jewelry, intricate Kachina dolls, and many artifacts from the Reservation. The Museum is newly relocated at 1001 Arizona Ave.
Poston Memorial Monument
This monument marks the site of the Poston War Relocation Center where 17,867 persons of Japanese ancestry were interned during World War II. The monument is located eleven miles (11) south of Parker on Mohave Road, and may be visited any time during daylight hours. There is no fee. History of the center is inscribed into the monument and at an information kiosk on the property.
Aha Khav Tribal Preserve
The Preserve is located just south of Four Corners on the Colorado River Indian Reservation (approximately three (3) miles south of Parker on Mohave road, turn west on Rodeo Road at the PIRA Rodeo Grounds). The Aha Khav Preserve is a serene wetland and backwater area of the River. The Preserve has been made possible through the efforts of the CRIT Education Department, which is returning the area to its natural habitat. The Preserve, which includes hunting and fishing area known to many as Deer Lake, also offers hiking trails, picnic area, play grounds, and canoeing. There is a small fee for canoe rentals.
Swansea Ghost Town
Swansea has been proclaimed as one of Arizona’s best ghost towns by Arizona Highways Magazine. Take a day trip back in time and see the remains of what was once a bustling mining community, complete with a “moving picture house”, a post office and automobile dealership. On public lands, the Bureau of Land Management now manages the town and has added picnic and camping areas near the town site. A non-profit organization, the “Friends of Swansea”, has also been established to raise funds for the restoration of Swansea. Swansea is accessible by two-wheel drive automobiles; however high clearance vehicles are suggested. The ghost town can be reached by traveling east out of Parker on Shea Road (paved for about ten (10) miles). At this point you will travel about twenty (20) miles on a graded dirt road to Swansea. The ghost town can also be reached by traveling northeast from Bouse, Arizona. Whenever you travel in the desert, always remember to take water with you and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. There is no charge to visit Swansea.
Bill William’s Bridge
A few miles North of Parker Dam, the Bill Williams River flows into Lake Havasu on the Arizona side of the river. That’s where the Bill Williams Bridge is located, sporting a spectacular view of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (Bill Williams Unit) to the right and a panoramic view of Lake Havasu to the left. The refuge, established in 1941 to provide wintering water flow habitats, is comprised of cattail marshes, rugged desert uplands and a riparian zone. The varied terrains attracts many species of migratory birds including the endangered Yuma Clapper Rail as well as other wildlife such as owls, lizards, desert bighorn sheep, and Gamble’s Quail.
Buckskin Mountain State Park
This state park commands one of the finest views along the Parker Strip. Mountains line the river on both the Arizona and California sides, and the wildlife is as varied as the recreational opportunities along the river. This picturesque park provides a scenic respite, mountain hikes, a desert escape and fun-filled water adventure. Come enjoy all the park has to offer! The park has a campground, cabana sites, beach, hiking trails, boat ramp, picnic area, basketball and volleyball court, playground, restaurant, camp store, arcade, gas dock, and ranger station.
Nellie E. Saloon (Desert Bar)
The Nellie E. Saloon (Desert Bar) is situated in the Buckskin Mountains. On land which at the time was an old mining camp. The camp was located on the portion of land that is now the parking lot. In 1983 the saloon opened for business in the temporary three- sided structure. The name, Nellie E. originates from the old mining camp. The Nellie E. was completed in 1988. The inside of the saloon is unique in many ways. It has windows that are from old glass refrigerator doors, the barstools are made of steel and sway from side to side, the top of the bar is brass and the ceiling is made of stamped tin, purchased from a factory in Missouri. The saloon has electricity which is solar powered. The energy is stored in batteries and run through inverters. The bridge was built in 1991. The church was completed in 1996. The church is made of solid steel & the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used in the saloon ceiling. Across for the saloon is an outdoor bar & cooking area with a cooling tower. Behind the outside bar is a horseshoe pit, on the side of the bar is a stage for live music. The Nellie E. Saloon is located 5 miles off the Cienega Springs Road exit on HWY 95, approximately 5 miles north of the town of Parker. The saloon is open Labor Day Weekend through Memorial Day weekend, Saturday & Sunday, high noon to sunset, the Desert Bar is closed for the summer but open most holidays and open only one night, New Years Eve.
Parker Area Historical Society
The Museum is located @ 1214 California Ave. (Highway 95) in Parker. The temporary building (donated by the Beaver family) is being used to its capacity. There are many displays featured, including Native American and old mining artifacts. Many old photos depict some very interesting aerial views of the surrounding areas. There are also large photo exhibits from the building of Parker Dam and the World War II Japanese internment camps, one of which was located in Poston. Historical buffs will enjoy seeing the all the great history of Parker. The museum’s hours are Thursday thru Saturday 11A.M-1P.M. (summer) 11A.M. – 3P.M.
Campers can enjoy plenty of areas to camp in the Parker Area and the surrounding outback areas including River Island Park, Buckskin Mountain, La Paz County Park, and BLM land.