Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Arizona

(928) 783-3371

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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 are a green oasis, contrasting with the surrounding desert mountains.

More than 15,000 acres of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is designated as wilderness. Wilderness is protected to ensure that nature, not people is the primary influence on this quiet, scenic place.

Map of Imperial NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 32.965221, -114.448194

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Activities

  • Boating

    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.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Follow the Red Cloud Mine 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.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted according to state regulations. Some areas of the Refuge are closed to all access during specific times of year. An accessible fishing dock and shoreline fishing locations are available at Meers Point Recreation Area. Please contact the Visitor Center for information on areas open to fishing.

  • Hiking

    Walk the Painted Desert Trail, a 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.

  • Historic Sites

    Stop by the visitor center to learn about Sonoran wildlife and the unique desert environment. From November through March, guided walks are available.

  • Hunting

    Imperial National Wildlife Refuge protects 30 miles of wildlife habitat along the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California. The 25, 125 acre refuge is one of over 500 throughout the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency within the Department of Interior.

    Stop at the Visitor Center for brochures, maps, and other information. The Center is staffed Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM year-round, and Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM from November 15 to March 31.

    Hunting is in accordance with applicable state regulations and state seasons. Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department website for more information about state hunting regulations.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Wetland wildlife is most abundant in winter, when 'snowbirds' such as cinnamon teal and northern pintail use the refuge. During the summer months, look for permanent residents such as great egrets and muskrat.

    In the desert, wildlife such as black-tailed jackrabbits and western whiptail lizards are plentiful. Watch at dawn and dusk for desert bighorn sheep and mule deer heading to the river for a drink.

Seasonality/Weather

Wetland wildlife is most abundant in winter, when 'snowbirds' such as cinnamon teal and northern pintail use the refuge. During the summer months, look for permanent residents such as great egrets and muskrat.

Directions

Driving

From Yuma: Travel north on Highway 95 for 25 miles. Turn west on Martinez Lake Road for 13 miles and follow signs to visitor center.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(928) 783-3371

Links