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EXPLORING THE AREA - Canoe & Kayaking

Canoeing – refers to arecreational boating activity or paddle sport in which you kneel or sit facing forward in an open or closed-decked canoe, and propel yourself with a single-bladed paddle, under your own power.

Kayaking – on the other hand is theuse of a kayak for moving across water. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have closed decks

Stand up paddle boards (SUP) is a newer sport offering a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. In Paddle boarding you stand at your full height and use the blades of the paddle to propel you. Its becoming popular for its delivery of a full-body workout and thus has become a popular cross-training activity while still enjoying unique views from a different perspective and still be active outdoors.

Kayak, canoe and now paddleboarding are fast growing activities as people try to escape the hectic pace of modern life and find the peaceful serenity of a quiet paddle



With its majestic rock cliffs, its ribbon of cool water running through classic Sonoran Desert and its cattail-filled marsh harboring rails and waterfowl, Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge offers a little bit of something for both wildlife and visitors. The Bill Williams River extends a short 40 miles before emptying into the Colorado River near Lake Havasu. A portion of the river and its unique habitat are protected within the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge and offers a glimpse into what this landscape looked like hundreds of years ago.

Earliest written records of the area come from Spanish explorers who traveled through here as early as 1598. Along with the western explorers that followed, they took note of the ecologically rich landscape, including documentation of miles-thick stands of cottonwood and willow trees along the river’s banks, as well as the abundance of mesquite above the river.

Today, This 6,105-acre refuge holds one of the last stands of naturally regenerated cottonwood-willow forest along the lower Colorado River and is one of the last ecologically functioning riparian areas in the southwest United States, creating a unique ecosytem that provides good habitat for resident and migratory wildlife.. Though very small, the refuge has retained nearly all of the original terrestrial wildlife species found here at the time of exploration.


The refuge offers an excellent opportunity to canoe and kayak the Bill Williams River.

Refuge visitors can launch canoes and kayaks at the non-motorized boat ramp located at the refuge visitor center near the river delta. Take in the dramatic scenery and wildlife while enjoying a 2.5 mile paddle on the Bill Williams River.


Fishing for striped, largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill and other fish is permitted on Lake Havasu. Lighted shoreline fishing facilities on the refuge are available for use 24 hours a day. Please use catch-and-release techniques with any native fish captured and report your catch to refuge personnel.

Boating is permitted only at No Wake Speed. Water skiing and personal watercraft are prohibited.

For your safety and enjoyment, please be familiar with the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s regulations


To get to the Refuge Headquarters/Visitor Center:

From Parker, AZ follow Arizona Highway 95 north approximately 16 miles. Refuge Headquarters/ Visitor Center will be on the left-hand side of the road.

From Lake Havasu City, AZ follow Arizona Highway 95 south approximately 17 miles. The refuge office will be on the right-hand side of the road
(34.291554, -114.104776)
between mileposts 160 and 162.



FriendsBW Refuge


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