Description: Drive through Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge at the start of this trip. Enjoy over 275 species of birds as you pass through a jungle-like setting. Squeeze through dramatic Slot Canyon. Finish the trip with a visit to Swansea Townsite, once a booming copper mining town. The BLM provides brochures that enable you to understand and appreciate the area. Although brochures are often available at the site, it is best to get one in advance at the BLM Field Office in Lake Havasu City. Swansea Townsite is larger than it first appears once you learn about the area. It has designated trails for 4-wheel-drive vehicles, ATVs and dirt bikes. Mostly sandy wash bottoms and gravel roads except for a 3-mile stretch through the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. This section has short sandy climbs and several water crossings. Water crossings are not a concern except after an extended period of heavy rain. Brush is dense but not abrasive. Slot Canyon is narrow, but easily passable. The trail is suitable for stock SUVs with moderate ground clearance. Route-finding is fairly easy. Flash flooding is possible in the wash bottoms and especially through Slot Canyon. Don’t enter if heavy rains are forecast. This trip is not recommended during the heat of summer. Always carry plenty of water.
Time & Distance: More than 55 miles. Allow 4 to 5 hours plus extra time to explore Swansea.
Trail Conditions: Bureau of Land Management, Lake Havasu Field Office. Call (928) 505-1200.
Directions to the Trail: Head south about 19 miles on Hwy 95 from Lake Havasu City. Turn left onto a wide gravel road (Bill Williams Highway) just after the Bill Williams Bridge near mile marker 162. From Parker, turn right about a half mile past the Central Arizona Project Pumping Station.
View Swansea Townsite in a larger map for even more DETAILS!
Return Trip: Right on Hwy 95 goes to Parker and Lake Havasu City, left goes south to Quartzsite.
Get yourself and your TOY ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are ready for your next adventure.
Before you venture out on your offroading trip you need to make sure you are prepared for emergencies. Even if nothing happens to you or your vehicle, you might come across someone who needs help. Short of always having your full-on Bug-Out-Bag with you, you should at least have some basic emergency items. It might seem obvious to some, but you should get yourself a tool box with appropriate tools and leather gloves, good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, set of jumper cables, emergency blankets (stored in heavy plastic bag – both are useful), flashlight, tow strap and some extra water. I would also suggest a recovery strap, a military folding shovel, heavy duty garbage bags, and a hand crank self powered weather radio. These items are not expensive, but they just might save your day.
Another thing you should definitely do before you leave is to save Joe’s number in your cellphone in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Joe is the owner of Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery and has become a real hero to many in the Arizona offroad community. His number is (602) 697-8306.
If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these trail guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!