Arizona Day Trips
Ahakhav Tribal Preserve | Diamond Creek Road to the Colorado River | Keepers of the Wild | Chloride | Grand Canyon Caverns | Oatman
Lake Havasu City’s location makes it an ideal home base for western Arizona day trips
. All of the trips below are less than 2 ½ hours away. Spend the day exploring, then return to Lake Havasu City in time for a relaxing lakeside dinner at one of many fabulous Lake Havasu restaurants
. If you’re having trouble coming up with your own Arizona road trip ideas, we have more than a few suggestions.
Several of these Arizona day trips allow you to explore small segments of Route 66, the “Mother Road”, which was the main westward route for hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing the Midwest during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Others feature quirky slices of Americana, such as the tame burros that roam the streets of an old west town. These excursions all highlight the unique character, heritage, and wildlife of the region.
Check out the listings below for some great Arizona road trip ideas.
Ahakhav Tribal Preserve
This preserve was set aside to restore and protect the natural ecosystem of the lower Colorado River and to recreate the native habitat of the area. There is a re-vegetation project which covers over 200 acres on the Preserve. The sites and plantings are native to the area and include cottonwood, willow and mesquite trees. The project has also deepened the backwater and reopened the flow of the river.
While at the preserve you will have an opportunity to see many species that find their home here, including beavers and an array of birds such as the Great Blue Heron and the Vermillion Flycatcher. The grassy park is equipped with amenities for outdoor relaxation - ramadas, grills, a gazebo, shaded playground and restroom facilities. You may fish within the confines of the preserve. Fishing
permits are under the jurisdiction of the CRIT (Colorado River Indian Tribes) Fish and Game. Be aware that boating
is limited to trolling motors and canoes. The preserve is open for day use only.
Take Highway 95 south to Parker. Follow the highway through the center of the town of Parker, bearing left on 95 past Arizona Ave. Continue until you see signs for the hospital and turn right on Mohave Road, still following the signs for the hospital. Turn right at the sign for the preserve. Follow the road into the Preserve; it will become a dirt road. Continue past the nursery and offices to the parking lot near the Colorado River backwater, where you can park and follow the paths into the preserve.
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Diamond Creek Road to the Colorado River
Located off Route 66 in Peach Springs, Diamond Creek Road is an adventurous “road less traveled” to the Colorado River. You will actually be driving down into the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy nature at its grandest! A permit is required in order to travel on Diamond Creek Road, as it is located on Hualapai Indian Tribal land. The permit may be obtained at the Hualapai Lodge (address listed below). The lodge also has an onsite gift shop selling authentic Native American crafts.
The route down Diamond Creek Road is a 25-30 mile stretch from Route 66, most of it is gravel, but passable in a conventional automobile. The trip down Diamond Creek Road takes approximately 50-60 minutes. Be prepared for stunning canyon scenery along the way, such as majestic Diamond Peak outlined against the blue sky, different colors and layers of rock, as well as the random stray cow or two. The rugged ride will culminate at the Colorado River, where you can continue to explore on foot.
From Lake Havasu City, take Highway 95 north to Interstate 40 east and proceed for roughly 43 miles to Exit 53 toward State Route 66. Take Route 66 east for 47 miles to Peach Springs.
Hualapai Lodge, 900 Route 66, Peach Springs, AZ 86434
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Keepers of the Wild
Keepers of the Wild, an internationally recognized organization, is dedicated to the dignified rescue of exotic animals.
The organization is working toward their goal of building a facility that will be the standard for all future animal parks, with educational and research facilities that span all ages; and programs that offer visitors artistic and cultural experiences of the countries that the animals come from.
The Nature Park has 175 acres, on which the spacious natural animal habitats include beautiful rock formations, vegetation, natural springs and more. This non-profit organization is home to 150 animals, including monkeys, tigers, livestock, reptiles, a variety of birds; and a rare Siberian Tiger.
Guided Safari Tours ($10 per person) are offered four times daily at 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Snacks and ice cream are available in the gift shop.
Take Highway 95 north from Lake Havasu City to Interstate 40 east to Kingman. Take exit 53 to historic Route 66 toward the Kingman airport. Turn left onto Route 66 east to Valentine, which is between mile markers 86 and 87.
13441 East Highway 66, Valentine, AZ
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Open daily year round (weather permitting)
Closed on: Tuesday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
$18 Adults, $15 Seniors 65+, $12 Children 12 & under, Children under 2 are free
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The oldest continuously inhabited mining town in Arizona, Chloride is nestled in the pocket of the Cerbat (sir-BAT) Mountain Range. The Chloride website touts its town as “A few miles off the main highway and many miles back in time.”
Chloride is at an elevation of 4,000 feet and has a population of approximately 250. Originally a mining camp, it was named for the silver chloride mined in the hills surrounding the area. Silver chloride is used in photographic emulsions and antiseptic silver solutions. During the 1899 silver strike, the town’s population swelled to over 5,000.
The town has several points of interest. Among its well known attractions are the famous Chloride Murals in a canyon above the town. The murals, entitled “The Journey: An Inner Search for Self” were painted by artist Roy Purcell in 1966 over a period of four months. Purcell is known for his innovative etchings, sculpture, and also works in watercolor, oil, pastel, glass, wood, and paper. There are also Native American Indian petroglyphs dotting the boulders near the murals.
The Chloride Visitor Center is located at the Mineshaft Market in the heart of the town. Several historic buildings remain, including a post office, train station, original two-room jail, and old bank vault. Shops feature locally produced handmade art and jewelry.
From Lake Havasu City, take Highway 95 north to Interstate 40 east to Kingman. Exit on the Beale Street/Route 93 exit, and proceed on Route 93 north until you see the exit for Chloride off to the right.
Chloride Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 268, Chloride, AZ 86431
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Grand Canyon Caverns
A must-see item on any list of Arizona road trip ideas, this natural wonder was created over a period of 35 million years. Grand Canyon Caverns is a natural limestone cavern and the largest dry cavern in the U.S. The air in the cavern is drawn in from the Grand Canyon through 60 miles of limestone caves and crevasses.
The guided tour begins with a descent of 210 feet underground via an elevator. The huge caverns are large enough to accommodate three football fields, and hold an array of stunning crystals. Tour options include the standard ¾ mile tour, an off-trail exploratory tour, the Flashlight Tour, and a shorter tour that is handicapped accessible.
If all the exploring has made you hungry, the Cavern Restaurant serves hearty meals and has a full bar. Their specialties include hand-scooped shakes and floats. The ambience can best be described as “19th century mining camp meets 20th century kitsch,” with old mining implements alongside neon beer signs.
From Lake Havasu City, take Highway 95 north to Interstate 40 east and proceed for roughly 43 miles to Exit 53 toward State Route 66. Take Route 66 east for 47 miles to Peach Springs. Just past Peach Springs, there is a marked turnoff to the Grand Canyon Caverns on the right.
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The town of Oatman is a unique reminder of the Old West and one of countless gold mining towns that sprung up in the latter half of the 19th century.
This is one of the only Arizona day trips where you can stroll along the wooden sidewalks and witness reenactments of a Wild West shootout by gunslingers dressed in period costume. Visitors can also see the Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding night in 1939.
One of Oatman’s claims to fame is the burros that roam the streets looking for edible handouts. Carrots are available for purchase from local shops for just that purpose. The burros are direct descendants of the pack animals that were brought to the area by gold miners during the 1800s. With the coming of WWII, the gold mines surrounding Oatman were shut down, and the burros were set free to roam the hills.
The town’s many shops sell unique items, including antiques, handmade jewelry, and leather goods. There’s no shortage of restaurants and bars to choose from, so you need not leave town hungry.
From Lake Havasu City, take Highway 95 north to Interstate 40 west exit 1 toward Golden Shores/Oatman, then turn right onto Oatman/Topock Highway, which is County Highway 10. Proceed 25 miles to Oatman.
Oatman - Goldroad Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 423
Hopefully by now you have some pretty good Arizona road trip ideas
, but don’t forget about the wonderful Lake Havasu, Arizona adventure tours
that are available in town! Find affordable Arizona travel deals
and come let loose in Arizona’s playground.