70 London Bridge Road ♦ Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
928-855-7171 ♦ Website
March 5, 2016: This was the last activity I did while I was staying at Needles Marina RV Park in California. And I’m so glad I didn’t miss it since the only way to see the beautiful Topock Gorge, part of the 44,000 acre Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, is by boat. One of the last remaining natural stretches of the lower Colorado River flows through this 20-mile long gorge. You travel about 50 miles round trip and this tour usually takes about 2.5 hours total.
The first cool thing is going under the iconic London Bridge and Captain Sean gives some interesting history and information about how and why it got all the way here in the desert from 5,400 miles away. Fun facts about the London Bridge.
While they have comfy seating in this air conditioned section, and I loved the big windows on the side and even the rooftop views, I just couldn’t sit still inside on such a gorgeous day!
I chose to be out on the back deck pretty much the whole time. Not only for better pictures, but I enjoyed the sun and watching the wake behind us.
Getting to the gorge, they travel at a good clip to get us there, but still the passing scenery is fun to see go by.
Entering the gorge, the pace becomes more leisurely as we enter a no-wake zone.
I loved how they pointed out interesting rock formations along the way. This one is called scorpion rock. Can you see why?
No matter what the shape or size, there are so many interesting formations and colors along this scenic gorge.
These massive boulders looked like they had been used for a giant’s target practice to me.
Something about this section looked a little spooky to me, like it was haunted or something, but still neat looking.
Approaching this hillside, without Captain Sean pointing it out, I don’t think I would have seen that on either side of the light colored trail are ancient Indian petroglyphs. It was nice that he could pull in close enough for us to get a good look and close-up photos.
Kenn (Captain Sean’s dad and owner of Bluewater) was on board and said he once took some experts from National Geographic out for closer access. They said this type of markings are alike from Utah to the Pacific Coast. They’re believed to be about 3,500 years old, left by a tribe traveling through the region who traded with other tribes along the way. One way of telling the age is by the natural color of the rock. It takes 5,000 years for the sun to bake that darker color on.
There was lots of other boat traffic on the water and scenes like this with people pulled up along the shores were common. This one looked like a page from the Castaways to me.
More boat traffic, but I thought this made a pretty scene.
I thought these sand dunes and huge palm tree looked more fitting for a tropical setting than the desert.
On the way back, Capt. Sean pointed out more formations that have become so recognizable, they’re named. This one is named Stargazer – according to Indian lore, if you’re traveling downriver and he opens his eye, you’re assured safe passage. If not, you’re in for trouble. I wondered whether to point out to the captain that the eye looked closed to me.
But as we got closer alongside it, I could make out the little hole of the Stargazer’s eye, so I figured we were good to go. Kenn told me the facts behind the lore is that if there is a higher flood flow (more treacherous waters), the elevation doesn’t allow the view of the eye.
(I love these kind of stories, but I have to admit, it just looks like a gorilla head to me.)
This is called Praying Indian and I can totally see this one in profile. Kenn said he can’t find a reference or further explanation of it, but National Geographic magazine called it that years ago.
And even when a story wasn’t told or a likeness pointed out, I made up my own. When I looked back and saw this rock looking so precariously perched, I thought for sure it was going to be falling down any minute. When I looked at the picture, I see the rock as the head of a woman wearing a long skirt that flows down the hillside.
Captain Sean, Kenn and the crew were always on the lookout for the wildlife that is frequently seen, including big horn sheep, wild burro and coyote, but we didn’t spot any during our tour. When they do, they take the time to let you get pictures and that would extend the tour time.
I enjoyed the trip so much, I got a picture taken of me with the crew, a true family affair. I told 8 year old Mason it was a tradition of mine to get my picture taken with cute guys and he was the cutest yet! 🙂
Good trip, y’all – I highly recommend it when you’re in the Lake Havasu area!
YouTube (30 sec. slide show)
Wandering Chick Blog – Has some neat photos
USA Today article – Has info on camping nearby