Lake Havasu

My wife and I returned to Lake Havasu this past weekend for a four day three night paddling and camping trip. Last year we paddled south from Cat Tail Park,AZ to the Bill Williams Refuge Area and back. This year we wanted to start farther north at Havasu City and paddle south to Cat Tail Park.

We left Sand Diego early on Thurs morn and got to Havasu City about 10:30 AM. We unloaded all our gear at Rotary Park and I set up a shuttle with Jim Abdon the owner of WACKO (Western Arizona Canoe and Kayak Outfitters) I drove my truck down to Cat Tail Park and Jim drove down, picked my up and delivered me back to Rotary Park.Jim is a really nice guy and will do anything to help with your kayaking needs at Lake Havasu, rentals, tours, shuttle service etc.(While my wife was waiting for me to return two members from this list, “kfsrmn” and his wife (I apologize for not remembering your names)were returning from a morning paddle and filled her in on some local paddling knowledge) We finally launched at 12:30 and headed south on Lake Havasu. In case you didn’t know Havasu is Indian for “having much varied wind” and wind we got! This day as we headed SOUTH the steady light/med wind was directly in our face. We explored the coast and settled for a campsite at Friendly Isle about 5 miles from our start…

A note on camping: both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the State of Arizona have boat-in camping sites along the eastern shore of Lake Havasu. For the most part the sites are really outstanding. They are private and secluded from each other. Most have pit toilets, table, b-b-cue, trashcans, and shade awning.The BLM sites are superior and are in the process of being upgraded with only about half are finished as of this writing.

After an incredible night of quiet camping and stargazing we decided to spend a second night at this site and just explore the local waters both on the CAlifornia and the Arizona sides. We had a great day of casual paddling exploring many of the secluded coves and backwaters. That evening as we were preparing dinner a boater came by and told us that he had heard on the radio that 45 MPH winds were expected that night. Before turning in we secured everything in our campsite and I am glad we did. Because at about 2:00 in the morning I awoke to tremendous winds coming from the WEST, they were every bit of 45 MPH. Years ago we got a good deal on a Moss four season tent and I’ve always thought we bought too much of an expedition quality tent that we really wouldn’t need…well that night we needed ever bit of it’s great design and sturdiness. We came through it beautifully, only some lost sleep from the howling wind.

Next morning we got up to still lot’s of wind but this time from the NORTH which wasn’t to bad becasue we were headed south. Unfortunately, this was the day for our longest paddle and it would prove to be a real challenge as the wind was not directly behind us but off our aft quarter. We broke camp and headed south trying to hug the shore out of the wind and struggled to keep our boats going in a straight line.It turned out to be a long day on the water and we were beat up and were looking for a place to stop for the night. Unfortnately, all the sites out of the wind were filled with day use boaters. Finally after about ten miles we found an open site, protected from the wind and camped for the night.

At dawn the following morning we paddled (thankfully the wind had died down by then) the final mile and half to Cat Tail Park and the end of our trip.

Despite the winds of this trip we really enjoyed Lake Havasu again. Anyone who is from So Cal and enjoys camping out of their boats it’s really a no-brainer of a trip. It would really be a great place for first timers as well.You can really plan any length of a trip from a short day trip to a muti day adventure.

One issue that should be noted… there are lots of boats on the lake and there is noise pollution during the days but it is dead quiet at night. The boats did not pose any kind of threat to us however, as most stayed to cruising down the center of the Lake, avoiding the shoreline because of all the submerged rocks and shoals.

I’ve posted some pictures at the following site:

Nice report and pictures
Enjoyed your report. Isn’t it nice when something you buy (your tent) actually performs like it should!!

I would like to get down to Lake Powell sometime, while it is down to see the canyons now visible.

Glad To See
Glad to see parts of Havasu isn’t as insane as the main body. Photo shows why so many people have moved there over the years. Was told there’s 200,000 in the area now. It a small town when I first went there.

Some places agencies require that you camp in designated areas. Is that true at Havasu?

A powerboater told me that huge fast boats turn the middle of the lake into a boiling pot of waves. Cigarette boats are there. The wakes crash into each other from all directions. During the heat of the day 3 and 4 foot waves can pop up out of nowhere.

Thanks for the posting and pics