The Best Off-Road Trails in Lake Havasu

havasu desert off road trails

The area around Lake Havasu is networked with some of the best off-road trails. They bring you through the beautiful and varied terrain of the area. You will find open desert, breath-taking canyons, sand dunes, and scrub on trails that run the gamut from easy-taking-in-nature’s-beauty to action-packed-high-speed, some with steep rock crawls and jumps. Some of the trails take you to points of interest including abandoned mines, ghost towns, and natural rock formations.

You will need a four-wheel drive vehicle, dirt bike, sand rail, ATV, or UTV to handle the unimproved conditions. Some of the areas are dangerous, with unmarked mine shafts and wild life that is best left alone.

Safety is important. Be sure to let people know where you are going and when you plan to return so they can alert authorities if you get into trouble. Pack the basics, including plenty of water, extra food, protection from the sun—eyes and skin especially. A flashlight, first aid kit and emergency shelter don’t take much space can save your life.

Among the best off-road trails at Lake Havasu, here are some close-to-town favorites:

Cattail Cove Trail

Plan for at least four hours to make the 19 mile loop  that takes you lakeside and then through rock formations and obstacles. You will want to see the famous Rovey’s Needle formation and perhaps stop for a bit where the Bill Williams River pours into Lake Havasu.  Wildlife and beauty abound. You can take on some tough terrain or bypass around these spots, depending on your ability and mood. The trail begins east of AZ 95 just north of mile marker 165. Look for a gravelly area under the power lines directly across from the entrance to the Cattail Cove State Park.

Gray Eagle Mine Trail

Located in the Buckskin Mountain State Park, this trail is a bit off the beaten track for a more peaceful experience. This rugged drive keeps traffic light. It is a dog friendly drive through beautiful vistas . The big attraction are the mines and remaining mining buildings. Use care, as mind shafts are abundant and unmarked. It is a five mile loop of mostly moderate terrain. Access is about three miles from AZ 95 near mile marker ten on Nellie Mine Road.

Crossman Peak

This 36 mile trail crosses remote desert in the vicinity of Crossman Peak.  While most of the route is moderate, there are narrow spots and rocky sections that will give you a challenge. The route is not always well marked, so you will need to pay attention. Vertical gold mine shafts drop hundreds of feet, adding to the risk. Do not attempt this route without being fully prepared for an emergency, including having ample food and water. The reward is a day of exceptional beauty away from the crowds. Access the trail east of  Lake Havasu City, south of Interstate 40.

Bison Falls

From waterfalls to saguaro cacti to expansive views, the Bison Falls trail offers it all. You will find some slippery and difficult spots, especially after rain. But going after a rain gives you the rewarded of seeing the Bison Fall in all their glory. Climb up the ridge for a panoramic view of the lake. To get there, take AZ 95 to Kiowa Blvd. heading north. Turn left on Bison Blvd. and take it to where the pavement ends. There is a flat area to park and get ready to take on the trail.

Craggy Wash

If you are looking for a good climb and excellent views close to town, Craggy Wash is a good choice. You will enjoy the dry desert terrain and canyon views through the mountains. Relatively easy during the dry season, it turns into a challenge after a rain. Stay on the trails to protect the vegetation. Turn off AZ 95 just after the airport.

Standard Wash

Standard Wash offers fun trails and beautiful scenery. You have a choice of easy loops through wide washes and other loops that give way to steep, narrow passes with wall turns and some jumps. The trails are mostly gravel. Bring water. There is no shade and no accommodations. On AZ 95 south of Lake Havasu City, past the SARA Park, turn left from the left turn lane.