There are some beautiful areas a short drive from Lake Havasu City to take your rented kayak if you prefer to get away from the busy channel and lake waters near the city proper. One of those is the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge about 20 minutes south toward Parker. You can launch just a short distance from the 95 highway, making this a quick day-trip exploration with your kayak. See rates and more information about our rentals.
Situated in central-western Arizona along the Lower Colorado River, the Bill Williams River extends a short 40 miles before emptying into the Colorado River at Lake Havasu. A portion of the river and its unique habitat are protected within the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge and offers a glimpse into what this landscape looked like hundreds of years ago.
Earliest written records of the area come from Spanish explorers who traveled through here as early as 1598. Along with the western explorers that followed, they took note of the ecologically rich landscape, including documentation of miles-thick stands of cottonwood and willow trees along the river’s banks, as well as the abundance of mesquite above the river. Today, the refuge holds one of the last stands of naturally regenerated cottonwood-willow forest along the lower Colorado River and is one of the last ecologically functioning riparian areas in the southwest United States. Though very small, the refuge has retained nearly all of the original terrestrial wildlife species found here at the time of exploration.
Originally part of Havasu Lake National Wildlife Refuge, it was decided in 1993 that the 6,100-acre tract should be managed as a separate refuge due to its uniqueness and diversity of habitat and it became the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of more than 560 national wildlife refuges, a national network of lands and waters set aside and managed for the benefit of wildlife and you.