Picacho State Recreation Area (in California) is 32 miles from the RV park we are staying in. The first 14 miles flew by on paved roads, the last 18 unpaved miles were a different story. After 45 minutes of bumping and bouncing along the gravel road we arrived at the state recreation area. The views were pretty amazing when we drove through the mountainous area though we were taken aback when we came upon the razor wire fence. Turned out the fence was around the Picacho Gold Mine.

The recreation area is a winter and spring haven for campers, anglers, hikers and those who love a desert environment. The Colorado River is one boarder of the rec area allowing people an alternate route in. We saw a couple of boats parked at the docks.

Around 1862 a young prospector discovered gold in the hard rock surrounding Picacho Peak. By 1890 a successful, large-scale gold mining operation was booming. At the turn of the 20th century, steam-powered paddlewheel boats traveling the Lower Colorado River delivered mining supplies and passengers to a growing town. We hiked the trail to the mill sites.

Zaph enjoying a rest break while Ed and I explored the mill sites.

The ruins of the lower mill site.


The Imperial Dam created the Imperial Reservoir as well as a number of lakes. Taylor Lake is a short drive from the main campground.

An interesting rock formation on the hike into Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon is aptly named. The red rocks glow in the sunlight.

There is alternate driving route to exit the recreation area. As it involved four wheel drive roads, we opted to bounce and bump out on the two wheel drive we drove in on. Ed says the truck in trailer hauling configuration accentuates all of the bumps --- a lighter truck with less air in the tires would have made a nicer ride.