Flying high before leaving Arizona – Parker, AZ

As we begin our trek north, our final stop in Arizona was at Buckskin Mountain State Park, scenically located between the Buckskin Mountains and the Colorado River.  It’s also situated along the Parker Strip, an 18-mile stretch of land that runs between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam.  The stay here was shortened due to our 10-day detour to Mexico, but it turned out to be a delightful respite with excellent views of the river and surrounding mountains, plus a special surprise.

Buckskin Mountain State Park
Yup, that’s California over there!

We didn’t waste any time exploring the park, and followed a connecting trail that led to a nearby overlook.  From the top we had a commanding view of the Colorado River that separates Arizona and California, and the mountains that line the river on both sides.

Buckskin Mountain State Park
A great view from the nearby hilltop

With the short time we had here, we decided to combine several trails to create an excellent hike – the Lightning Bolt, Buckskin, Abandoned Mines and Interruption Point trails.  It added up to just over four miles, but was good enough to give us a decent workout with interesting views.

Buckskin Mountains
This guy is happy to be back on the trail again!

Amidst this rugged desert landscape were a few budding Beavertail Cactus, some Creosote bushes and a lone Saguaro.

Beavertail Cactus
I spotted a lone Beavertail Cactus bloom
Beavertail Cactus
Beavertail Cactus full of buds
Interruption Point Trail
Steve is always way ahead of me, and here he is arriving at Interruption Point

Lonesome Barrel Cactus

Buckskin Trail
The Buckskin trails are well maintained and provide a good workout

We were impressed that an overpass had been built just for hikers from the campground who want to check out the interesting trails and old copper mines.

Buckskin Trail at Highway 93
Pedestrian Bridge aptly named Buckskin Trail crosses Highway 93

A few weeks from now these dainty wildflowers will spring up everywhere to give the copper-colored mountains some beautiful color contrasts.

Notch-Leaf Phacelia
Notch-Leaf Phacelia



But the highlight of this stop turned out to be a flight aboard the sleek Cessna Corvallis TT owned and piloted by Rod, Steve’s pilot buddy who stopped by on his way to Scottsdale from northern California.

Is this thing gorgeous or what? Twin-turbocharged and over 300 horsepower!
Steve was blown away by the the all-glass cockpit and over-the-top features of this plane. What a thrill it was to take a ride around the area.
Steve takes the controls for our tour, the first time he’s done so in several years
We flew over Parker Dam, the “deepest dam in the world.”  What makes it the deepest is the fact that 235′ of its 320′ height are sunk beneath the river bed.
Parker Dam
It’s a concrete arch-gravity dam built between 1934 and 1938 by the Bureau of Reclamation.  It’s a hydroelectric power dam that created Lake Havasu.
Parker Dam, Arizona
 We also did a flyover of our RV park…
Buckskin Mountain State Park
 …and tried to zoom in on Betsy – but she was well-hidden in the trees
A selfie of Rod and the happy passengers
Thank You, Rod for the ride, We had so much fun!
Thank you for the ride Rod, we had a great time in your fantastic plane!
It was a short but exciting last stop in Arizona, and now we’re moving from a river to a lake…



  1. Hay guys!! Great blog installment. Buckskin and surrounding area is one of our most favorite places…been there several times (we like space #13, up against the rocks.). We are back home in Silver Lake, arrived yesterday. Hope to see you again soon!

  2. Hi guys! Glad you enjoyed Buckskin Park! It is one of our favorite parks! Loved the photos from the plane, another prospective!! We got home yesterday, the “boys” are happy to roam without least!! Safe travels !!👍

  3. As we said before, fabulous plane! Lucky dogs! Great aerial photos of the dam also. We stayed at Buckskin a few years ago and really enjoyed the park with one exception….the water tasted very bad and we ended up drinking bottled water the entire time, did you have that problem?

  4. What a fun adventure! We’ve never been to Buckskin SP — it looks beautiful from your photos. Of course, we won’t get to see it from the air, but it still looks like a good place to stay. Great hike, and I appreciate that you i.d. the wildflowers.

  5. Whatta thrill! I’ve traveled by a 6-passenger train before, but not as fancy as that. You keep adding up awesome experiences one after another. So exciting!

  6. Your pictures of the color in the rocks and the flowers is beautiful. This looks like a wonderful spot for nature loving. Thanks for putting it on my radar. How nice to have friends to take you to high places.

  7. I’m always lagging behind, too … must have something to do with the camera ;-)) That’s a snazzy plane that Steve’s friend has … nice that you got a chance to go up and see the area from the air.

  8. Great last stop in Arizona! Nice to see you had some wildflowers to brighten the trails:) Love that Beavertail bloom! How nice of Steve’s friend to stop and take you up for the sky view of the area. What terrific photos of the dam and river:) Lucky you two and such a beautiful plane.

  9. The prickly pear and buckhorn are about to bloom…you need to come back. I used to (70’s) get rides from my dads friend in a Cessna…so cool. Headed up to that area the first of April for a few days.

  10. What a thrilling experience! I have fond memories of that area from many years ago. We often brought our speedboat to the Parker area for some sun and waterskiing. Great times!

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