When we were staying off of Plomosa Road in Quartzsite, we met some new friends, Bri and TJ, that highly recommended the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. That turned out to be a great suggestion. On our way to Yuma, AZ we stopped here for a few days. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time at Kofa NWR.
The word Kofa comes from from a decades old mining operation called King of Arizona which was located on this vast tract of land. In fact, this refuge totals 664,327 acres of land and was established in 1939. This designated land was created to help preserve the desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife.
Camping is allowed for 14 days per year in the refuge as long as you stay near the dirt roads. Many are high-clearance roads but the Palm Canyon Road and several others are fine for any vehicle.
There are absolutely no facilities here so be sure to bring everything you need for your stay. The land from the Refuge entrance to Highway 95 is a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tract so you can camp there also. See the map below. There is plenty of cell service in this area.
We hiked the short Palm Canyon Trail which has a parking space at the end of the dirt road. The most defined part of the trail ends when you see a sign that points to the direction of some Arizona native California Fan Palms which are the only native palm species in Arizona. There are a few here that have survived in the protected crevices of the rocky landscape. No one is sure how they made it to the Kofa and it is remarkable that they are here at all. It only rains 4-8 inches a year in the Kofa so the palms survive in the shaded crevices to protect themselves during the very hot summers. Farther up, the “trail” becomes more of a rock scramble than a trail but there are a few more palms along the way.
The Bighorn is parked in the Kofa facing the highest point in the refuge which is Signal Peak at 4,877 feet. The sunsets here are just wonderful and we have sat out every evening taking them in. This is a great place to just chill for a while and enjoy being in a beautiful place. It’s perfect for those who are just piddlinaround.
The map pictured from the Kofa brochure is marked with our boondocking spot on Palm Canyon Road.