Back Country Byways traverse scenic corridors that are off the beaten path. The Parker Dam Road "Thread of Life" highlights the scenic, natural, historic, and prehistoric values along an 11 mile (18 km) road that travels along the California shore of the Colorado River. This area has attracted people, wildlife, and vegetation along a linear oasis, creating the Thread of Life. The byway provides an abundance of recreation activities including camping, swimming, boating, fishing, rock hounding, hiking, OHV play areas, and wildlife viewing.
A valid Arizona license is required for taking wildlife (including fish) in Arizona. Details are available at the Arizona Game and Fish License Page.
Directions: The byway begins at Parker Dam and travels along the Parker Dam Road south to the boundary of the Colorado River Indian Reservation. Look for interpretive pullouts along the way.
Day Use Areas: The public can access the river at several day use areas. Most are along the Parker Dam Road. No fees for day use except where noted.
- Cable Car: river access with parking - no facilities
- Quail Hollow: river access, tree-shaded picnic areas, Back Country Byway site.
- Bullfrog: river access, swimming beach, shaded picnic areas, pit toilet. There is a $5 day use fee.
- Rock House Boat Ramp: river access, boat launch facility, pit toilet.
- River View (AZ): river access, picnic table, chemical toilet.
Public Camping: There is one public campground on the Parker Strip where camping along the Colorado River is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is a 14-day stay limit. In addition to existing rules and regulations, there are supplemental rules which are used to help manage this site.
Crossroads Campground: Located along the Colorado River, the campground has 12 undeveloped campsites with picnic tables. Pit toilets are provided. This less developed camping area has a $5 use fee, which includes overnight camping. An on-site BLM volunteer campground host can help you if needed.
Directions: Located about eight miles south of the Parker Dam on the California side of the Colorado River. Look for the BLM sign.
State Parks: Two State Parks, River Island and Buckskin Mountain, are located on the Arizona side of the Colorado River along the Parker Strip.
Open OHV Areas: There are two open off-highway vehicle areas on the California side of the Parker Strip. These are open play areas. The sites include parking area, unloading ramp, and vault toilets. Vehicles must be street legal or have state required off-highway vehicle stickers (if appropriate by your state).
Directions: Copper Basin Dunes OHV Area is located about five miles south of the Parker Dam across from Big Bend Resort. Crossroads OHV Area is located about seven miles south of the Parker Dam across from Empire Landing Campground.
Other OHV Access: Except for the Open Areas located on the Parker Strip, all OHV users must remain on existing roads and trails. Please respect the Colorado River Indian Reservation boundary along the south side of the Parker Strip.