National Recreation Trails Database

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Painted Desert Trail

Location 40 mi. N of Yuma in the Imperial Nat. Wildlife Refuge.
State(s) Arizona
Counties La Paz
Type Backcountry
Length 1.30 Miles / 2.09 Km Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Agency U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Entry Fee? No Parking Fee? No





The Painted Desert Trail was developed by the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps). Construction began in 1980 and the trail officially opened on November 4, 1983. The trail is 1.3 miles with trail markers interpreting the geologic and natural history of the area. It traverses two washes and climbs over a mesa with a picturesque view of the Lower Colorado River Valley and Sonoran Desert.

The trail is maintained by Refuge volunteers and is used by a variety of visitors, from fourth grade school children on field trips to adventurous people enjoying a full moon hike. The Painted Desert Trail is the only designated trail on the Refuge and provides visitors an opportunity to explore the Lower Colorado River Valley and Sonoran Desert. As a National Wildlife Refuge, the trail fulfills four of the "big 6" compatible wildlife-dependent recreational activities, which are: wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.


Visitor Information

Date Opens: 1/1 - Date Closes: 12/31

Time Opens: Not Available - Time Closes: Not Available


From Yuma: Travel north on Highway 95. Near Milepost 47 turn left onto Martinez Lake Road. Follow Martinez Lake Road west for approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto Red Cloud Mine Road and follow signs directing you to the Visitor Center.


Additional Information

Width: 36 inches.

Primary Surface: Sand

Secondary Surface: Sand

Average Grade: 3%

Elevation Low Point: 185

Elevation High Point: 280

Year Designated: 2005

Date Last Updated: 04/30/2013


Contact Information

Information Contact:
Sue Mcdonald

Trail Management:
Ken Edwards
PO Box 72217
Yuma , AZ 85365
(928) 783-3371


Related Webpages and Documents

Title Type Link
Trail information Website View/Download



Do you see a problem with this trail data? Contact either the trail manager (listed above) or email


NOTE: The information on this web site and/or in this database is provided for the convenience of the public, trail managers, organizations, elected officials, etc. Neither the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, nor American Trails can guarantee that the information is accurate. Trail users are urged to inquire locally about weather, trail conditions, trail characteristics, fees, and regulations! The information on this web site and/or in this database should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government, and any mention of trade names, commercial products, or businesses does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.




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