Parker Dam Loop + ADD NEW ROUTE
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Starting in Parker, Arizona at the main intersection of California and Riverside (where Hwy. 95 makes a right turn), head north on California Ave. over the Colorado River. At the stop sign (you are now in California State), turn right (northeast) on Parker Dam Road. After 17 miles, Black Meadow Landing Road is on the left. This is a 20 mile spur well worth taking. Then proceed another 1 mile to the dam. Cross over to leave the dam to return on the Arizona side on Hwy. 95 for 16 miles back to Parker.
Due to numerous dams, the Colorado River is always wide and relatively slow which makes it ideal for recreation. This route circles a popular area for various water sports. The crossing over the river on the auto route is parallel to the picturesque railroad bridge. Immediately on the California side is the location of Earp, CA, named after the famous lawman, Wyatt Earp. He had many mining claims in this area along with the only permanent home he ever actually owned. None of his stuff is around now, however.
As you proceed along the river, you will see sedimentary rock mostly, left by ancient lakes and streams. This soon turns into more jagged and prominent basalt from old lava flows. Some of these hills go straight up from the roadway. You will have views of the vacation homes along the river, mostly on the Arizona side. The California side is primarily r.v. parks. Along here, wild burros are frequently wandering around.
The spur to Black Meadow Landing is 20 miles of frequent tight turns and amazing views of the jagged rock formations. I have seen deer, burros, coyotes, buzzards, and, once, a tarantula crossing the road. There is a café at the end in the r.v. park that is a good place for a non-crowded lunch.
Back to the main road-it is only a short distance to the Parker Dam. There is a good parking area before you cross over on the dam. Caution: no trailers are allowed-even m.c. trailers.
The route back to Parker is along a scenic faster road which cuts through the jagged rock formations and has much more traffic, although I often take the side local road along the homes by the river.
There is a big difference as along the California side, the pavement is about a 3 mostly, but there are sharp 20 mph turns that can surprise a biker. Go along here for the scenery, not the ride. The Black Meadow Landing Road is a 3 for the first half, but a 2 for the last 5 miles. It's okay is you just go slow. Coming back on the Arizona side (Hwy. 95) is a 5 star road.
There are a couple of restaurants before the dam, and from the dam back to Parker are restaurants and gas. In Parker, there is a motorcycle dealer and regular full services of all types.
This is the most scenic road within 100 miles of this part of the AZ/CA border.
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