The months of winter in Bullhead City, Arizona and the Colorado River Valley are ideally suited for adventure and exploration. And with family arriving for the Christmas holiday from the snow country of the north and east, a shared desert adventure will make memories that last a lifetime.
The quirky, fun, almost ghost town of Oatman is nestled along iconic Route 66 against the picturesque Black Mountains just fifteen miles from Bullhead City. Dating to the dawn of the 20th century Oatman, and the nearby communities of Goldroad and Old Trails purportedly had a population of more than 5,000 people during the teens.
Today the burros roam wild in the streets. And what visit to a frontier era western mining town could be considered complete without a shoot out in the street? The colorful and fun reenactments are performed daily.
The old Durlin Hotel, now the Oatman Hotel, is the oldest and tallest adobe building in Mohave County. There is an urban legend that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard stayed at the hotel on their return trip to California after their March 1939 wedding in Kingman.
There is also a legend about miners leaving money at the hotel bar to ensure they could drink between paydays. That legend has manifested in walls and ceilings adorned with dollar bills that travelers from throughout the world have personalized with greetings. And the delicious buffalo burgers are a treat that seem to taste even better in such an historic setting.
Mohave Community College offers an array of interesting classes at their campuses in Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, and Kingman. Beginning in January the Kingman campus will begin offering a series of classes on area history with internationally acclaimed author Jim Hinckley, developer of the Jim Hinckley’s America travel network, as the instructor.
These classes will include a series of walking tours. One will be along the Route 66 corridor in the historic business district of Kingman. Another will highlight historic roads on a three mile hike through Coyote Pass between Kingman and Golden Valley. Remnants of a pre Columbian Native American trade route, and the mid 19th century Mohave Prescott Road that connected Hardyville and Fort Mohave on the Colorado River with Fort Whipple at Prescott will be followed. A part of the hike will also be along an abandoned alignment of U.S. 466.
Havasu National Wildlife Area near Golden Shores, a few miles south of Fort Mohave, makes for a fascinating and unique desert adventure. This rare Colorado River riparian area is a stop on the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migratory route along the western coast of the United States. And so this is one of the best places in Arizona for bird watchers.
Bullhead City is at the heart of an array of desert adventure opportunities. But there is also fine dining in the pine forested Hualapai Mountains, festivals and events on as well as along the river, and interesting museums. For more day trip ideas stop by the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.