Picacho State Recreation Area RV & Campground Guide


Walk in the footsteps of historic gold miners at Picacho State Recreation Area, a remote park located deep in the arid desert on the California/Arizona border. The closest towns are Yuma, AZ, which is 26 miles to the south, and Winterhaven, CA, which is about 23 miles to the south. At Picacho, you can get off the beaten path while you fish in the Colorado River with other anglers or hike beneath towering red rock cliffs in total silence. The landscape is rugged and beautiful, and every hike brings the possibility of discovering artifacts left behind from the gold rush in the 1800s. Keep in mind that the park is exceptionally remote, so it’s a good idea to pack extra water and supplies. The weather is just as intense as the terrain, with blistering summers and pleasant winters.

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Spring 60-88 F
Summer 83-108 F
Fall 70-90 F
Winter 50-70 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Picacho State Recreation Area

Stay comfortable during any time of the year at Picacho State Recreation Area in an RV. Whether it’s a chilly winter evening or a scorching summer day, an RV serves as a cozy escape. Haven’t chosen your own RV yet? An RV rental is a fun way to try out any model on the market.

Picacho Main Campground

Sleep just steps from the Colorado River at Picacho Main Campground, which is located inside Picacho State Recreation Area. With 54 sites, this is a fun place for families and adventurers alike. There are no hookups here, but you will find drinkable water and a handy dump station on-site. The campground even has toilets and solar showers to keep everyone comfortable. 

Keep in mind that this is not a party spot; Picacho State Recreation Area has strict noise regulations to protect the local wildlife. All sites at this campground are first come, first served, but it’s usually relatively easy to find a site. The nightly rate at Picacho is $20 for up to two vehicles (your RV counts as a vehicle) and $40 for three vehicles. Senior citizens get a discount of $2 per night.

Rivers Edge RV Resort

If you’re looking for a spot with full hookups, or if you want to avoid driving an RV on dirt roads, Rivers Edge RV Resort is a convenient option. It’s located in Winterhaven, just over an hour south of Picacho State Recreation Area. Here, you’ll find a wide range of luxuries, including free cable TV, phone hookups, hot showers, and a laundry room. 

Meet other campers in the pool hall or card room, or cool off on a hot day with a swim in the pool. After an adventurous day of fishing and hiking, the two hot tubs are a welcome spot to rest. Nightly rates vary, and the park offers discounts for weekly and monthly stays.

Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

Are you looking for a budget-friendly campsite? The Bureau of Land Management-run Mittry Lake Wildlife Area campground is a great option. Sites here are primitive, but they're completely free. Plus, since this campground is located just 7 miles from Yuma, you don't have to drive for long on unpaved roads. Road conditions can vary based on the season and weather, so it's a good idea to drive ahead before heading out in your RV.

RV Rentals Near Picacho State Recreation Area

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Picacho State Recreation Area

Inside Picacho State Recreation Area

Many visitors head to Picacho State Recreation Area for the Colorado River; the wide expanse of water is perfect for boating and fishing. If you’re comfortable riding the wake of passing boats, kayaking and canoeing are fun ways to explore the shore. Prefer to stay on land? Layer on the sunscreen and head out into the wilderness. Walk through gold mining history on the Stamp Mill Trail or enjoy the lovely views on the easy Red Rock Canyon Trail. If you have a four-wheeler, feel free to bring it and explore the remote reaches of the park, but make sure it’s road-legal in California.

Outside Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area is in a remarkably remote section of the Sonoran Desert; there are things to do around the park, but it’s safe to expect a bit of a drive. Given the road quality in the area, it’s helpful if you have a passenger vehicle so that you can leave the RV behind.


The nearest restaurants to Picacho State Recreation Area are located in Yuma, which is about an hour south. Here are some great spots:

Ana's Pupusas

If you haven’t tried pupusas, a flatbread stuffed with savory fillings, Ana’s is the place to go. This low-key spot also serves Mexican favorites. It's located at 3843 W. 8th St. in Yuma.

Type: Pupusas

Location: Yuma, AZ


Craving one last meal of sushi before you head into the desert? You’ll find it here, along with hearty steaks and delicious cocktails. The restaurant sits at 1325 Yuma Palms Pkwy. Ste. 3 in Yuma.

Type: Sushi

Location: Yuma, AZ

Mr. G’s Drive-In

Load up on tacos, burritos, and other classic Mexican dishes at Mr. G’s. Dine outside or in the airy dining room at 501 S. 4th Ave. in Yuma.

Type: Mexican

Location: Yuma, AZ

River City Grill

With an eclectic menu that covers everything from seafood to Indian food, River City Grill has something for every taste. Be sure to check out the excellent wine list at this restaurant, which is located at 600 W. 3rd St. in Yuma.

Type: Variety

Location: Yuma, AZ

Da Boyz Italian Cuisine

Bring your appetite to this friendly spot, which serves Italian staples such as calzones, pasta, and pizza. You'll find it in Yuma at 284 S. Main Street.

Type: Italian

Location: Yuma, AZ


Dream Gift Shop

Pick up a souvenir or a cozy piece of clothing at this charming shop. The address is 250 S. Madison Ave., Yuma, AZ.

Location: Yuma, AZ

Bandana Books

Pick up a new novel at this small locally owned bookstore. They're in Yuma at 395 S. Main Street.

Location: Yuma, AZ

Timeless Elegance Antiques

With its unique selection, this store is the perfect spot to discover new pieces for your collection. Their address is 315 S. Main Street, Yuma, AZ.

Location: Yuma, AZ

Sonoran Cycles Bike Shop

Get your bike repaired or pick up any last-minute supplies you need before heading out for some desert cycling. You can find this shop in Yuma at 281 S. Main Street.

Location: Yuma, AZ


Colorado River Boating Trail

Float 76 miles along the Colorado River on the local section of the trail, which runs from Blythe in the north to the Imperial Dam near Winterhaven in the south. The trail runs right through Picacho State Recreation Area. 

Location: Blythe, CA

Castle Dome City

This gold mining ghost town is well worth a few hours of exploration. It gives you a thrilling look into what life was like during the 1800s. From the mills to the mercantile and the old saloons, there’s plenty to check out.

Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

Bring your OHVs or your fishing poles and head to this protected area, which is run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It’s also a popular spot for swimming and boating. Don’t worry if you hear weapons; the Yuma Proving Ground isn’t far away.

Little Picacho Wilderness Area

Another BLM wilderness area, this spot is perfect for off-the-grid hiking. Motorized vehicles are prohibited, so you can explore the arid landscape in silence.

Valley of the Names

At this unusual spot located between Yuma and Picacho State Recreation Area, you’ll see a huge range of names and other inscriptions decorating the desert. Most have been made from dark rocks, and some have been there since World War II when soldiers left their mark.

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How to Get to
Picacho State Recreation Area

To get to Picacho State Recreation Area, you’ll need to go through Yuma. The easiest route is to hop on Interstate 8 east from San Diego or west from the Phoenix area. Once you reach Yuma, just take Picacho Road north until you hit the park. Keep in mind that this road is largely unpaved. It’s usually easy to navigate in an RV, but after a thunderstorm, you might encounter sections that are flooded or completely washed out.

By Car

Entering Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This means that you can visit at any time.

Picacho State Recreation Area Day-use per vehicle : $10.0

Picacho State Recreation Area Senior day-use per vehicle : $9.0

Picacho State Recreation Area Extra vehicle : $10.0

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Frequently Asked Questions About Picacho State Recreation Area

What is the best time of year to visit Picacho State Recreation Area?

Rangers at Picacho State Recreation Area suggest the best time to visit is mid-October through April for ideal temperatures. Activities at the park include camping, boating, swimming, hiking, and wildlife watching.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Picacho State Recreation Area?

Bird watchers will have a chance to see thousands of migratory waterfowl. Wildlife watchers will enjoy seeing the local wildlife, including bighorn sheep, wild burros, coyotes, owls, hawks, snakes, and weasels.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Picacho State Recreation Area?

The park has 54 family campsites, and campsite amenities include a fire ring and picnic table. The campgrounds have drinking water, solar showers, and chemical toilets. There are no hookups available.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Picacho State Recreation Area and what is the cost?

Picacho State Recreation Area reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Campers cannot make reservations online. Campers need to contact the park directly for reservations and fee information. There is a non-refundable $20 reservation fee.

Are pets allowed at Picacho State Recreation Area?

Picacho State Recreation Area allows dogs in developed areas, including campgrounds and roads. Dogs are not allowed on trails or beaches. Dogs must be in vehicles at night, and owners must properly dispose of animal waste.