Thursday, January 22, 2009

Palms' last stand

There is only one place in Arizona where palm trees really belong.

Palm Canyon in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is only "natural habitat" for palm trees in the state (although there's no shortage of human-planted ones). This has intrigued the Hubs for years, and he's been wanting to see it for himself. In fact, we'd planned to go on the way home from our California trip last May, but we ran out of time.

Then, a few weeks ago, he and my dad got to conspiring, and a date was set. I guess they figured it was a good time for a road trip out there since it's not hot, and gas is still under $2 a gallon.

So Dad, Mom, the Hubs and I set off Monday morning. (I dropped a pretty big hint, didn't I?)

We drove west for a couple hours until we got to Quartzite. We kept driving.

At the Kofa Refuge, there's a dirt road that goes all the way to the base of these massive rocks, which jut up out of the dessert to form the canyon.

It's a short hike back - about half a mile - to where you can view the palms.

You would probably miss them, tucked between protective walls of rock, but there's a very helpful sign that points them out.

We did see a few families with kids make the trip. Although it wasn't strenuous, bringing a backpack carrier for little ones is a good idea. (We saw one dad with a pretty elaborate one, in case his four-year-old got worn out.)

There are plenty of rocks to sit on and enjoy the view of the majestic canyon and the funny little clump of palm trees clinging to one side of it.

Most people come, take a quick snapshot and leave. But I think it's worth sitting a spell if you can. It's not a "lost world" experience (we didn't see a single dinosaur, even though the Hubs was on the lookout). It is a beautiful place to sit and watch the sun and shadow slowly make their way across the rocks.

After the hike, we made some sandwiches and munched at the trail head. We were glad we brought our own chairs, since we didn't see any picnic tables...anywhere.

It was a fun little trip, and we found out that they do allow camping in Kofa. So we may be back to explore further later on.


  1. What a cool place. I have never heard of it, thanks for sharing. Too bad you didn't see any dinosaurs, though.

  2. Deborah: We haven't talked to anyone who's heard of it before (except the people we met on the trail)! I think there are a lot of cool places in Arizona that just don't get a lot of press.

    Who knows? Maybe there IS some tucked away corner of the state with dinosaurs. ;)


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