To The Editor: Does Parker hate tents?

Here’s an email:

“The Parker Strip is awesome and we love to camp on the river. But almost every camp site is for RVs only and tents are not allowed! Even in places that are managed by BLM, like the Parker Dam Road on the California side, we couldn’t find a single tent site, and most of them are day visit only. Is this new? Does Parker hate tents?”

– Tenting Everywhere Not Taken

Thanks for that question, TENT. What is it? Do we not like s’mores? Do we hate hippies?

There’s no doubt that the gist of what you’re saying is correct; the Parker Strip is generally populated much more by RVs and trailers than by tents. There are probably a few reasons for that:

  • Many of our area’s visitors are packing other big vehicles too, including boats and personal watercraft, UTVs and dirt bikes, so they’re not exactly traveling light;
  • In the winter, many of our visitors are staying for months at a time and RVs are definitely the home-on-wheels of choice;
  • A lot of the year, the weather is more suitable for RVs with air conditioning.

Nevertheless, camping is a thing around here, so one would assume there’d be places for tent camping on the Strip. I reached out to the federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the California side of the Parker Strip recreation area, and asked them if they’ve recently decided they hate tent campers.

“There haven’t been any recent changes and currently the only BLM operated site available for tent camping is Crossroads, however it is open to RVs as well,” said Lee Tucker, Public Affairs Officer for the BLM’s Colorado River District. “That said, we are in the process of transitioning the Bullfrog Day Use area to a camping only site and hope to have that available in the near future. Lastly, a number of the resorts along the river do offer tent camping.”

So, good news on the horizon, TENT, with a whole new camping area opening up for tents on the river. I also happen to know that Buckskin Mountain State Park has room for tents and I’m sure that’s true of some of the other parks and resorts too, though it’s also true that most of them are geared up primarily for RVs (that’s simply where the market is).

Remember there are always areas of the open desert that are good for camping; some areas accessible off Shea Road are popular for that. And, if you have a boat, there are some spaces available only by water on the lower end of Lake Havasu. The photo above is of my own camp, having a great s’moring time with the family not far from Parker Dam last year.

Have fun!

JW

PS- Check the comments section below for some other ideas.

15 comments

  1. Joe Sena

    Should have been here last weekend, the boat race was intense. !

  2. River Lodge Resort on the California side, in Parker Dam, CA has TONS of tent sites in their beautiful campground. The sites have hookups for RV’s but are also for tent camping. Visit their site http://www.riverlodgeresort.com/home.html

  3. On the az side River Island and Cattail cove allow tents

  4. Judy Jordan Shields

    Use to camp at Echo Lodge on CA side of river. Was great !

  5. Wendy Wynkoop

    Just set up a tent across the street from patria flats…..thers the guys thats been living ther in a tent for free for years.

  6. Teresa Wendland

    We used to tent camp – at Foxes & a few other places, all on the AZ side of the strip

  7. Used to spend 52 days a year tent camping at Fox’s on the Parker Strip only we had our water bed, swamp coolers and stereo in are tents. Back in the day. That’s to bad that there not letting people tent camp on the river.

  8. Are you new? If you love camping on the river then you obviously should know more. Seems this person was more interested in complaining rather than making a phone call. You can put up a tent just about anywhere on the AZ side. When you’re talking about the ‘camp site’ areas run by BLM on the CA side…that is not Parker. So the question should probably be, does BLM hate tents…or CA? The answer is yes. BLM has never liked the idea of people camping, unless they can make a profit. Speaking of profit, TENT…are you sure you’re just not irked that you can’t camp somewhere along the river for free?

  9. Wait, so, the CA side of the Parker Strip is not Parker, but the AZ side is? That’s a pretty odd designation I think. I assumed the author of this meant ‘the Parker area’ in the way most visitors do.

  10. No, the CA side is Earp & Parker Dam. The AZ ‘side’ isn’t necessarily Parker either. It’s pretty odd to designate Lake Havasu as being Parker. How about south of Parker…where does ‘the Parker area’ lay John? I could assume that the author meant the Parker area but I hesitate to do that. The email kind of comes off on a dig to Parker in general. Of course there’s places to tent camp. It’s almost like this email is fake & being used as a condescending way of bringing up that there’s little to no camping at the BLM parks. Perhaps the author has had better luck in finding these areas up & down the Colorado River & just had to ask in the manner & way in which was done. If assuming, I would think the author has experience with this as stated & already should know the answer to this or would at least be smart enough to find a place on either side of ‘the Parker Strip’. Does parkerliveonline ‘hate’ rhetorical comment?

  11. Wow, you take this way more seriously than I thought. Never mind. Have a good night!

  12. I guess this discussion got a little too in tents.

  13. That was good…

  14. Used to be that one could pitch a tent almost anywhere along both side of the river either free or very cheap. BLM screwed that up in the 70’s and further in the 80’s. Thousands of people would camp on the weekends. The Hell’s Angels used to bring in about 1500 folks and camp along Cali side. Now it’s all for profit. Progress?

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