Welcome to SP!  -
Topock Gorge Sand Dunes

Topock Gorge Sand Dunes

Topock Gorge Sand Dunes

Page Type: Route

Location: Arizona, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 34.65301°N / 114.4384°W

Object Title: Topock Gorge Sand Dunes

GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Winter

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Hike

Route Quality: 
 - 0 Votes


Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Jan 10, 2017 / Jan 13, 2017

Object ID: 991601

Hits: 291 

Page Score: 81.7%  - 14 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote



Topock Gorge is a rugged canyon on Colorado River at the north end of Lake Havasu. USGS Maps show an area of sand dunes on the eastern side of the gorge rising 200 ft above the river sitting among jagged peaks. A Google search, had not revealed any hiking information. I had only seen a mention of the sand dunes by boaters and kayakers who had gone through the gorge. By looking at satellite photos/Google Earth, I was able to come up with a path that took me from Route 95 to the sand dunes. When I finally reached the dunes, the scenery turned out to be even more dramatic than I had imagined.

I had originally planned to start my hike at a dirt road a short distance to the north of what the map below shows. That road turned out to be gated with private property signs on it forcing me to start further south. The first 3.1 miles on the new path was in common with the last 3.1 miles of
Dead Burro Canyon loop hike. I was able to merge the two hikes into a single 17 mile hike.

Getting There

From Lake Havasu City, drive north on Route 95 past the airport and go just to the north of a hill that has communication towers on top of it on the west side of the road. At mile marker 192, you will see a dirt road on the west side of the road. Turn onto the road and park at the parking area at the beginning of the road. Four wheel drive can go a mile or so more.

Route Description

Roundtrip Hiking Distance: 15.4 miles
Total Climb: 1150 ft.

Important Note: This is a description of the path that I took. It is a hike but requires route finding skills in a wilderness. If you chose to do this hike, you must be able to find your own way.

The first 3.1 miles of this hike is in the same as the last 3.1 miles of Dead Burro Canyon loop hike. For pictures of this section see the link above.

From the parking area, head west and follow the dirt road past the hill with communications towers on top of it until the road drops into a dry wash. After 0.8 miles, you must leave this dirt road and turn north onto another dirt road that takes you on top of an embankment on the east side of another dry wash. Continue until the road drops steeply into the dry wash. Pay attention and note that the wash splits into two branches at that spot. Take the one on the left and continue up at the bottom of the small canyon past a cable marking your entrance into Lake Havasu Wilderness. The wash seems to branch at least two more times. Pay attention to your map and take the left branch both times.

In the wash south of the 1180 ft saddle
In the wash south of the 1180 ft saddle

As you go north, the wash opens up and reaches a broad 1180 ft high saddle where there are patches of beige colored dirt. The jagged Tumarion Peak comes to view.

Tumarion Peak
Tumarion Peak
Looking east from the 1180 ft saddle
looking east
Beige colored dirt at the 1180 ft saddle
Looking north
Looking south near the 1180 ft saddle
Crossman Peak, looking south

Wild burros roam around this area. Here is a zoomed photo of one that I saw at the saddle.

Wild Burro, zoomed view
Wild Burro, zoomed view

Head northwest and go down into another dry wash as it forms, going toward Tumarion Peak.

Hiking toward Tumarion Peak
Tumarion Peak
Getting into the dry wash north of the 1180 ft saddle
Palo Verde Trees in the wash

More wild burros. Zoomed view.

Wild burros, zoomed view
Wild Burros

The wash makes a 180 degree turn heading south and then anther turn to head back northwest.

In the dry wash between the sand dunes and the 1180 ft saddle

An arch on the left side of the canyon.


Brown colored jagged peaks appear in the distance.

Brown/reddish peaks not far from the lake

Another view of Tumarion and other surrounding mountains.

In the dry wash
Tumarion Peak, southwest face
Tumarion Peak

Peak 1144 ft. Lake Havasu sits behind this peak.

Peak 1144 ft
Peak 1144 ft

As you reach the base of Peak 1144 ft, sand dunes appear on the right. Leave the wash and hike up to the top of the sand dunes.

The Needles and the sand dunes
The Needles and from the sand dunes

Views from the sand dunes.

From the sand dunes, looking northwest
Looking NW
From the sand dunes, looking west
Looking west
From the sand dunes, looking east
Looking east, peak 1224 ft
The Needles from the sand dunes
The Needles, looking north

Lake Havasu from the sand dunes.

Lake Havasu and Topock Gorge from the sand dunes
Lake Havasu from the sand dunes

Lake Havasu from the sand dunes

Separation between the sand dunes and Peak 1144 ft.

Gap between sand dunes and Peak 1144 ft

When to Hike

Winter is the best time to hike. Summer can get dangerously hot.