Three Dunes & Standard Wash

Three Dunes & Standard Wash

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 34.36186°N / 114.19734°W
Additional Information GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Hike
Sign the Climber's Log


Three Dunes
Three Dunes Campground sits on the east shore of Lake Havasu a few miles south of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Despite the name, I only saw one large sand dune. During the warmer months of the year, the area is often visited by boaters. I will describe below a path that will take you from Route 95, over the desert floor and through a small canyon to the sand dune and then brings you back via a partially different route.

Standard Wash
Standard wash sits to the west of Three Dunes area. It starts as a broad wash near Route 95, narrows to a canyon and then broadens again before reaching Lake Havasu. After Three Dunes, I went to Standard Wash but reached a 10 ft tall dry waterfall that stopped me from continuing to the lake.

Getting There

From the south end of Lake Havasu City, I drove roughly 7 miles south on Route 95 to a rest area on the west side of the road near mile marker 170.

Loop (lollipop) hike from the Route 195 rest area to Three Dunes and back seen. The line on the left shows my path to Standard Wash at the dry waterfall where I could not continue to the lake.

Three Dunes

Hiking distance from Route 95 to Lake Havasu is 3.4 milesone way via the shorter path and 3.9 miles one way via the longer path.

This is a description of my hike. There were no trails or signs.

I went to the north end of the rest area, got into a broad desert wash and started to hike in a southwesterly direction.

Start of the hike near Route 95
Crossman PeakCrossman Peak

After 0.7 miles, before reaching power lines, I reached a faint dirt road. Turned left and started walking south on the road.

Looking south

I had looked at satellite photos and knew where I was supposed to go. After a short distance on the road, I turned right leaving the road hiking down another dry wash heading southwest.

Where I left the dirt roadStart of the wash

The wash narrowed to form a canyon.


It soon opened up again.

Where the canyon opens up

Near Lake Havasu.

End of the wash near Lake Havasu

I went to the right (west) side of the wash and went up a trail on the small hill to reach the lake where the big sand dune could be seen to the right.

The big sand dune and Lake Havasu
The big sand dune

Hiked around a growth of bushes to reach the big dune.

The big sand duneThe big dune
The big sand duneThe big dune

Views from the top of the big dune.

From the top of the big sand dune
From the top of the big sand dune
From the top of the big sand duneLizard Peak
From the top of the big sand duneCrossman Peak

For return, I came back up a wash to the west of the one I had come down from. This wash did not form a canyon. It reached the same dirt road I had been on before.

Broad wash I used for my return route

Standard Wash

Standard Wash also started as a broad wash on the desert floor.

Standard WashBroad

As I continued southwest, a canyon formed.

Standard Wash forming a canyon
Standard Wash forming a canyon

The first dry fall was easy to bypass.

First dry waterfallFirst dry fall

The second one had no bypass. It was roughly 10 ft tall. I could have jumped down but I knew I could not have come back up it all alone without equipment.

Second dry waterfall in Standard WashSecond dry fall

Went up a steep slippery slope on the left canyon wall.

From the top of the canyon wall in Standard washFrom the top of the wall

Looking at Lake Havasu from the top of the wall.

Lake Havasu

Looking into the canyon at the dry fall.

Looking into the canyon

When to Hike

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



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