Walking Yuma’s West Wetlands Park


Experience the Colorado Riverfront & An Abundance of Birds and Blooms

A Love Your Parks Tour #OneHourWalk Story by Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith, assigned by Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, author of the best-seller “Women & Heart Disease: The Real Story.


Every time we visit Yuma, Arizona we go for a sunrise walk in West Wetlands Park. This 110-acre park runs along the beautiful lower Colorado River.

West Wetlands Park is a wonderful year-round destination for bird watching, fishing, boating and kayaking, family gatherings and picnics, and nature walks that lead you along the riverfront, and through gardens and areas restored with local native trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs.

An ideal #OneHourWalk in the park starts at the fishing pond, and leads you down to Centennial Beach boat launch and picnic area, and west along the cottonwood and willow tree shaded riverfront. Keep your eyes peeled for southwestern willow flycatchers, yellow billed cuckoos, and waterfowl such as moorhens, anhingas, egrets, herons and ducks. You may even get lucky and see beaver like we did a few days ago!

Continue west to the new and informative “eco-camp” outdoor education grove adjacent to the beaver pond. Then its off to the little foot bridge that crosses over to the Playa Linda beach area, a popular place to relax and enjoy the sunshine, big open blue sky and cool river. The trail continues through the newly planted Gowan Grove of saplings. Once you reach the RV park, go up to the Butterfly Garden that features all kinds of sage and flowering shrubs. Here you’ll see a statue honoring the Mormon Battalion, a nod to Yuma’s rich history of being the crossing grounds for a number of explorers and expeditions, including the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition from Mexico to San Francisco.

The trail now heads back towards the fishing pond, past the Arizona Public Service Solar Demonstration Garden, to the Ed Pastor Hummingbird Garden. Enjoy the vibrant scent of blossoming southwestern desert flora that include fairy dusters, honeysuckle, bottlebrush, bird of paradise, chaste, and a variety of sage, yucca and cactus species. Not to mention the spring and summer blooms from the mesquite, acacia, palo verde and desert willow trees, who provide shade and shelter to the numerous birds that call the wetlands their home. Hummingbirds zoom all over the place in a territorial frenzy, while butterflies float along with the cool morning and late afternoon breezes. Look out for bunnies and lizards, as well as abundant bird life that range from vermillion flycatchers and warblers, to mockingbirds, woodpeckers, roadrunners, quail, thrashers, and hawks.

From the gardens you can cross over to the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground and back to the fishing pond that’s a popular hangout for grackles, doves, ducks and geese, as well as an occasional osprey, heron or egret. There are ramadas and shaded bench areas throughout the park, as well as playgrounds, a dog park area, multi-use trails, 9-hole disc golf course, and clean restrooms.

As one stands amid the colorful flowers and lively birds, soaking in the views of lush green spaces and the cool ripples of the Colorado River, it’s hard to believe this oasis was once the local landfill! A wonderful story of restoration and community beautification.

“Physical activity can lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol, decrease your blood sugar and therefore your risk for diabetes, and overall reduces your chances of dying from heart disease related illness. The minimal goal for good heart health is 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity.” Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, author of “Women & Heart Disease: The Real Story.” www.WomenandHeartDiseaseBook.com

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