One step at a time: Yuma area offers many options for walkers
For some people, a walk means leaving trails and roads, hiking through washes and canyons, over hills and onward to places in the desert where they're likelier to see wildlife than other people.
Others are happy enough getting their hearts pumping in a brisk walk on a concrete walking path that leads them in long, wide circular routes around a city park.
Wherever hikers and walkers like to go, the Yuma area offers a variety of options where rubber meets the road – or trail, or track. Here are some of the notable ones:
Little Picacho Wilderness Area
Located on California's side of the Colorado River, about 25 miles from Yuma, the Little Picacho features washes and rugged canyons where visitors may catch glimpses of Desert Bighorn Sheep, wild burros and other wildlife.
Carry water, toilet paper and other essentials since there are no restrooms or other facilities. Bring a plastic bag to carry out the paper.
For more information, call the BLM Yuma Field Office at 317-2300, or log on to www.wilderness.net.
Once a producing mine and home to a community, Fortuna Mine today features of an interpretative trail in the foothills of the Gila Mountains east of Yuma. The trail leads hikers amid ocotillos, palo verde and ironwood trees, around a mountain and on to a stamp mill where gold-bearing rock was processed, and then – if they're up for a workout – on up to the top the mountain. Or they can take a less arduous fork to other points of interest, among them a slurry pile, the Fortuna Cemetery and other mine shafts.
Wildlife such as bighorn sheep, bobcats, ring-tail cats, kit foxes, red-tail hawks and barn owls and bats inhabit the area.
The length of the trail is about two miles, but hikers can opt for a shortcut that shortens the hike by about a half-mile.
There are no restrooms or drinking water, and the trail is not handicap accessible. People should be cautious of open mine shafts, sink holes and venomous creatures.
Muggins Mountains Wilderness Area offers hikers a pristine desert setting with a chance to see wildlife such mule deer, coyotes, rabbits, Gila monsters and desert tortoise.
There being no developed trails, hikers have their choice of climbing mountain peaks or taking an easier walk through Muggins Wash.
To reach Muggins Mountains from Yuma, go east on Interstate 8 to the Dome Valley exit, then travel east through Ligurta to Dome Valley Road and turn north. Follow Dome Valley Road to Avenue 20E. Take Avenue 20E north to County 7th Street and turn east. Travel east on County 7th Street past the old Dome Valley Transfer Station. Continue on primitive road for about 2 miles to access Muggins Wash.
Over the years, Smucker Park has afforded many Yuma residents a brisk walk in the park early in the morning, during the lunch hour or after work.
Located on Avenue A south of 24th Street, Smucker Park has a nearly mile-long concrete walking path that leads walkers in a circular route over terrain that alternates between level ground and steep inclines and descents.
Smucker Park also has playground and exercise equipment, restrooms, drinking fountains and ramadas with picnic tables. Park hours are from sunrise until 11 p.m.
Call 928-373-5243 for more information.
Ponderosa Park, located at 26th Street and 29th Drive, offers a 1,503-foot-long multiuse path on level ground for walkers who don't want the steep climbs and drops. Four times around the path represents a little more than a mile.
Kids can also ride skateboards, in-line skates or bikes around the path.
Besides the multiuse path and a playground, the park has a rest area and a cold water drinking fountain, although there are no restrooms.
The park is open from one hour before sunrise to 11 p.m. No glass bottles are allowed in the park. For more information, call 373-5243.
Carver Park, 5th Street and 13th Avenue, offers the city of Yuma's only rubberized path to the public.
Constructed by the city and Yuma Union High School District, the track is 400 meters long, so four laps around is considered a metric mile, he said.
While the city encourages public use of the track for walking or running, skateboards, rollerblades, bikes and vehicles are not allowed on it.
Carver Park has restrooms, drinking water and ramadas. Park hours are from sunrise to 11 p.m.
For more information, call 373-5243.
Sunrise Optimist Park
Located at 20th Street and 45th Avenue, Sunrise Optimist Park has a tree-lined path that meanders around a playground, where small children can play.
The park's concrete walking path is four-tenths of a mile long, so two laps around is almost a mile.
It is open from sunrise to 11 p.m.
Drinking fountains and restrooms are located at the nearby softball field, which is open to the public.
For more information, call 373-5243.