SARA (Special Activities and Recreation Area) Park is a large public park on the south side of Lake Havasu, It includes a ball field, race track, rodeo grounds, shooting range, RC airplane strip, dog parks, and dozens of hiking trails. For me, the main attraction is the hiking area. This is true desert hiking with NO amenities but some spectacular desert views. Most trails follow the dry stream beds down to the Lake and at least one goes up about 1000 feet to a mountain top with a park bench on top. You can enter the park from McCulloch Blvd and Hwy 95, or from the main entrance about a mile south on Hwy 95 at the Welcome to Lake Havasu City sign. There's paved parking at the trailhead with a kiosk showing some of the trails and local plants and animals. My routine is to hike/run down to the lake and back for exercise. It's 2.3 miles each way for a 4.6 mile loop. I like to follow the yellow trail along the stream bed until it branches off to the right on the blue trail, and then back the same way. First time visitors should definitely take the yellow trail all the way to the lake to experience the "crack". It's a narrow slot canyon with steep walls and a water polished slide that drops you down about 6-8 feet sliding on your bottom and landing on you feet. Sometimes there's a rope to slow your slide. If you're fit it's easy and fun, but if you're old, frail, or over weight it could be a challenge. It's especially beautiful hiking out of the canyon after the slide. You follow the stream bed all the way to the lake. Vegetation is heavy as you approach the lake so stay to the far right along the slope and you'll arrive at Balanced Rock Cove on Lake Havasu. The attached photo shows the canyon in the Spring when the prickly pear cactus is blooming. After soaking your feet in the cove, head back by going uphill on the blue trail. That takes you over the pass instead of through the crack. It's mostly uphill on a low grade but it can wear you out so take your time. Turn around frequently for the best views of the lake. Photo ops everywhere. And finally a word about the desert. In the summer it's easily120°. Wear good shoes, sun screen, and as much water as you can carry. You'll drink it all. Take a cell phone. A sprained ankle means you can't make it out without help. And YES, there are rattlesnakes around. You're not likely to see one but I'm out there so much I've seen three of them, all on the trail. They're in a hurry to get out of your way so don't mess with them. Don't pose for a picture with them. Don't think they're tame. A bite will ruin your day and maximize your deductible and insurance coverage in antivenom.
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