We have visited Cibola NWR on a number of occasions. We make it a day trip from home (San Bernardino) or on a trip to Phoenix or the Tucson area. It's about 30 minutes south of I 10 via Hwy 78 just west of Blythe. Get detailed directions of the local area, as crossing the Colorado river can be tricky.
It has the largest concentrations of Sandhill Cranes for viewing near So Cal. Hunters and birders can coexist well. The developed birding area, Goose loop and nature trail, is separated from the hunting area and generally is not closed during hunting season. The goose loop is a driving loop which offers close up views of cranes feeding in corn fields. There are a few seasonal ponds. The nature tail is an easy walk for viewing migrating passerines. There is a good visitor center generally staffed by very helpful volunteers. Stop there to get current information and to view the wildlife exhibits.
The best time to view Cranes is December and January. Dawn and dusk offer the preferred times for lighting conditions for photographers The mountain background and birds in flight can make for spectacular shots. We have camped nearby on BLM land.
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