Parker, AZ: Dog-Paddlin’ at Buckskin Mountain State Park

Summer hit hard at the end of May in Phoenix … a little cool-water therapy was in order!  

And … our new inflatable kayak (my 50th birthday present!) needed a test run.  

Would it hold air IN?  Would it hold water OUT?  

Happy to report no tragedies, and lots of paddling fun!

Our favorite camping buddy, Miss Kate, and her little dog (named Little Dog) came along for the fun! 

The doggies ended up being excellent kayakers but weren’t much help with “dog-paddling” even on a “dog day afternoon” but we still had lots of “dog-gone good fun.” 


Buckskin Mountain State Park is located along the “Parker Strip.”  Much like the Las Vegas Strip, it houses lots of and lots of the very same thing, one after another.  In Vegas, it’s hotels … in Parker, it’s RV’s!

Buckskin Mountain is located on the bank of the Colorado River, at perhaps the only bend in the river on a 16-mile strip of water between two dams.

One is unimaginatively called “the Parker Dam,” the other is called “the other dam” because it’s on the Indian reservation and nobody ever remembers its name.

This geography, coupled with a lack of speed limit regulations on the river, causes boat-owners of all varieties to loudly gun their engines as they round that only bend.  Water-borne vehicles of all types (and their owners) were competing for everyone’s attention at all times.  

People-watching at its finest!  We particularly liked the guys who wore tank tops (“wife-beaters”) so often that when they removed their shirts, they STILL looked like they were wearing a tank top.  

Besides RV sites, Buckskin also has these cool “camping cabanas,” which look like self-serve car wash stalls, but which actually provide a cozy little shaded area behind which you can pop a tent.

The river is the place to be …. for relaxing …

… for big-kid toys … (not our boat, but who could resist this perfect color-coordination by Lili) …

and for annoying your girlfriend.  Max demonstrates.

We were the only human-powered vessel on the river the entire time, but kayaking let us get close to the shore to see wild burros, egrets, ducks, and the random drunk guy peeing in the bushes.

The campground also has an easy hiking trail, which apropos of nothing was named the “Lightning Bolt Trail,” and which actually perfect for small children, dogs with short legs, and middle aged women.  Do you see the path leading up the hill?

Back at camp, despite a breeze blowing off the water, it was still really hot.  Hot!  Kate’s mom Erin whipped up some “cast iron skillet s’mores” in her RV to save us from the ravages of a campfire in 100 degree weather. 

 They are awesome and you can make them at home!  Here is the recipe:


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  

Pour 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips into a cast iron skillet.

Layer with large marshmallows.

Put skillet in preheated oven for 7-9 mins. until marshmallows turn golden brown.

Serve with graham crackers for scooping the deliciousness into your open mouth.

Guaranteed you will scald the roof of your mouth with first scoop.  You’ve been warned.

The Lucky Charm enjoyed her riverside campsite at Buckskin Mountain, and we all agreed it’s the perfect summer getaway for lots of water fun!

Check out Buckskin Mountain State Park on the Parker Strip –Western border of Arizona/California!

You’ll be glad you did!

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