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December 2006


On US 95 between Quartzsite and Yuma Arizona, a little more than 5 miles south of the La Paz/Yuma County line, go east on Palm Canyon Road at MM 85.5; follow to the end.

Five Moons, and a billion stars all around, the latter phrase quoting The Eagles "Peaceful Easy Feeling".

Palm Canyon is in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, created to protect the largest herd of bighorn desert sheep on this continent. The canyon is also home to rare native fan palms, leftovers surviving in a micro climate that's existed from millennia ago when the area was wetter and cooler; the trees receive less than two hours of sun daily and less than six inches of rain yearly, yet they're thriving in a tiny side canyon a hundred feet off the main canyon floor. The (clothed) climb up to them is very strenuous, but worth it to find more than two dozen mature palm trees with trunk diameters of 20 inches or more existing on subterranean (more like sub rock) water in a barren wasteland.

There's no flowing water in the canyon and it wouldn't be appropriate to be nude on the main trail, but this is a great Naturist area because the nude hiking and free nude camping opportunities are golden in two areas. The first is beyond the palm viewing area, for as far as one cares to go and the second is practically anywhere else on Kofa NWR's mere 660,000 acres. Except for the hike to the palms, we never had a stitch on, even in a relatively "public" area = there aren't many people in this huge refuge, surrounded by another million or so acres of BLM land. With no facilities of any kind, roads lead here and there for as far as 15 miles into the desert that we know of = we didn't by any means follow them all; talk about privacy! It's the first public lands area we've nuded that had zero "NO..." signs but did have signs telling people where they could pitch tents with no posted limit.

After some clothed hiking followed by much more enjoyable nude hiking, we picked a perfectly level, solid spot a few hundreds yards off the 'main' road, some seven miles in. As far as we can tell, there's absolutely no danger of becoming stuck in Kofa NWR because the ground is covered with hard packed gravel. Winter home to falcons, golden eagles, and many other birds, Kofa is a naked naturalist's paradise by day. By night, when millions of bats, kangaroo rats, cottontails, and others come out, it's a star gazers heaven, far from any city lights or pollution. We mean, there aren't even any utility poles in there. All there is was put there by Dame Nature, that most beautiful of all women.

One of the best hikes, which one can begin 100 yards up the canyon after the palm tree viewpoint, leads to the 3,770 foot summit of Polaris Mountain. It's worth every step of the way, if only for the breathtaking view of Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma Proving Grounds (where MILLION$$ in taxpayers' $$ go up in smoke), the Sonoran Desert, and the Chocolate Mountains. And believe it or not, there are two springs and a well shown on the map up there, but don't believe it = we didn't see them = always bring your own water.

Please Note: as always, nude camp and hike responsibly; there's so much room at Kofa, there's room for everybody. It's necessary to go only a few dozen steps away from "main" areas to Njoy cloth freedom. And, because of the topography, in the highly unlikely event someone might head your way, you'd be able to see and/or hear them coming from a long ways away. Elevation on the desert floor, 1,800 feet.

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