Imperial Dam & Hidden Shores RV Resort

Green Heron



This area has a number of riparian and watery habitats that are good for migrants, waterfowl, and other wintering passerines.  The Hidden Shores Golf Course continues to turn up all types of sparrows, Lazuli Buntings, breeding Vermilion Flycatchers, and migrants such as Bendire's Thrasher.  


Vermilion Flycatcher


Site #6 on the  Yuma County Map

Getting here from the intersection of  1st Street and 4th Ave takes 30-45 minutes:

- Drive north .8 miles on 4th Ave across the Colorado River Bridge to the turn-off for California Highway S-24 (Pichacho Recreation Area)
- Turn right and go north on S24 (veer left to follow it under the RR bridge)
- Follow S24 as it winds its way through Bard
- After 13.9 miles you'll be at Laguna Dam, the first dam built along the Colorado River in 1907
- At 17.7 miles you'll be at the turn-off to Senator Wash and West Pond -- go straight
- At 18.3 miles you'll be at the turn-off for Imperial Dam spillway (#4, #5, & #6 below).
- At 18.4  miles you'll be at the turn-off for Hidden Shore RV Resort (#1, #2, & #3 below).

At the present time the road leading to the downstream side of Imperial Dam (#4 on the map below) is blocked off by barriers.  You can still walk in, though.

(Numbered spots correspond with the map on the right.)

1) This sandy/dirt loop road takes you next to the Gila Gravity Canal head works and overflow.  In spring and fall there are often shorebirds, and and at all seasons look for Spotted Sandpiper, Vermilion Flycatchers, Black Phoebe, and gnatcatchers.  (May not be suitable for 2-wheel drive cars.)

2) Hidden Shores Golf Course--it's a small golf course with lots of mesquite and a few eucalyptus trees.  Still, it's the most reliable spot for Vermilion Flycatcher in the area, and during migration and winter it attracts Dark-eyed Juncos, Chipping & other sparrows, buntings, and my first Bendire's Thrasher for the area.

3) The waters and marshes behind Imperial Dam are good for Clapper Rail, Common Moorhen and Pied-billed Grebe.  Keep a watch for terns.

4) This is the road to the spillway for the Imperial Dam.  It passes by a small pond good for flycatchers and Cinnamon Teal.  The road has been blocked since Sep 11, 2001, but may be opened again in the future.  It is worth walking in the cooler months.  

5) The spillway overflow hosts many species of waterfowl in the winter.  There are picnic tables and a grassy area which attract Mountain Bluebirds and Vermilion Flycatcher.  Terns, gulls, and cormorants often sit on the spillway. 

6) This sandy path (blocked to vehicular traffic) follows a heavily vegetated canal south to the Colorado River.  Common Snipe, Cooper's Hawk, warblers, and Lincoln's Sparrows are all found along here in the winter. 

Imperial Dam & Hidden Shores Resort

(Click on the map for aerial photo)

Red numbers correspond to 
the birding suggestions on the left
Blue areas are water (canals, rivers, ponds, marshes, etc.)
Green dots are trees
R = rest room (next to the Hidden Shores RV store)

Some of the POSSIBLE Sightings
- unusual birds highlighted in dark red
- (w) indicates wintering bird
(b) indicates breeding bird


-Hermit, Black-throated Gray, Lucy's, MacGillivray's, Townsend's, Virginia's, Yellow-rumped (w), Wilson's, Nashville, Orange-crowned (w), and Yellow
-Common Yellowthroat (b,w)

-Western Kingbird (b)
-Ash-throated Flycatcher (b,w)
-Western Wood-Pewee

Other Migrants & wintering (w) Species
- Northern Harrier (w)
- Merlin (uncommon w)
- Cooper's & Sharp-shinned Hawks (w)
- Red-naped Sapsucker 
- Swainson's & Hermit thrushes
- Bullock's Oriole (b)
- western swallows (b,w)
- Lazuli Bunting
- Blue Grosbeak (b)
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (w) 
- Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (b,w) 
- Lesser Goldfinch (w)
- Bendire's Thrasher
- Bullock's Oriole (b)
- Hooded Oriole (b)
- White-crowned Sparrow (w)
- Lincoln's Sparrow (w)
- Chipping & Lark Sparrows (w)
- Dark-eyed Junco (w)

Year-round breeding Residents:

- Pied-billed Grebe
- Common Moorhen 
- American Coot
- Clapper Rail
- Turkey Vulture
- Barn Owl
- Great Horned Owl
- Red-tailed Hawk
- American Kestrel
- Osprey
- Spotted Sandpiper
- Greater Roadrunner
- Turkey Vulture
- Gambel's Quail
- Ladder-backed Woodpecker
- Gila Woodpecker
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Black Phoebe 
- Vermilion Flycatcher
- Great-tailed Grackle
- Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
- Verdin
- Song Sparrow

(Web Pages)

These pages give you some idea of the birds that you can find in this location.
Birding Trips


Osprey along the Colorado River


Photos Henry D. Detwiler
Last Update: 7 Sep 2002