Oct 12, 2012 9:10 AM by Jeff Beamish
PATAGONIA - The Visitor Center at Patagonia Lake State Park will open and the popular Pontoon Boat Trips will begin on Saturday, October 13, 2012. The Visitor Center will be open from 8am until 4:30pm on Wednesdays through Sundays this season.
Pontoon Boat tours will begin on Saturday, October 13 with two avian tours at 9am and 10:15am. These tours go to the east end of the lake. On board is a birder who will point out, identify and talk about the birds seen. At 11:30am the Lake Discovery tour goes to the west end of the lake. The guide on board will point out geological formations, discuss the dam that created Patagonia Lake, and give you a brief history of the area. On Saturdays there is a Twilight Tour just before dark.
Boat tours will be held each Saturday and Sunday. The cost for each one-hour boat trip is $5, payable at the beginning of the trip in the Visitor Center. Reservations are advised as the spaces go quickly. The pontoon boat holds 8 adults plus the guide and captain. If you are going on a boat trip, plan to arrive at the Visitor Center 15 minutes prior to departure to sign in, pay and be outfitted with a life jacket.
Bird walks will begin on Monday, October 15 at 9am and be held twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays at the east end of the campground at the birding kiosk. Bird walks are free, but the park entrance fee or an Annual State Park Pass is required. There is no pre-registration. Walks generally last about three hours. The walk is approximately one mile on a flat area, except for steep steps leading down to the lake level. Be sure to bring your binoculars and drinking water.
On Monday, October 29 at 4:30pm, there will be a guided hike to the top of Lookout Hill above Patagonia Lake to watch the sunset and the full moon rise. Wear sturdy shoes, bring a flashlight and a walking stick if you use one. The distance to the top is about 3/4 of a mile. Meet at the Visitor Center. Visitors will car pool from the Visitor Center to the parking lot at the base of the hill.
The Visitor Center is located on the lakeshore by the big bridge; follow the signs as you come into the park. There is parking in front. Come into the Visitor Center to talk to the volunteers about hikes in the Park and the best places to see the birds. You may also look at the displays on the plants and animals of the Park.
Call Patagonia Lake State Park at (520) 287-6965 to make reservations or for more information about the boat tours, hikes or walks. Patagonia Lake State Park is located in southeastern Arizona at 400 Patagonia Lake Road in Patagonia, Arizona. The park entrance fee starts at $10 for vehicles with up to 4 adults. The camping fees are $17 for non-electric sites and start at $25 for electric sites.
For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703), visit the website at AZStateparks.com or Twitter/Facebook AZStateParks.