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| Debbie Miller | Trip Reports

2023 Trip Report - Diamond Creek Road Trip

Diamond Creek Road Trip Report

by Lindsay Woods • Photos by Lindsay Woods and Marian Johns

The trip started off with an inbound trip offer from Bob and Sue to meet up at the River the night before for some fellowship, food and there might have been a bottle or two of wine involved. After a good night we awoke ready to hit the road.

I have not done a lot of off roading in Arizona but others on the trip had, and we had a great time driving and exploring on our way to Diamond Creek. We drove through Oatman and we even managed to time it to miss the gun fight which shuts down the street for bit. Just past Oatman we stopped at Fish Bowl Springs which is located off Route 66. If it had not been for Bob knowing of the springs location, I would have probably drove right past it. If you know what to look for you see a staircase built into one of the hillsides. The staircase leads to a little known spring bubbling with life, tucked out of sight along the most famous road in the United States

While Bob and I climbed the stairs he shared the story of its origin with me. A man named Shaffer located the spring and improved the area in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration. Shaffer while working on the construction of the “Gold Road Section” that weaves between Gold Road Mine and Kingman, Arizona, he noticed water cascading down the cliff walls. To take advantage of the precious resource, he built a basin

of stones at its base to allow the water to pool.

The secluded oasis soon became a welcome refuge for the weary travelers and parched animals passing through. Because the water stems from a consistent natural source, the bowl remains full year-round. Locals frequently keep it stocked with goldfish (leading some to call it the “fish bowl spring”.)

If you want to check out the spring it is located around mile marker 30. There is a small pull off where you can park without worrying about blocking traffic. There are about 30 small steps leading up to the spring. Once you climb the steps you will see the fishbowl in all its glory. Go on a clear day as the sights along the drive are amazing.

Our next stop was at the S.O.S. Donkey Haven located at 5104 Oatman Highway (Old Route 66), Golden Valley Arizona. The S.O.S. Donkey Haven is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide loving forever home for those donkeys that are or were at high risk. Cheryl a volunteer at the haven let us in and gave us a quick tour. If you are in the area give Cheryl a call at 760-583-4416 to arrange a tour of their facility.

Our next stop was for fuel in Kingman followed by a visit to the Power House local history, Route 66, and electric vehicle museum and visitor center. The Power House was originally built to supply electricity and water to Kingman and the surrounding area. You can read more about it by visiting www.explorekingman.com. After a brief visit to the Power House we hit the road heading towards Peach Springs to get our permits for access and camping at Diamond Creek.

Hit the BRAKES! We gotta see Hackberry General Store, a relic from the Route 66 days that is still in operation. The property adjacent to the store has a bandstand and picnicking mixed amongst a historical representation of an old time garage and repair service with some old jalopies parked around. We stopped to get something to drink but most of us ended up enjoying ice cream while conversing with travelers on motorcycles from the UK. They were an entertaining lot, which is probably what they said about us as well.

Once in Peach Springs we located the Fish and Game Office to obtain our permits from the Hualapai Tribe. Permits can be obtained at the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs, Arizona. Diamond Creek Road is a 20-mile dirt road that descends into the Grand Canyon from the Hualapai Indian Reservation. I am told it is the only road in the Grand Canyon that leads to the Colorado River, and it offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the canyon from the bottom.

The drive down Diamond Creek Road is slow (unless you ride with Mignon) and scenic. The dirt road is winding, and it can be bumpy in places. However, the views of the canyon are breathtaking. As we descended, we passed through a variety of landscapes, including piñon-juniper forests, red rock cliffs, and riparian areas.

Once we reached the bottom of the canyon, we drove past the campground to the river and back to the campground to pick a site. Once we unloaded it was a little hot so a few of us went down to the river to cool off, it was quite refreshing. After dinner we were able to enjoy a campfire and the rising of a Harvest Moon. During the night we dealt with a neighbor camper with a generator that struggled to tell time, porta potty service truck that came at almost midnight, and our neighbor camper packing up and leaving in the middle of the night.

In the morning we loaded up and headed out. We were able to talk with one of the Hualapai Rangers about the area and its history. We headed for home but not before stopping at the Kingman Airport which was originally known as the Kingman Army Airfield founded at the beginning of WWII as one of the nation’s largest aerial gunnery training base. The airport has several monuments to those who served and the significance of the airport as a part of our nation’s defense. We then started back toward Bob and Sue’s house but not before a stop in Yucca, Arizona to look at a few of the sights there.

As I reflect on it, as a whole it wasa great trip!  ~Lindsay

Fish Bowl Spring
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Joeso
View over the valley from Fish Bowl Springs
Joeso Lindsay
Funny if you read the stickers