The Needles River’s Edge Golf Course is a professional 18-hole course that overlooks the scenic Colorado River. It has a driving range, rental carts, pro shop and professional golf lessons at a reasonable rate. Click here for access to the golf course website www.golfneedlesca.com, or call (760) 326-3931
Some of the finest boating, water skiing, and personal water crafting are available on the Colorado River, which runs through Needles. With a current of 4 to 8 miles an hour, wakes disappear rapidly leaving the smooth “glass” that all water skiers look for. Fishermen will enjoy the variety of catch available in the river: rainbow trout, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass and stripers that are found here in spring.
The Needles Aquatic Center was dedicated in 1990. It contains a 25-foot competition size swimming pool, a 2 story high corkscrew slide that empties into a 3 and one half-foot separate pool, and a kiddy play area that features a wading pool with a fountain geyser, rain forest and fog trees. There is a park within the complex, complete with shade trees, picnic tables/benches and barbecue stands. The Needles Municipal Aquatics Center is an attractive venue in spring, summer, and early fall.
The Needles Municipal Aquatic Center is also available for private rentals: a fun alternative for birthday parties, athletic team functions, and family get-togethers. Call the pool for prices and available times. Call (760) 326-3866
Oatman, Arizona, a scenic 45 minute drive northeast from Needles, offers a wonderful day of diversion. Oatman merchants have been successful at keeping this famous gold mining center, as it was 90 years ago in its heyday. Step back in time, enjoy the burros that freely walk the streets, the mock old west gunfights, have a cold drink at an authentic western saloon, or find that perfect antique, or gift you have been searching for.
By boat, canoe, or kayak, Topock Gorge and Havasu Wildlife Refuge can provide a memorable experience for all ages. Located 17 miles south of Needles, Topock provides an awe-inspiring experience. Gaze at lava pinnacles, totems, and ancient hieroglyphics on the gorge’s walls. Cattail, mesquite and arrowhead adorn the marsh and provide habitat for doves, quail, beaver and other species of wildlife, such as feral hog. The refuge covers 37,515 acres. To access, click here http://southwest.fws.gov/refuges/arizona/havasu.html.
For birdwatching, fishing and photography contact Gene at Topock Adventures 760/858-2669 or www.fishtopock.com.
Grapevine Canyon is just a short drive up Highway 163 out of Laughlin to the Christmas Tree turnoff, then on to Grapevine Canyon. Here you will see Indian petroglyphs on sheer walls of the canyon. Streams run year round in this canyon.
Visit the Mystic Maze, a National Wildlife Refuge Systems Archaeological Site that is located about 10 miles south of Needles on I-40. Precise arrangements of rocks laid down by Mohave Indians hundreds of years ago have led some people to believe that this was an ancient agricultural project, however experts in such matters have denied this assertion.
The Needles Regional Museum is located at 929 Front Street and contains memorabilia from throughout Needle’s colorful history. The all-volunteer staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Their winter hours are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Summer hours are the same with a break middle of June through August for vacation. Please contact the Museum by calling 760-326-5678.
The El Garces Hotel/Santa Fe Depot
The Needles train depot and Harvey House has been of great importance to area history. Construction of this building began about 1906 and soon after fire destroyed the original wooden building. Because of the tragic aspects of the fire, the new building was constructed of concrete. Mojave Indians were the main labor force, climbing tall ladders to pour cement into forms. The building was completed with landscaping in place in 1908. It was named “El Garces” in honor of Father Francisco Garces, a missionary who visited the area in 1776. The primary mission of the El Garces Hotel was to serve train passengers; hence the front and most ornate side of the building faced the railroad tracks. Community members also utilized the facilities for elegant private dinners, banquets and special occasions. It also sat on Old Trails Highway, and later Route 66.
The El Garces was part of the Fred Harvey chain of hotel restaurants that extended along the Santa Fe Railroad to provide meals and lodging. It was considered the “Crown Jewel” of the entire chain and was remembered for the real linen and silver, distinctive china and fresh flowers provided for its guests every day. Food was of the highest quality. Waitresses were cultured young ladies, some from foreign lands. They received special training in neatness, courtesy and excellent service. They were required to sign a contract not to marry for one year. Many eventually married railroad men. Harvey girls and management lived upstairs. There were also rooms for paying guests. The facility included a laundry and a bakery.
The El Garces served lunch and dinner. The lunchroom had two horseshoe shaped counters and could serve many people travelling, as well as the local community.
Today, the El Garces is owned by the City of Needles. A multi-million dollar restoration project has been completed and the facility is open for rental for public and private events. Retail space is available for lease. . Please contact 760-326-2113 for further information.