After a long cold winter, my boyfriend and I packed up our bags and hopped on a plane to enjoy a week of desert heat. We checked out the Desert Storm boat races, drove up to Oatman to say hello to the wild burros, and even managed to squeeze in a hike.
The Crack in the Mountain Trail (also known as Sara’s Crack) is located in Sara Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It’s around 5.5kms out and back, but there are plenty of side trails to make it a longer adventure if that’s what you’re looking for. We decided to hike through the canyon to the lake and then back up the mountainside.
We were up and out the door by 7am to avoid hiking in the hottest part of the day. I packed plenty of extra water, electrolyte tablets, and sunscreen. The trailhead is located only a few minutes out of Lake Havasu City and has a map as well as safety warnings posted. Although the trail has pretty good signage, we dropped a pin at our vehicles location and took a photo of the map to make sure.
The trail takes you down to natural wash out that you’ll follow for most of the hike.
It was exciting for my boyfriend especially, who had never travelled outside of Canada before, to see the difference in the desert landscape and the breathtaking rock formations. For us, it’s the kind of thing you’d see in a movie.
The washout trail leads to a slot canyon. As you walk along, the open landscape closes in on you and you are surrounded by walls of red rock.
This section is also where the hike becomes a bit more technical. There are large rocks to navigate, and sections where you rely on ropes or ladders left by other hikers. There is one seven foot drop that I prefer to navigate by rope, but the rock is very smooth and you can slide down it too.
Pat found only one small pool of water as he was climbing higher up on a rock section. I have hiked this trail before and had to wade through sections of collected water, but the trail was quite dry this time.
We snapped quite a few photos and enjoyed the times when the sun was peeking through the canyon.
Eventually we made our way out of the canyon and continued on to the edge of the lake. It was starting to warm up a bit, and now that we were out of the shade it was nice to have plenty of water packed along. At this point you can choose to ascend to the right and take the upper route back to the parking lot if you don’t want to continue on to the lake.
We arrived at the lake and Pat hopped in for a swim. The group that wasn’t far behind us laughed at how cold it must be, but it felt just like the lakes back home to him.
After enjoying the lake for a few minutes we turned around to get on to the upper trail. We realized later that we could have followed trail directly from the lake, but luckily there are plenty of opportunities along the way to connect with it.
The thing that I love about this hike is the drastic changes in perspective that you get in such a short amount of time. You begin in a closed and shaded canyon, make your way to the radiant blue lake, and then gain some elevation for amazing views of the desert landscape.
While there are cacti in Saskatchewan, they aren’t nearly as big or as menacing-looking as the ones you find in Arizona. I have seen enough videos about jumping cholla cactuses online to make sure that I appreciate anything spiky from a safe distance.
The higher sections on this trail are the only parts that remind me a little of hiking in Canada. It could almost be a walk above tree line in the Rockies, until of course you look out and there isn’t a tree in sight.
The trail connects back with the wash out that we hiked in on. Always nervous about losing my trail, I stayed on the familiar ground while Pat explored the rocks higher up. I knew he was close by the occasional cough or shout.
He snapped a pictures of some of the beautiful sights up there to show me later on. Maybe next time a little more off trail exploring would be worth it.
We made it back to the vehicle and then decided to head to a coffee shop called ‘The Human Bean’ for a treat. We both ordered a blended coffee and chocolate concoction called the Java Chip. They ended up being so tasty that we went back for them several mores time that week. If only you could bring them back in a suitcase!