Parker is on the east bank of the Colorado River, 163 miles
west of Phoenix. The Parker “vicinity” consists of a number of separate
but interrelated areas. There is the town of Parker, Parker
South, the Arizona side of the Colorado river area, and the communities
on the California side. Established in 1871, the town was
moved some four miles north to the site of the Atchison, Topeka
and Santa Fe Railroad crossing. At an elevation of 450 feet above
sea level, Parker was founded in 1908 and incorporated in 1948. In
May 1982, by initiative petition, voters formed La Paz County from
the northern portion of the former Yuma County. On Jan. 1, 1983,
Parker became the county seat for La Paz county.
Parker's economy is based primarily on retail trade and services.
The 16-mile strip of the Colorado River, between Parker Dam and
Headgate Rock Dam, forms one of the finest bodies of water in the
country for water-based recreational activities. This makes Parker a
major destination point for tourists and winter visitors who take
advantage of local motels, campgrounds, an 18-hole golf course,
mobile homes, RV parks, restaurants, gasoline stations and convenience
markets. Parker also serves as the trade and business center
for the Colorado River Indian Reservation and small towns along
the Colorado River.
Agriculture, historically the major economic base of Parker,
continues to contribute to the local economy. The fertile fields of
the Colorado River Indian Reservation yield melons, lettuce, cotton,
wheat, barley and alfalfa.
The Colorado River and its lakes offer visitors a variety of water
recreation activities like speed boat racing, water skiing, personal
Watercraft, swimming and tubing. There is also excellent fishing
for bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, trout, and frogging during season.
Parker Dam, the deepest dam in the world, has self-guided
There are two state parks and one county park in the Parker
area. Buckskin State Park, 11 miles north of Parker, has acres of
green grass and shade trees. River Island State Park has 26 campsites,
day-use areas and boat launches. La Paz County Park, eight
miles north of Parker, has campgrounds, showers, a launching
ramp, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and 1,000 feet of waterfront,
hook-ups and dump station. Nearly 30 additional RV parks
and campgrounds offer visitors a variety of amenities and activities.
For the non-water enthusiasts, the surrounding desert is suitable for
off-road vehicles and rockhounding.
A museum with an extensive collection of locally crafted Indian
artifacts, including Chemehuevi basketry, Mojave pottery, Indian
beads and jewelry is operated by the Colorado Indian Tribes.