Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
15.00 ft (4.57 m)
Trail type
1.75 mi (2.82 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Swift Water Trail is one of the out-and-back hiking options inside Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area.

Heading in a southern direction from the central area of the State Park, the Swift Water Trail follows at 1.75 mile out-and-back course tracing the arid desert landscape beneath across from views of the dramatic textures of the Arizona mountains.

While the hike doesn't contain much as far as scenery, and it never really travels within direct view of the Colorado River, it does give hikers the chance to explore the desert and likely have most of that time to themselves as the trail is not well traveled. There are a couple landmarks along the way, but most of the route just weaves across soft sand in the desert.

Hikers can begin at the bathroom building and parking area inside the campground. From here, a trail heads in the direction of the river for a very short distance before a fork emerges, where the Swift Water Trail heads right (the Big Sandy Trail turns left here). The path heads over mostly flat landscape, though the soft sand makes for a slower walk.

Eventually the trail comes to a dead end at the Big Bend Conservation Area, which has additional trails to explore, or hikers can turn around here and retrace their route back to the central area of the park.

Water and bathrooms are located at the trailhead. There is no shade and no other amenities located along the hike itself.

The Big Swift Trail lies within the State Recreation Area and is subject to entry fees and open hours.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Park entrance

Open Year-round



Creates link between State Park and Conservation Area.


Improvements currently underway along trail bringing noise.

Trailhead Elevation

505.00 ft (153.92 m)

Highest point

515.00 ft (156.97 m)


Near lake or river
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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