Laughlin is located below
Davis Dam along the Colorado River. The river in this area is used
mostly as a personal watercraft, speed and pleasure boat recreation
area. As the river flows by the Laughlin casinos, the traffic can
get pretty crowded. Going down river, past Harrah's Del Rio Resort,
the water of the Colorado smoothes out and traffic becomes much lighter. If you want
to do some cutting up, this is where to go.
The farther south one heads,
the more peacefully and relaxing the Colorado becomes. That is where
my favorite areas exist. 10 miles south you'll run into Avi Hotel
and Casino Marina. This is a good place for last minute supplies,
including gas. 16 miles further down river, from the Avi, the river
flows through Topock, AZ. This is where the "Gorge" begins. This is a
must see place for boaters and jet skiers. Gas is also available in
Topock. To get there, go left (north) at the pipeline/bridge to the
marina. After you enter the Gorge, about 2 miles down river from Topock, please remember to respect the no wake and no personal
watercraft areas. Remember you can always swim or tube into these
great marshes. This is a good fishing area also. Please... take your
Boat launching can be
Davis Dam Campground on the Arizona side.
($10.00 per day)
Riverside Resort, on the strip in Laughlin.
Riverside's ramp is the
only free, no cost, ramp. (very crowded)
Bayshore Inn, 5 miles south on Casino Drive.
Big Bend State Park has a nice ramp, never
for holidays. Cost is $8.00 car and boat. It's on the Needles
2 miles south of the Township of Laughlin.
Laughlin Bay Marina, daily launch fees PWC
$25, vessel up to $35' $30.
I'd tell you my secret spot, but it wouldn't be
a secret any more.
Local River Tours
Leaves from the Flamingo Hilton dock
The Del Rio
Leaves from Harrah's Laughlin dock
Tickets $12.95 adults, $7.95 children
The Edgewater Belle
Leaves from the Edgewater dock
The USS Riverside
Leaves from the Riverside dock
London Jet Boat Tours
Leaves from Pioneer
Tickets: various prices $49 adult rd trip to Lake Havasu
and London Bridge
All major casinos
Tickets: $3 one way
Big Bend State Recreation Area
Big Bend State Recreation Area is located five
miles south of Laughlin on the Needles Highway. The park is within the town
limits of Laughlin, one mile south of Casino Drive on South Needles Hwy.
Big Bend is Nevada's newest state park, opening for operation in 1996. Situated
on the shores of the Colorado River below Laughlin in Nevada's southern tip. The
park offers dramatic views of the river and surrounding mountains. Popular
activities are picnicking, boating, fishing and swimming. When completed, the
park will also offer camping, hiking and group facilities. Although the town of
Laughlin is also relatively new, it offers many amenities including casinos,
golf courses and an outlet mall.
The Colorado River is the main attraction to the park. Because the park is
located just down stream of Davis Dam, the river is clear and cool year round.
Although the park has approximately 2 miles of shoreline and riparian areas, the
majority of the park comprised of canyons and washes. While there are not yet
any developed trails, these areas are rich with beautiful formations and scenic
The river attracts a variety of waterfowl and shore birds including Mallards,
coots, herons and geese. Hawks, roadrunners, quail, hummingbirds, doves and owls
are also abundant in the park.
Common animals include cottontails, fox, raccoon, beaver, muskrat, coyote and an
occasional bobcat or bighorn sheep. Several species of lizards and snakes
inhabit the park, along with an occasional turtle along the river. Tamarisk and
mesquite are the predominate trees in the park. You will also find several
species of cactus.
While summer temperatures can soar to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and above, spring
and fall temperatures are usually very comfortable. Winters are very mild, with
temperatures rarely dipping below freezing. Precipitation is very infrequent,
but can cause flash floods in the area.
An entrance fee is charged to enter the park, with additional fees for camping
and boat launch. A current fee schedule is posted at the park entrance.
Click here for all individual park fees.
Limited self contained RV camp sites available. Showers are available.
Shade areas are located along the shoreline in both the day use and boat ramp
areas. Some areas provide tables and barbeque grills.
While the park does not yet have any developed trails, the canyons in the park
offer areas for self exploration and day hikes.
To make your visit and the visits of others more enjoyable, please observe the
Operating unlicenced vehicles is not permitted. All vehicle operators must be
licensed. Drive only on designated roadways.
Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6' long.
Trailers parking is not permitted in the Day Use parking area.
Fires are permitted only in the grills provided.
Use garbage dumpsters provided.
Reserving sites is not permitted, all areas of the park are "first come, first
Creating a wake or exceeding 5 MPH in the Boat Ramp Lagoon is not permitted.
Special note: Boating and fishing on the Colorado River is regulated by Nevada,
Arizona and California. Make sure you are familiar with the regulations and
license requirements for each of the states.
You are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations in effect.
Detailed rules and regulations are posted at the park.
More about the entire
The Colorado River and its tributaries flow through the Great
Basin, the Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert, providing water and
power to the arid Southwestern U.S..
These rivers are also responsible for carving some of the most
spectacular natural wonders on Earth! Today the Colorado Basin
offers awesome outdoor adventure and recreation opportunities in the
The Colorado River is born about 10,000 feet in the Rocky
Mountains of Colorado and flows southwest for 1,470 miles to the
Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) in Mexico. It is the
international boundary for 17 miles between Arizona and Mexico.
Before the construction of a number of dams along its route, it
flowed 80 miles through Mexico to the Gulf of California.
The 1,360 miles of its route in the United States makes it the
nation's fifth longest river. It drains a large portion of the North
American continent covering 242,000 square miles in the United
States and 3,000 square miles in Mexico. The Colorado and its
tributaries drain southwestern Wyoming and western Colorado, parts
of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and California, and almost all of
Arizona. Three fourths of the basin is federal land devoted to
national forests and parks and Indian reservations.
For more than 1,000 miles, the upper and middle portions of the
Colorado River and its tributaries -- the Virgin, Kanab, Paria,
Escalante, Dirty Devil and Green rivers from the west; the Little
Colorado, San Juan, Dolores and Gunnison from the east -- cut a
spectacular labyrinth of deep gorges. The longest and most
spectacular of these canyons is the magnificent Grand Canyon,
extending from the mouth of the Paria to Grand Wash Stream.
Canyonlands National Park encompasses another of these regions at
the juncture of the Green and Colorado rivers in southeastern Utah.
The lower Colorado River separates two great deserts, the Mojave
on the western side and the Sonoran on the eastern side. The Gila
River drains the Sonoran. South of the Mojave Desert lies the Salton
Basin, a large depression 230 feet below sea level, extending 150
miles northwest from the head of the Gulf of California.
In 1905, floodwaters caused a levee to break on the Colorado
River near Yuma; water rushed into the Salton Basin. This created
the Salton Sea, about 68 feet deep, 55 miles long, and 16 miles
wide, with a total water area of some 300 sq. miles. Since the break
threatened the agriculturally rich Imperial Valley and a major
railroad route, the levee was finally repaired in 1907, but the
Salton Sea remains.
Commerce & Politics
The Colorado is a remarkable source for hydroelectric power and
irrigation. Of its 10 million potential horsepower, one-fifth has
been developed . 21 dams have been built on the Colorado and its
tributaries. The river rarely reaches the Gulf of California because
of these dams. The Morelos Diversion Dam, located on the
Mexico-Arizona border is the southernmost dam on the Colorado. It
sends virtually all of the remaining water to irrigation canals in
the Mexicali Valley and to the towns of Mexicali and Tijuana.
The Colorado System was the first drainage basin in which the
concept of the multipurpose dam was employed. In 1922 the Colorado
River Compact was concluded by the seven states that constitute its
drainage area. The first major development began in 1928 when
Congress passed the Boulder Canyon Project Act authorizing
construction of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam. Construction of this dam
was considered a major engineering accomplishment of its time. Since
its completion in 1936, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, which it
created with its impounded waters, have become major tourist
Many additional projects have been completed since then. In the
mid-1960s, Glen Canyon Dam was completed, impounding Lake Powell.
This dam was controversial, and opposition to its construction
helped shaped policy toward concepts of water management and
Shortly after the completion of Hoover Dam, planning and
construction began downstream on the Parker Dam. From Havasu Lake,
the reservoir impounded by the dam, water is transported some 250
miles across California to supply a portion of the water needs for
Los Angeles and most of the water supply for San Diego. Davis,
Imperial, Laguna, and Morelos dams further regulate flow and
diversion in the lower basin.
In 1963 a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court made explicit the
amount of water apportioned among the lower-basin states, as well as
the amounts that had been implicitly "reserved" for Indian tribes
and federal public lands.
This decision prompted funding of the Central Arizona Project,
completed in the 1980s. The project comprises a mountain tunnel
through which water from the southern end of Lake Havasu is pumped
up and into an aqueduct that flows southward to the two cities of
Phoenix and Tucson.
The increasingly severe competition for whatever small quantities
of water remain in the Colorado River keeps the basin tied up in
litigation and controversy. Water projects must now undergo thorough
environmental-impact studies in accordance with federal
environmental protection legislation.
Ute and Southern Paiute Indian tribes hunted and gathered on the
plateaus and in the canyon lands of the upper Colorado basin for
centuries. In the lower basin, Hohokam Indians constructed the
largest prehistoric canal irrigation system in the American West on
the Gila and Salt rivers. Yuman tribes practiced complicated
patterns of floodplain farming and hunting on the Colorado. In the
face of economic exploitation of the region by whites, and the
resulting ecological changes, Indian groups have struggled to
maintain vestiges of traditional lifeways with respect to the river.
Several Europeans explored the Colorado River early on, but upon
discovering that it was practically useless for navigation later
ignored further exploration. In 1538, Francisco de Ulloa traveled to
the Colorado from the Gulf of California; in 1540, Hernando de
Alarcon became the first European to sail up the river, while Garcia
Lopez de Cardenas of discovered the Grand Canyon.
In 1776, Fathers Velez de Escalante and Dominguez crossed the
Colorado in Glen Canyon. That same year Father Francisco Garces
named the river "Colorado" because of its red mud.
Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives in 1857, maneuvered the Colorado from
Black Canyon. But it wasn't until 1869 that Major John Wesley Powell
made the first trip through the Grand Canyon. He led an expedition
by boat, recording and mapping his journey. His journals are still
in print and provide exciting reading for modern adventurers ready
to discover the greatness of the Desert Southwest.