Rolling on the River in Laughlin

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LAUGHLIN, Nevada. — The Colorado River is more than a linear oasis in the desert between Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona. It’s also a major recreational asset.

While jet skis, powerboats and river taxis do zoom around on this stretch of the river, many visitors enjoy quiet, self-powered escapes in kayaks, especially if your float starts early in the day. For instance, Desert River Outfitters puts about 7,000 people on the river each year for a variety of short floats lasting between two and four hours.

Davis Dam is the initial backdrop for a float through Laughlin. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

Davis Dam is the initial backdrop for a float through Laughlin. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

You put in just below Davis Dam and start your float with some surprising backgrounds — the towering, sparkling, gaudy casinos of Laughlin and the Home Depot and beautiful homes of Bullhead City. Just beyond that, however, the scenery calms down, nature starts to prevail. Rock formations, grassy banks and the occasional mallard duck replace the casinos and the beer-drinking spectators on the Laughlin Riverwalk.

The towering casinos of Laughlin line part of the Colorado River. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

The towering casinos of Laughlin line part of the Colorado River. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

There are a few niches in the riverbank, alcoves almost, with patches of sand and smiling picnickers, and perhaps too soon, the takeout site comes into view. Your float is over, and the real world is just over the hill.

Despite casinos, jet skis and the occasional powerboat, moments of solitude are possible on a Laughlin float. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

Despite casinos, jet skis and the occasional powerboat, moments of solitude are possible on a Laughlin float. (Photo by Tom Adkinson)

(Visitor information is available at VisitLaughlin.com.)

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