Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area
Big Bend of the Colorado Overview
Situated on the shores of the Colorado River at Nevada’s southern tip, Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is a 2,100-acre public recreation area that includes about two miles of sandy shoreline.
Because the park is downstream from Davis Dam, the river is clear and cool year-round.
Popular activities are camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and bird watching.
The nearby town of Laughlin offers the amenities of a Nevada gaming town.
- 1960 – The Fort Mohave Land Act of 1960 saw the transfer of 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) of federal land in the Laughlin Big Bend area to the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.
- 1991 – The commission transferred 2,100 acres (850 ha) to the Nevada Division of State Parks, which resulted in the establishment of Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area.
- 1996 – Opened to the public.
2,104.93 acres (8.5183 km2)
How to Get to Big Bend of the Colorado
4220 So. Needles Hwy. #3 – Laughlin, NV 89029
From the Laughlin Visitors Center, head south on South Casino Drive for about 7 miles. Make a left-hand turn (so you’re headed southbound) on Needles Highway and continue south for about 1 mile. The park will be on your left-hand side.
- January & February: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- March, April & May: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- June, July & August: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- September & October: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- November & December: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fees for Big Bend of the Colorado
There is an entrance fee of $10 per car if you do not hold a Nevada State Parks pass.
- Day use entrance fee: $10.00 per vehicle
- Boat launch: $10.00
- Camping: $20.00 per night + $10.00 per night for utility hookups
- Camp and boat: $30.00 per night + $10.00 per night for utility hookups
Big Bend of the Colorado Weather
During the summer… it’s HOT!
Laughlin has a desert climate, with under 6″ of precipitation per year.
Summers are very hot with days frequently exceeding 110 °F in July and August while night-time lows tend to stay between 76–86 °F.
The winters are mild with days typically seeing temperatures between 65–75 °F and corresponding night-time lows between 43–52 °F.
Laughlin is one of the United States’ hottest cities during the summer and it is not usual to see heat waves involving temperatures going over 120 °F.
The water temperature for the Colorado River that passes through Laughlin, Nevada is approximately 60 degrees and it does not vary much during the year because the river flows from the bottom of Lake Mojave.
What to Take to Big Bend of the Colorado
Depending on how you plan to spend your day, you may want to take the following:
- Beach towels and/or blankets
- Cooler packed with drinks and snacks
- Life jackets for the kids and dogs
- Water shoes
Click here to read our article on Hydrating Foods.
About four miles of trails weave throughout the developed area of the park.
The canyons in the area of the park west of the Needles Highway offer plenty of undeveloped areas to hike and explore.
- Big Sandy Loop – This loop trail is 1.4 miles long.
- Conservation Trail – This trail is 0.9 miles long.
- Fisherman’s Point Trail – This loop trail is 1.1 miles long.
- Riverside Loop – This loop trail is very short, at 0.2 miles.
- Sandy Loop – This loop trail is 0.4 miles.
- Swift Water Trail – This loop trail is 0.9 miles long.
The variety of waterfowl and shorebirds that make this park home include mallards, coots, herons, and geese.
Pets are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet in length.
Restrooms at Big Bend of the Colorado
Cell Phone Service at Big Bend of the Colorado
At this time it is unknown.
A two-lane boat ramp offers access to the river through a man-made lagoon that shelters the ramp from the river’s current.
A paved parking lot is available for boat trailers.
Big Bend boasts a 24-unit campground that is accessible year-round. All sites are on a first-come, first-served basis, reservations are not available.
All sites are designed to accommodate RVs with hookups for water, electricity, and sewer.
In addition, most of the sites have pull-through parking pads that can accommodate any size RV.
The sites also have a tent pad, a shade ramada, a barbecue grill, and a fire pit.
Three of the sites are ADA equipped and available for those visitors with the proper ADA permit.
Other amenities include restroom and shower facilities. Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
Shade ramadas are located along the shoreline in both the day-use and boat-ramp areas, some of which have tables and barbecue grills.
NOTE: Big Bend’s popularity can make it difficult to enter the Day-Use area during its peak summertime visitation. On weekends, during the busy months of June, July & August, the parking lots are often full from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. When the park has reached capacity, walk-ins and drop-offs are not allowed. It is recommended that large groups arrive early and ride together. Carpooling allows the park to accommodate more people during peak visitation.
Things to do in Laughlin, Nevada
Lodging and Dining
Additional Photos of Big Bend of the Colorado