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River marks Nevada’s low point near Laughlin

Editor’s Note: Nevada 150 is a yearlong series highlighting the people, places and things that make up the history of the state.

In a state known for its high desert and soaring peaks, Nevada’s lowest point is actually a watery location not far from Arizona and California.

At 479 feet, the Colorado River south of Laughlin enjoys the honor of being the Silver State’s lowest geographic spot.

The low elevation in the Laughlin area provides a low humidity climate and warm winter weather that attracts boaters in the summer and snowbirds in the winter months, said Meg McDaniel, senior manager of external destinations for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

In essence, the Colorado River is Laughlin’s main street, she said. The river provides a water avenue for the hotel docks, personal watercraft recreation, fishing, scuba diving, river boat tours and a place for water-based events.

“Descending from any direction into the Colorado River valley is a spectacular sight of casino lights reflecting off the river,” McDaniel said. “It is the centerpiece of Laughlin’s experience.”

The Colorado River might be Nevada’s low point, but it’s a high point for critters. The river lures big horn sheep, bobcats, foxes, burros, raccoons and beavers.

And for bird lovers, consider that more than 300 species migrate through the Colorado River valley primarily in the late winter and spring.

The low point on the river has some fascinating features. For example, the water depth ranges from eight to 60 feet. It’s crystal clear and visitors have been known to see fish swimming from the river walk. The river is a chilly 55 degrees year-round when it emerges from the base of Davis Dam.

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