Friday, January 22, 2016

Davis Dam and Lake Mohave

I recently wrote about the Riverwalk Exploration Trail in Laughlin (see "Riverwalk Exploration Trail"). The north end of the trail is the Davis Dam. A few days ago, Donna and I drove out there and walked across the Davis Dam.

From the Laughlin Bridge, take Highway 163 west for 3 or 4 miles. You’ll see a sign for Pyramid Canyon and the Davis Dam. Turn right onto this road. It heads northeast down a long slope. As soon as you get on the road, you might want to pull off to the side as this is a wonderful place to snap photos of the dam, Laughlin, and the mountains in the area.

Residential section of Bullhead City across the Colorado River in Arizona.
The road basically ends at the park which marks the north end of the paved Riverwalk Exploration Trail. We parked the truck in the parking lot, then continued up the road towards the dam. About a quarter mile up the road, barricades block entrance to the dam except for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Once on the dam, the clear blue waters of Lake Mohave snake their way northward along the course of the Colorado River. The contrast between the blue waters of the lake and the brown tones of the surrounding mountains is beautiful. The views looking south along the Colorado River and the casinos of Laughlin are also quite good. 

The blue waters of Lake Mohave contrast beautifully with the brown earth tones of the surrounding country. Notice how clear the water is at the bottom of the picture.

Looking downriver to Laughlin. That is the Riverside Casino visible. The boat in the center of the picture is a tour boat that takes visitors up and down the river.

Donna and I love the rugged country around Laughlin. We never tire of the views.
 Davis Dam, completed in 1951, today performs various tasks. It controls the flow of the unpredictable Colorado River, provides water to the desert region, and generates hydroelectric power. Lake Mohave, which is formed by Davis Dam, contains a surface area of nearly 30,000 acres. It stretches from Davis Dam all the way north to Hoover Dam. The Davis Power Plant produces 1.25 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to power over a million homes.

Kiosks are located on top of the power plant, providing information about the dam, the lake, and the power plant.

The power plant, as seen from the top of the dam.

This is the forebay, which stores water from the river. This is essentially level with the top of the power plant. From here, water passes through 5 intakes down through the power plant, turning the turbines and thereby creating electricity.

After flowing through the intakes, through the penstock, and turning the turbines, water returns to the river via the outflow, which is the area in the center of the above picture.

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