Bullhead City, Arizona

Bullhead City is located on the Colorado River in Mohave County, Arizona, United States of America. Bullhead City covers a total area of 154 square km, of which 153.8 square km is land and 0.2 square km is water. 

The city got its name after a unique rock formation in the shape of a bull’s head, which once jutted upward out of the river. The rock became submerged in the 1950s when Davis Dam was completed, and Lake Mohave filled.

Colorado River in Bullhead City
RV camping spots at Davis Campground on the Colorado River located north of Bullhead City, Arizona. Editorial credit: Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock.com

The Population Of Bullhead City

In 2019, Bullhead was home to 40,300 people with a median age of 52. The majority of the population of Bullhead are considered White, and in 2019, there were 3.79 times more non-Hispanic White residents than any other race or ethnicity. The largest ethnic groups in Bullhead are non-Hispanic White at 70.9% of the population, the Hispanic community that represents 18.7% of the population, followed by Two+ races at 1.99%, and Black or African American at 1.54%. All the households in Bullhead use English as their primary language, and 96.1% of the residents are U.S. citizens. A good part of the population of Bullhead own their homes as the homeownership rate reached 57.5%, and the average car ownership is two cars per household.

Economy Of Bullhead

Tourism is the main activity in the area, and the median household income in Bullhead records $41,507. Although the income inequality in Arizona is lower than the national average (0.465 measured using the Gini index), males tend to earn more than females with an average income that is 1.3 times higher than the average income of females. 

The economy of Bullhead employs more than a quarter of its population in different industries. The largest industries are Accommodation & Food Services, Arts Entertainment & Recreation, and Retail Trade. On the other hand, Public Administration, Utilities are the highest paying industries in Bullhead.

Rocks and Cholla cactus at Silver Creek Rd between Oatman and Bullhead City.

History Of Bullhead

The Mojave people are the first to inhabit the Colorado River. The soil is rich and full of water and helped the valley’s natives with the necessities to create a prosperous farming community. According to Mojave legend, life began on Spirit Mountain (Nevada), the highest peak visible from Bullhead City. The Spanish explorer Melchor Diaz was the first European the area had contact with. Diaz documented his travels in Northwestern Mohave County in 1540. Diaz has accounts of meeting a large population of natives who referred to themselves as the Pipa Aha Macav, which means “People by the River.” The Mohave County uses the modern English spelling of “Mojave,” a shortened version of “Aha Macav”.

In the 19th century, today’s sit of Bullhead City was called Hardyville in honor of early politician and resident William Hardy. Hardy was a New York native and entrepreneur who established a ferry across the Colorado River and raised Angora goats. He was the second richest man in Arizona with a net worth of over $40,000 in 1864. Hardy was a controversial figure. He was the county supervisor, a postmaster, and a member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature. 

Between 1852 and 1909, steamboats made regular trips up the Colorado River. The steamboats came from Port Isabel, Sonora, passing Hardyville regularly and playing an important role in the early development of the Colorado River areas. 

Although the 19th century saw a population increase due to the profitable mining activities, the beginning of the 20th century saw the mining activities move away from the Colorado River and Hardyville. The completion of the railroad from Needles, California to Kingman, Arizona, caused the abandonment of Hardyville that became a ghost town. 

Davis Dam near Bullhead City
Davis Dam near Bullhead City. 

Decades later, the construction of Davis Dam between 1942 and 1953 resurrected Hardyville as Bullhead City. The dam was called Bullhead Dam after a well-known landmark along the Colorado River, the Bull’s Head Rock. Bullhead City was the headquarters for the construction project. Thus, it took the name “Bullhead City.”

In 1970, Bullhead City was the name given to a six-block area that ran across Don Laughlin’s casino. In 1984, the small communities of Bullhead City, Riviera, and Holiday Shores voted to incorporate and chose the name “Bullhead City” for its historical significance. Bullhead City has grown in popularity as a tourist destination, increasing the population.

Tourist Attractions In Bullhead

Lake mohave
A view of Katherine Landing at the border of Arizona and Nevada on Mohave Lake. 

In the summer, the temperature reaches 38 °C. However, people still visit the area for water recreation activities on Lake Mohave and the Colorado River. In winter, tourists flock from colder states in their motor homes because of the mild winters.

Lake Mohave has 198 secluded beach coves, and Katherine Landing is a unique experience that attracts tourists worldwide. The sunny weather all year long makes it a perfect destination to visit anytime to swim, sunbathe, biking, boating, water skiing, and many more activities.

Arizona’s Colorado River offers many activities like canoeing, and “Water Taxis” are famous for reaching many casinos and hotels and making transportation more fun and pleasant.

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