This geologic map includes a trove of stratigraphic and geomorphic information that chronicles the inception and evolution of the lower Colorado River. The map area is located near the south end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area about 80 km (50 mi) downstream from Hoover Dam. It spans parts of northwestern Arizona and southern Nevada near the south end of Cottonwood Valley. The map includes the Spirit Mountain SE 7.5' quadrangle and the southern part of the Spirit Mountain NE 7.5' quadrangle. The map area contains well-exposed Neogene and Quaternary strata and associated geomorphic features that record and are critical in dating the arrival of the Colorado River in the early Pliocene and the subsequent history of the river and its landscape through the Holocene. The valley is bounded on the west by the Newberry Mountains (Nevada) and on the east by the Black Mountains (Arizona) and includes part of Lake Mohave, a reservoir created by the completion of Davis Dam in 1951. This map does not include the geology of the reservoir floor and focuses only on surficial deposits.