Most People Have Forgotten About This Abandoned Resort in Nevada


Nevada is a state of extremes, from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to the wide and desolate vistas of the desert. However, among the natural and man-made wonders, some overlooked locations tell a different story about the Silver State. One of these areas is the Emerald River resort, which was once a promising concept but was never completed and is now abandoned on the outskirts of Laughlin.

The Rise and Fall of the Emerald River

Emerald River, planned during Laughlin’s roaring growth spurt, was supposed to be the most expensive casino resort in Nevada at the time, with four hotels, a golf course, and a 1 million-square-foot shopping mall, according to one report — all told, a $800 million tab in 1988, or more than $1.6 billion today. Don Laughlin, the town’s namesake, envisioned a world-class attraction that could compete with Las Vegas and attract millions of visitors.

However, the project encountered some obstacles and delays, including environmental concerns, financial troubles, and legal battles. By the early 1990s, the building had stopped, and the property remained unfinished. Only a few structures were finished, including a parking garage, a water tower, and a bridge. The rest of the area was vacant and overrun with weeds.

The Current State of the Emerald River

Today, the Emerald River resort stands as a ghostly reminder of what may have been. The location is gated off and patrolled by security, but a few interested explorers have managed to get in and photograph the degradation.

The concrete structures are graffiti-covered, the windows are cracked, and the metal is rusty. The golf field has dried up, and the mall is deserted. The only traces of life are the rare wildlife and the homeless individuals who seek refuge in the ruins.

The future of Emerald River is unknown because the land is still owned by Don Laughlin, who is now in his 90s. There have been several rumors and ideas to resurrect or redevelop the site, but none have materialized thus far. Residents and visitors to Laughlin continue to speculate what the resort might have been like if it had ever opened.


To summarize, the story of the Emerald River resort in Nevada is a moving account of lofty hopes destroyed by unexpected obstacles. Despite its great concept, the resort today remains as a melancholy reminder of unfulfilled potential, marred by graffiti-covered architecture and ruin. With an unclear future, the site remains a strange and unrealized chapter in Laughlin’s history, fueling speculation about what might have been.

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