Lake Mohave was created with the completion of Davis Dam in 1953 and impoundment of the Colorado River below Hoover Dam. This region of the Colorado River Valley lies between the Black Mountains to the east and the Eldorado and Newberry Mountains to the west. Metamorphic and coarse-grained igneous rock make up most of the exposed bedrock of these mountains. The northern section of the reservoir is constrained by the steep volcanic walls of Black Canyon.
Below Black Canyon, Lake Mohave gradually widens with alluvial deposits bounding this section of the lake. Further south, Lake Mohave is constricted by a local protrusion of volcanic rock at Painted Canyon. The lake widens again to the south where it lies within a wider, more gently sloping alluvial basin, reaching its greatest width in the central part of this basin. Lake Mohave is constricted once again to the south with increasing slope of the alluvial basin and is bounded by the steep slopes of the Newberry Mountains to the west and alluvium to the east. Davis Dam, constructed within a narrow gorge cut into Precambrian igneous rock, marks the southern end of the lake.