River cruisers are generally larger and more metallic than the stream cruiser. This cruiser has bright yellow and dark brown coloration. The body length averages about 2.9 inches. The thorax has parallel-sided full-length yellow frontal stripes, The abdomen has a yellow ring near its base and yellow spots in pairs dorsally. The tip of the abdomen has no markings. The male abdomen is slightly clubbed. The eyes are blue-green. The female is similar to the male.
Found in southeastern United States, from Texas to Ohio, the gilded river cruiser prefers streams and rivers. Like the stream cruiser larvae, the larvae may travel more than 40 to 50 feet before emerging. Wisconsin may have been part of the historical range as there is a historical record from Milwaukee County.
Throughout its range, the flight season is from mid-April to late August.