Key message: A stable QTL that may be used in marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding programs was detected for yield, yield components and drought tolerance-related traits in spring wheat association mapping panel. Genome-wide association mapping has become a widespread method of quantitative trait locus (QTL) identification for many crop plants including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Its benefit over traditional bi-parental mapping approaches depends on the extent of linkage disequilibrium in the mapping population. The objectives of this study were to determine linkage disequilibrium decay rate and population structure in a spring wheat association mapping panel (n = 285-294) and to identify markers associated with yield and yield components, morphological, phenological, and drought tolerance-related traits. The study was conducted under fully irrigated and rain-fed conditions at Greeley, CO, USA and Melkassa, Ethiopia in 2010 and 2011 (five total environments). Genotypic data were generated using diversity array technology markers. Linkage disequilibrium decay rate extended over a longer genetic distance for the D genome (6.8 cM) than for the A and B genomes (1.7 and 2.0 cM, respectively). Seven subpopulations were identified with population structure analysis. A stable QTL was detected for grain yield on chromosome 2DS both under irrigated and rain-fed conditions. A multi-trait region significant for yield and yield components was found on chromosome 5B. Grain yield QTL on chromosome 1BS co-localized with harvest index QTL. Vegetation indices shared QTL with harvest index on chromosome 1AL and 5A. After validation in relevant genetic backgrounds and environments, QTL detected in this study for yield, yield components and drought tolerance-related traits may be used in marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding programs.