The creation of the recreation area – Lake Mead National Recreation Area with the 177 km long Lake Mead is due to the construction of the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River Dam with its 221 meter high dam was completed in 1936 and is primarily used for controlled water discharge in Arizona, Nevada and California. In addition, electricity is generated here for the western United States. This dam created Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.
According to travelationary, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers an area of more than 6,000 km² and offers endless recreational opportunities. The huge lake is an ideal leisure oasis for boaters, swimmers, sunbathers and fishermen. The desert areas inspire hikers and wildlife photographers alike. Three of America’s four desert ecosystems – the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin and the Sonoran Desert – meet in Lake Mead NRA. The seemingly barren area is home to a surprising variety of plants and animals, some of which are unique to this part of the world.
The area is home to bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, lynxes, ring-tailed cats, many lizards, snakes and an abundance of bird species. Threatened and endangered species like the desert tortoise and peregrine falcon can be found here, as well as ancient Colorado River fish species.
A short drive north of Laughlin and Bullhead City is Lake Mohave Reservoir, which is 67 miles long. The lake, just 4 miles wide, was created by Davis Dam and is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service. Lake Mohave is a habitat for fish and wildlife – and is now also popular because of its clear water. Flash floods from below Hoover Dam are contained here.
Location and Size
Lake Mead is located on the border between the states of Arizona and Nevada, about 50 kilometers southeast of Las Vegas. The 170 km long, 149 m deep and 640 km² large reservoir serves to generate hydroelectric power, supply drinking water in southern California and irrigate fields in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) covers an area of 6,053 km² and has 1,320 km of shoreline. The heart of the Lake Mead Recreation Area lies behind the Hoover Dam in southern Nevada near Boulder City.
From Las Vegas, take US 93/US 95 toward Needles/Phoenix, through Boulder City, then turn left onto North Pierce Ferry Road, 4 miles to Lake Mead National Recreation Area (120 miles, 2 hours 20 minutes driving time). To the route >>
Or: Head northeast on N Las Vegas Blvd towards E Ogden Ave, turn right onto I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S (31.6 km), continue on US-93 S (8.7 km), straight on Nevada Way to Lake Mead National Recreation Area (42 km, 30 minutes drive)
of Operation Lake Mead National Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Some beaches and areas can only be used during the day. These are clearly marked with signs.
Alan Bible Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
The visitor center is off US-93 6.5 km (4 miles) northeast of Boulder City, Nevada. In addition to an information exhibition, the shop in the visitor center also offers books, brochures and extensive maps of the region.
USD 25 per vehicle including all passengers, USD 20 for motorcycles, USD 15 for hikers and cyclists, each valid for seven days.
America the Beautiful Annual Pass
The annual pass costs $80 and entitles you to visit over 2,000 US federal recreation areas and national parks for one year from the date of purchase. The entrance fee applies to the driver and all passengers of a private, non-commercial vehicle (or up to a maximum of 4 adults in total if per-person entrance fees are charged). Children under 16 are free. If you visit more than 4 national parks, it is usually worth buying the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
The pass can be purchased at many stores across the US and is also available in advance from various tour operators.
In Boulder City, Nevada, at the entrance to Lake Mead, are the Lake Mead Recreation Area Administrative Offices and a Super 8 Motel. The sprawling city of Bullhead City, Arizona follows the shoreline of Arizona’s Colorado River. Here you will find a comprehensive range of accommodation and restaurants. This is particularly convenient for visitors who wish to base their stay on Katherine Landing and the surrounding bays. Laughlin/Nevada has modern casinos located on the west bank of the Colorado River. Henderson, Nevada offers all the conveniences a visitor needs, and Las Vegas offers a huge range of hotels and entertainment.
National Park Service campgrounds can be found in numerous locations. All have toilets, running water, waste disposal stations, grills, tables and mostly also shady places. Mobile homes, caravans and tents are welcome. The campsites are open all year round. The fee is $20 per night. Seats are allocated according to the ‘first come, first serve’ principle. Reservations are not possible.
Boulder Basin Area : Boulder Beach* offers 154 sites, Tel: (702) 293-2540. Callville Bay has 80 sites Tel: (702) 394-4000. Las Vegas Bay has 89 pitches.
Overton Arms Area: There are 166 sites available in Echo Bay* Tel: (702) 394-4000. East Lake Mead Area: There are 153 sites in Temple Bar* Tel: (928) 767-3211.
* These campsites also offer connections (“hookups” with water, electricity, usually also sewerage) for mobile homes. In Boulder Beach, RV hookups are available at Lake Mead RV Village.
In winter, temperatures vary between -1°C and 15°C and it can be windy. Spring and fall are the best seasons for camping: the days are warm and the evenings are cool. Summer brings hot temperatures that average over 38°C and cool down to 26°C at night. Water temperatures range from 7°C to 29°C, both in winter and summer.
However, the weather in the Mojave Desert also knows extremes. Storms and resulting flooding are possible year-round.
|Average temperatures in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in °C|
Under no circumstances should you camp in valleys. Great caution is required in bad weather in the canyons! You should definitely avoid driving through flooded areas. Dirt roads are often impassable after rain.
Lake Mead and Lake Mohave are the hubs for a large number of recreational activities in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Both lakes are a paradise for anglers, boat tours, water skiing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing.
Several paved roads meander through the dramatic desert landscape of the Lake Mead area. High mountains, plateaus, desert basins with cacti and bushes, towering gorge walls are just a few of the sights that can be discovered by drivers.
A popular tour follows the Lakeshore and Northshore Scenic Drives along the edge of Lake Mead. From these roads there is a panoramic view of the blue lake with the brown, black and red desert mountains in the background. The Northshore Scenic Drive passes through areas of bright red cliffs and rock formations. Please note: driving off the marked roads is prohibited!
Picnicking There are shaded picnic areas throughout the park . Picnicking is also possible on all beaches.
Lake Mead NRA’s spectacularly wild landscape provides plenty of photo opportunities. The best time for beautiful photos is early morning and early evening, when shadows and contrasts are more pronounced.