Lake Mead National Recreation Neighborhood is a sprawling natural space close to Las Vegas that draws in more than 7 million visitors a year. Lake Mead reservoir and its natural surrounds offer plenty for outdoor lovers with the chance to go boating, kayaking, hiking, bicycling, bathing, fishing, or just finding a spot to relax to take in the dramatic night skies.

Within the area’s 1.5 million acres you’ll discover the bright blue waters of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, a stunning landscape of mountains and canyons, and 9 wilderness neighborhoods. Found just a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas, Lake Mead is easy to explore on a day trip. Overnight camping in Lake Mead is also possible with more than 900 campgrounds at 15 locations available for a small fee.

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What are the highlights of Lake Mead?

The 640-square-kilometre reservoir was created when the Hoover Dam was built. It’s one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Boating and sport fishing are among its most popular activities, with boat rental available at each of its 3 marinas. Several beaches fringe the lake, some designated for bathing only while others like Boulder Beach also allow for kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Shaded picnic facilities are set up at several locations around the lake, popular with families enjoying a day out surrounded by nature. 

Hikers, bicyclists and road trippers have many miles of roads and trails leading through the scenic Mojave Desert landscape to explore. From the comfort of your automobile, you could cruise the park’s paved roads to see the starkly beautiful mountains and canyons, while the hiking and biking trails offer a more close-up look at the fascinating desert ecosystem. It’s also possible to arrange for guided hikes by park rangers, best done during the cooler months of November through March.

What’s unique about Lake Mead National Recreation Neighborhood

The region around Lake Mead has a rich variety of plant and animal life, many unique to this area where the Mojave, Great Basin and Sonoran deserts meet. Red sandstone and black lava rock from ancient volcanoes give some added colors to the mountain and valley vistas, while the area’s geologic forces have created striking natural landmarks like the towering rock formation called Liberty Bell Arch and dozens of hot springs. Lake Mead’s desert landscape is home to the iconic Joshua tree, several varieties of cactus and other hearty plants like rock nettle and creosote bush.

Desert bighorn with their majestic, curved horns can be spotted grazing high in the hills while the desert tortoise – an endangered species – can sometimes be seen rambling in search of plants to eat. Wild burros, descendants of domesticated donkeys brought over by the Spanish in the 1500s, roam freely across the landscape, as does the mighty mountain lion. Birdwatchers have the chance to find several bird species including more than 100 kinds of ducks, American bald eagles and burrowing owls.   

Good to know about Lake Mead National Recreation Neighborhood

Lake Mead National Recreation Neighborhood is open to visitors 24/7, though some beaches and facilities are open for day-use only from dawn to dusk. There's an entry fee to the area, with additional charges for booking a camp ground and using the boat launches. It’s easy to explore for independent travelers, but guided tours from Las Vegas are also available. Lake Mead has 3 marinas and campgrounds for both tents and RVs. Some campgrounds have laundry and shower facilities, while provisions and fishing equipment are available at the marinas. Rentals for houseboats, fishing boats and jet skis may be arranged at the marinas. 

The springtime months of April, May and June and in the autumn from October through December are the busiest with the most comfortable temperatures. Some hiking trails shut down during the summer months of July through September due to the excessive heat. During the winter months of January through March, you can enjoy cooler daytime temperatures ranging from 14°C to 21°C along with views of snow-capped mountains.

Lake Mead National Recreation Neighborhood in Las Vegas

Location: Lake Mead Visitor Center, 10 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005, USA

Phone: +1 702-293-8990

Lana Willocks | Contributing Writer