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North America > United States of America > Southwest (United States of America) > Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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Lake Mead seen from Highway 93

Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) is a United States National Recreation Area in southern Nevada along the northern border of Arizona.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Lake Mead NRA contains two large lakes, Lakes Mead and Lake Mohave, which are reservoirs created by the Hoover and Davis Dams. About 96 percent of the water in Lake Mead is from melted snow that fell in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. Lake Mead extends for 110 miles behind the Hoover Dam (completed in 1936), while Lake Mohave extends for 67 miles behind the Davis Dam (completed in 1951).

Landscape[edit]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Climate[edit]

One of the many aspects of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area that continually draws visitors is its good weather. Many people come just to relax in the land of the sun. Refugees from states hit hard by winter's icy clutch often flee to this area to spend a mild winter. Sunbathers and water skiers spend summers here to toast in the 110 °F plus temperatures. The area generally has less than five inches of annual rainfall. Water temperatures may range from 45 °F to 85 °F at different times of the year.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Lake Mead NRA is approximately 25 miles from McCarran International Airport (LAS IATA) in Las Vegas. Other communities bordering and near Lake Mead NRA have smaller airports.

By car[edit]

There are nine paved accesses into Lake Mead NRA.

By public transportation[edit]

There is no public transportation serving the park, although tour buses operate from many Las Vegas resorts and attractions.

Fees and permits[edit]

Fees for individuals entering the park are $15, good for seven days. Fees for vehicles (including all passengers) are $25, also good for seven days. An annual pass is available for $45 that allows free entrance for one calendar year.

There are several passes for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes are valid at all national parks including Lake Mead National Recreation Area:

  • The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also obtain a $20 annual pass.
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
  • Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can receive a free Volunteer Pass.
  • 4th graders can receive an Annual 4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle. Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required.

In 2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).

Get around[edit]

Map of Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Paved roads lead to all major sites. There are many approved backcountry roads.

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Kayak the Colorado River from Willow Beach. Nice hiking, hot springs, and camping. The river is closed to motorized boats on Sundays and Mondays, but expect to find a few motorboats ignoring this rule.

  • Desert Adventures, 1647A Nevada Highway, Boulder City, +1 702-293-5026. Offers paddling trips on the Colorado River or Lake Mead.
  • Swim or picnic at the beaches.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Camping is the best thing you can do.

Lodging[edit]

Camping[edit]

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

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