Lake Mead National Recreation Area
With Lakes Mead and Mohave as the central focus, visitors to Lake Mead National Recreation Area may enjoy a variety of water recreation activities in a rugged and picturesque setting. Lakes Mead and Mohave offer some of the country's best sport fishing. Boating and water skiing are favorite activities on the broad expanses of open water, along with kayaking and canoeing.
Shaded picnic areas with tables, water, fire grills, and restrooms are located throughout the area.
Several paved roads wind through the dramatic desert scenery of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Towering stark mountains, plateaus, desert basins of cactuses and creosote bush, and vertical-walled canyons are some of the sights motorists can discover. Short desert hikes lead to places you will never see from a boat or car.
Approved Backcountry Roads - A network of backcountry roads has been developed to provide access to the lakeshore and other areas of interest in the backcountry. Approved roads are signed with a yellow arrow. The black number in the center of the arrow designates the road number. Driving on roads or trails not marked with the yellow arrow is prohibited.
Driving off roads, in washes, or cross country damages the fragile desert soil and is prohibited by National Park Service regulations. Please check with local rangers on the road conditions before driving into the backcountry.
Boating - Water Sports
With Lakes Mead and Mohave as the central focus, visitors to Lake Mead NRA can enjoy a variety of water recreation activities in a setting of rugged mountains, desert washes, sheer cliffs, colorful soils and rock formations, in addition to the ever-changing blues of the lakes.
Lakes Mead and Mohave offer some of the country's best sport fishing. Largemouth bass, striped bass, rainbow trout, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill are found in both lakes.
Boating of all kinds is popular within Lake Mead NRA. Water-skiing is a favorite activity on the broad expanses of open water, along with kayaking and canoeing. Increasing numbers of sailboats and sailboards are seen because of the dependable desert winds, and personal watercraft use is gaining popularity.
Of course, swimming is a major form of water recreation during summer months when lake temperatures warm into the 80-degree range. Both lakes are clear, clean and also ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. No lifeguards are present. Never swim alone.
Kayaking Below the Dam Hoover Dam to Willow Beach
Swimming - Please be aware that there are no life guards or designated swim beaches at Lakes Mead or Mohave. Always wear a life jacket. Most fatalities at Lake Mead National Recreation Area could have been avoided if the person in the water was wearing a life jacket. Keep a very close eye on children and choose areas to wade where there isn’t any boat traffic. Distances are deceiving at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and most coves are too big to swim across. Know your limits. Swimming is prohibited at all marinas and launch areas.
Swim at your own risk.
Scenic Drives/Auto Tours -Several paved roads wind through the dramatic desert scenery of Lake Mead country. Towering stark mountains, plateaus, desert basins of cactuses and creosote bush, and vertical-walled canyons are some of the sights motorists can discover.
One popular tour follows the Lakeshore and Northshore Scenic Drives along the edge of Lake Mead. From these roads there are panoramic views of the blue lake set against a backdrop of the browns, blacks, red and grays of the desert mountains.
Northshore Scenic Drive also leads through areas of brilliant red boulders and rock formations. Driving off designated roads is not permitted.
heck on road conditions before traveling these routes. Take water for yourself and your vehicle and tools for emergency repairs. Drive only on paved roads or unpaved roads signed with yellow arrows.
Wildflowers in the spring - check out our wildflower update.
Picnicking - There are shaded picnic areas located throughout the park. Please be sure to clean up all of your litter and keep our park clean. Picnicking is also welcome on all the beaches but you may want to bring your own shade. Shaded picnic areas with tables, water, fire grills, and restrooms are located at . . .
- Callville Bay
- Las Vegas Bay
- Boulder Beach
- Cottonwood Cove (Lake Mohave)
- Katherine (Lake Mohave)
There are also picnic areas along Northshore Road, including one at Rogers Spring; these do not have drinking water.
The spectacular rugged scenery at Lake Mead NRA is perfect for scenic photography. The best time to shoot is in early morning or early evening when the shadows and contrasts are more pronounced. The winter skies, spring flowers, summer recreation and fall clarity make for year-round photographic opportunities. Remember to always lock up you equipment out of sight in your vehicle. In the summertime, cars and trunks can get too hot for equipment to be stored for very long.
For a general overview of the area see Magnificent Lakes Mead & Mohave
Related DesertUSA Pages
- How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
- 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert
- Your GPS Navigation Systems
May Get You Killed
- 7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
- Desert Survival Skills
- Successful Search & Rescue Missions with Happy Endings
- How to Keep Ice Cold in the Desert
Survival Tips for Horse and Rider
an Emergency Survival Kit
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)
Click here to see current desert temperatures!