• Sunset at Lake Mead's Boulder Basin

    Lake Mead

    National Recreation Area AZ,NV

There are park alerts in effect.
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    The Nevada Department of Transportation reopened a northbound and southbound lane of Interstate 15 Sept. 12; therefore, Lake Mead National Recreation Area entrance fees will resume Sept. 14. More »

  • Important Notice to Mariners

    Lake Mead water elevations will be declining throughout the summer. Before launching, check lake levels, launch ramp conditions, changes to Aids to Navigation and weather conditions by clicking on More »

  • Areas of Park Impacted by Storm Damage

    Strong storms rolled through Lake Mead National Recreation Area Aug. 3-4, causing damage to some areas of the park. Crews are working to restore the below locations. Debris may be present in other areas of the park, as well, especially in the backcountry. More »


Lake Mead

As Lake Mead was filling, it became apparent that here would be a unique resource. A giant lake in the desert would offer almost unlimited water-based recreation on a year-round basis. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, realizing the magnitude of the job of administering such a vast resource, turned to its sister agency in the Department of the Interior for its expertise and help. By a memorandum of agreement, the National Park Service assumed administration of "Boulder Dam Recreation Area" on October 13, 1936.

On October 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the act that formally established the "Lake Mead National Recreation Area." This act redesignated the old Boulder Dam Recreation Area, whose boundaries had been substantially enlarged in 1947 to include the yet-to-be-filled Lake Mohave, in recognition of its equally significant recreational opportunities. The area as established in 1964 included some 3,000 square miles of lake and desert out to the western boundary of Grand Canyon National Monument. In actuality, then, the recreation area encompassed over 90 miles of the westernmost Grand Canyon. It also included the highland area north of the Grand Canyon known as the "Shivwits Plateau."

In 1974 the boundaries of the recreation area were again modified. Grand Canyon National Park was expanded to include all of Grand Canyon National Monument and the Lake Mead portion of the Grand Canyon. Thus, the entire Grand Canyon came to be under one administrative unit. The Shivwits Plateau continues to be a part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The muddy waters of the river are now calm. For most visitors, the essence of Lake Mead National Recreation Area is in fact the clear, clean lakes. Water is king, and its reign is largely a happy one.

Lake Mead and Lake Mohave offer the visitor identical opportunities for water recreation, yet each lake has its own qualities and its own special appeal.

Did You Know?

Down River view of Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric installation at the time of its construction, presented massive challenges to its designers and builders, yet the project was completed in less than five years! Hoover Dam backed up the waters of the Colorado River to create Lake Mead.