Lakeshore Road is probably considered "main street" here at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We have many other great drives but this is the oldest and most used road in the park.
The 12-mile drive along Lakeshore Road has a variety of views and attractions. We'll begin our adventure at the southern end of Lakeshore Road, near the visitor center. As you turn onto Lakeshore from Interstate 93 you are traveling the newest portion of the road. The old alignment (photo at top of this page) was more of a straight drive about a quarter mile east, near the Hoover Dam Lodge.
The first place we see is the Lake Mead Visitor Center to your right. Here you will find information about the park, from 3D displays to helpful park rangers ready to answer any question you have about the park trails, campgrounds and more.
Historic Railroad Trailhead ParkingJust a few hundred feet further down Lakeshore Road we come to the parking area and trailhead for the Historic Railroad Trail on your right. This was once a thriving railroad switching yard called "Lawler Junction" during the construction of Hoover Dam. The trail goes in two directions, one back up into Boulder City, which from the parking lot you will see a tunnel under Lakeshore Road leading in that direction. The other direction leads eventually to Hoover Dam through five tunnels built back in the 1930's.
The parking lot is also a convenient spot to start or end your trip along the River Mountains Loop Trail, which travels through Lake Mead, Boulder City and Henderson. This is a 35-mile loop trail and can be traveled in either direction.
Boulder Beach Entrance Station
The next stop is the Lake Mead Boulder Beach Entrance Station. This is staffed by park rangers who, besides collecting the entrance fee, are a valuable asset when it comes to asking for information about the park.
Lake Mead Marina/Las Vegas Boat Harbor/Lake Mead Cruises
Want to get on the lake but you don't have a boat? Well no worries, this is one of several locations at Lake Mead NRA to rent vessels. To your right, just past the entrance station, is the Hemenway Harbor Road which takes you to the Lake Mead and Las Vegas Boat Harbor Marinas. Here you can rent a boat, ride the historic paddlewheeler 'Desert Princess' or rent a canoe or kayak. The marina has a restaurant and convenience store with a great view of Boulder Basin and the surrounding mountains.
Lake Mead RV Village/Campground/Picnic Area/Ranger Station
Next on the road, at mile two, is one of the RV parks in the Recreation Area. Next door is the campground where you can set up your own tent and experience desert camping. There is also a picnic area, ranger station and the water safety facility for Lake Mead.
Lake Mead LodgeContinuing on Lakeshore Road is the historic Lake Mead Lodge. Built in 1941 (and now closed) the lodge was one of the first 'resorts' at Lake Mead. Even back in the 1950's Lake Mead was receiving more than two-million visitors a year and they needed a place to stay. Las Vegas was not as large as it is now with the many hotels and motel choices available. The shores of Boulder Beach was chosen as the location for the resort because of its close proximity to the lake and Boulder City.
Boulder HarborOur next feature on the right is Boulder Harbor, a great place to launch a boat. you can see Pyramid Island and Saddle Island, which are no longer islands, due to the lower water levels. At "full pool", what park officials call it when the lake cannot take any more water, these two land masses were surrounded by water.
Fish HatcheryAbout a mile away from the Saddle Island area is the Lake Mead Fish Hatchery (closed). Built in 1969, the hatchery was created to grow striped bass and seven other trout species in order to stock Lake Mead with desirable sport fish. Due to the lowered water levels and quagga mussel infestation, the hatchery was closed in 2011.
Overlooks & Picnic AreasThe next thee miles there are several overlooks and picnic areas. These provide a great place to get out and stretch your legs, have a nice picnic lunch and enjoy the wonderful views of Lake Mead and its surroundings. Restrooms, picnic tables, parking and trash cans are found at each location.
Las Vegas Bay/Campground/Bluffs TrailBefore the lowering lake levels Las Vegas Bay Marina was a thriving boat launch and full-service marina. There are still more than 80 camping sites with shade, picnic tables and fire pits. Nearby is the Bluffs Trail where water enters Lake Mead from the Las Vegas Wash. This is an excellent birding location.
Northshore Road/Entrance StationOur final location on our travels is the intersection of Northshore Road and Lakeshore Road. Going straight leads you out of the park into the city of Henderson. Turn right on Northshore Road and you will be visiting the northern sections of the park. Visit our Northshore Road page.
Last updated: July 28, 2016