Nature & Science

Yellow wildflowers and cacti overlooking a road in the distance

Photo Credit: Andrew Cattoir

Attracted at first by the cool, refreshing water, visitors find other unexpected rewards. The quiet, stark beauty of the Mojave Desert, with its dramatically exposed geology and the surprising abundance of specially adapted plant and animals, offers a variety of experiences for everyone.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a startling contrast of desert and water, mountains and canyons, primitive backcountry and busy marinas. Dams that back up the Colorado River as it flows through one of the hottest, driest regions on earth created Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Established as America's first national recreation area, it is a destination for millions of visitors who flock to the desert for boating, fishing, swimming and water-skiing.

Lake Mead with mountains in the background

Atlas of Lake Mead

Explore the topics of nature and history that make up one of the most visited parks in the National Park System

Boat in water full of bluegreen algae

Bluegreen Algae

Blue-green algae occur naturally in many lakes and rivers and have been found in parts of lakes Mead and Mohave.

Close-up of orange flowers

Plants of Lake Mead

Favorable rains in early spring transform the seemingly bare slopes and washes into a mass of color.

Many quagga mussels near rocks

Environmental Factors

Over the years, human activities have impacted the natural resources of Lake Mead National Recreation Area in many ways.

Blue sky between two cliffs behind a lake

Natural Features and Ecosystems

Lake Mead National Recreation Area provides spectacular scenic vistas of Lake Mead and rugged and isolated backcountry.

Close up of rock paintings on cliff wall

Research at Lake Mead

Information about researching at Lake Mead

Building floating on a lake

Climate Friendly Initiatives

The Climate Friendly Parks program is one component of the National Park Service Green Parks Plan, an integrated approach by the NPS t


Last updated: October 3, 2019

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Mailing Address:

601 Nevada Way
Boulder City, NV 89005


(702) 293-8990

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