Springs of Lake Mead


Lake Mead is one of the country’s largest fresh water bodies. However the lake is only part of the hydrological lifeblood of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Springs located throughout the park allow wildlife and plants to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable environment.

Lake Mead has over 300 springs of which eighty-nine have been surveyed. Most of these springs are below 1,000 ft in elevation and have very low flow rates, less than two gallons per minute.

Several springs at Lake Mead also provide visitors with a unique experience. Springs come in several varieties from hot springs that can get up to 140 degrees F., to seeps of water that trickle out of crevices in the rocks of Black Canyon.

The springs you can see all year round are called perennial. They have a source that comes from an aquifer located underground. The other type of spring is called ephemeral. Ephemeral springs have a source closer to the surface and usually only flow when the ground becomes saturated after it rains. Once the water source runs dry, so does the spring.

Rheochrene Springs are the most common type found at Lake Mead. These springs rise from the underground aquifer and flow directly into a channel or stream.
Limnocrene Springs: The main difference between the Rheochrine and Limnocrene is that with the Limnocrene the water pools before flowing.

Illustrations: Anthony Ross

Seep Springs are found where water has risen from an underground aquifer. They are usually small and rarely flow from their point of origin. However, In Black Canyon, seeps form on rocky hillsides and often cascade down the canyon walls.

Spring Dangers


Although springs, especially hot springs, are safe and fun to relax in, there is a slight danger from a rare and lethal amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. From 2002 to 2011, the Centers for Disease Control recorded 33 cases, with a 98% death rate.

This is not to say you cannot enjoy the springs in Lake Mead, just take some simple precautions. The amoeba enters the body through the nose only, it will not harm you if swallowed. Plugging your nose when going underwater, or keeping your head above water will prevent any infection. This is rare, but please be careful.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

601 Nevada Way
Boulder City, NV 89005


(702) 293-8990
Visitor Center is open daily.

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