When vacationing in Las Vegas, many people make the short trek over to Hoover Dam, one of the national wonders of the world. Instead of taking the popular route and the one that Google Maps recommends, get off the main highway to see another wonder, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Whether heading east on Interstate 515 or 215 as you head out-of-town, get off on Lake Mead Parkway (Nevada State Route 147) in Henderson. It will soon turn into Lakeshore Road as you come up to the park entrance.
Note: You will have to pay a fee of $10 to enter if you don’t have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
Upon entering you will have 10+ miles out on the Nevada open road amongst the desert basin. Lakeshore Road runs through the southern end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the first such place to get the national recreation area distinction back in 1964.
Every mile or so will present a scenic overlook opportunity. Each will showcase panoramic views and the colors of the desert from various bluffs, overlooks and plateaus. Lots of rugged mountains off in the distance will be serving as a backdrop. The 33 Hole Scenic Overlook is a favorite.
You will find walking paths, bathrooms, picnic tables and grilling options at each stop. Grilling restrictions will be in place most likely in the summer months due to the over one-hundred degree temperatures.
As you are plotting along Las Vegas Bay, the Colorado River and Lake Mead will start to come into view. Looking out towards the water and beyond will present views from the state of Arizona. The approximate one-and-a-half-million acres of the park sits amongst the two states.
I’ll let the pictures that my wife and I took tell some of the story. 🙂
Right before exiting the park, make sure to stop at the Alan Bible Visitor Center, maybe to get some tips for the drive back. Lakeshore Road and the park exit will put you on U.S. Route 93 just a few miles from Hoover Dam.
Heading east of Las Vegas, visiting the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is worth the Nevada road trip all by itself. If you are ever planning to visit Hoover Dam whether from Las Vegas or not, take this short side trip to get a taste of what this park has to offer.
Besides views the park offers beach and water fun, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping opportunities. For more information checkout the parks section on the National Park Service website.
What National Recreation Area(s) in the United States have you visited that you would recommend?