This year, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday, and it’s inviting people to “Find Your Park” to discover or rediscover the special places that belong to all Americans.
One of those special places lies right here in Boulder City. After the construction of the Hoover Dam, the waters of Lake Mead filled and created a recreational oasis in the Southwest. Locals and tourists immediately flocked to America’s largest reservoir for unsurpassed recreational opportunities.
By 1946, the area welcomed more than one million visitors, and when the park was officially established as the National Park Service’s first national recreation area in 1964, nearly 3.5 million people came out to visit Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
Today, the park welcomes more than seven million visitors each year, including around three million every summer.
“Lake Mead is America’s largest and most diverse national recreation area, where people can boat, hike, cycle, camp and fish,” said Lizette Richardson, Park Superintendent, “with striking landscapes and brilliant blue waters, this year-round playground spreads across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and two vast lakes.”
The Black Canyon National Water Trail, which starts at the base of the Hoover Dam, offers a quiet and scenic day on the water, especially on Sunday and Monday when no motorized vessels are allowed. If sitting back is more your style, you can take a comfortable raft tour that launches from Hoover Dam and floats down to Willow Beach. Experienced guides share their knowledge of the geology, rich history and wildlife of the area.
You can also explore the lakes from down under to see what the area looked like before the dam was built. Lake Mead and Lake Mohave are some of the top freshwater scuba diving lakes in the world. The lakes offer a range of depths and submerged sites for both novice and technical divers.
In addition to the park’s popular lakes, the recreation area is home to nine wilderness areas. You can rent a houseboat on Lake Mead or Lake Mohave to cruise across the lakes, admiring the wilderness scenery, then pull into a secluded cove and enjoy the beach for the evening.
“No matter how you decide to enjoy Lake Mead National Recreation Area, we want you to stay safe and have fun,” said Richardson. “If you’re swimming in one of our beautiful lakes, please wear a proper-fitting life jacket. All of our marinas provide life jackets with their boat rentals, and we have free life jacket loaner stations at some beach areas.”
Before launching your boat, give it a quick inspection to make sure it's ready for the water. If you have questions, rangers or partners at the marinas, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Great Basin Institute, Arizona Game & Fish Department and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary are there to help.
New this summer, the National Park Service and National Weather Service have installed land and water weather stations. These stations provide real-time data, such as wind speeds, wave heights and temperatures and will be used by the National Weather Service to establish recreation and marine forecasting services.
The stations, which were funded through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, provide accurate weather information and forecasts, so you can make informed decisions when planning your visit. You can view the live weather conditions at www.weather.gov/vef/rec.
With so much to see and do, rangers recommend starting your visit at the Lake Mead Visitor Center located near Boulder City off of U.S. Highway 93. It’s open seven days a week. Rangers and volunteers will be happy to help you plan your adventure.
Information is also available on the park website at www.nps.gov/lake or by calling
During your visit, the National Park Service is asking visitors to share their photos and experiences on social media using #FindYourPark. Select photos will be shared nationally as part of the centennial celebration.
“We hope that you create lasting memories during your visit. Have fun at America's most diverse national recreation area,” said Richardson.