The Lake Mead Visitors Center and the Hoover Dam are located in Boulder City, NV. Boulder City is a nice small town, you can check out little shops, restaurants, and places to stay overnight in the historic section located on Nevada Way, just off I-93. There’s even a little museum right in town, and places to stop and see the view of Lake Mead.
If you stop at one of the parks, Hemenway or Bighorn park in particular, you may have a chance to spot one of these guys! The Big Horn Sheep come down from the mountains to graze and aren’t really afraid of people. We were lucky and got to see one of them at least!
From the park it’s just a short drive to the Alan Bible/Lake Mead Visitor Center. It’ll come up on your left, and if you’re like us and missed the entrance because the roads in Nevada are a bit different that what you’re used to, you can just turn around at the Hoover Dam Lodge, it’s only a little ways up the road.
So the visitor's center is a tan, uninteresting looking building from the outside, kinda blends in with the landscape really. But there are these really tall palm trees outside! And if you’re from anywhere like where I’m from…well you only see palm trees on vacation, so they’re pretty cool, and…tall :0
This neat looking Cactus Wren was also hanging out near the visitor’s center, we got a couple good shots of him and were able to identify it.
Inside the visitor’s center, which is free to get into by the way*, there are some nice displays and the standard National Park gift shop, helpful rangers to talk to, maps you can pick up, and other information.
*Lake Mead does have a fee if you want to go further on down the road near the lake, just like mostly all most national parks, even though it’s classified as a National Recreation Area, and not specifically a “National Park”.
We did briefly go down one of the roads near the lake, but we kinda took the wrong one and ended up in the Marina where there were just mostly trucks parked with their boats. It was really hot out that day, and, as you can see not a whole lot to see scenery wise. There’s a lot of sand/dirt everywhere, hardly any vegetation. Yet it was interesting to see a lake with no vegetation around it…of course it was man made, and in the desert....
So we drove on towards the Hoover Dam, and came up to this scenic overlook:
There are actually hiking trails around Lake Mead. One of them is called the Historic Railroad Trail, which the tunnel, you can see in the upper left hand of the picture above (there are 5 total), is a part of and leads from the visitor’s center to the Hoover Dam. If it wasn’t in the baking hot sun near midday and we had more time it would probably be a nice walk to do. But yeah…it was hot, even being October, so we skipped doing any walking around and instead opted for AC in the car ;p
So that was really all of our quick stop at Lake Mead. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to do unless you’re into boating or maybe want to go to the beach there. It’s very hot in the summer months and even spring and fall, so your best bet is the winter for cooler temps. I think it was neat to see such a different landscape and of course if you’re on your way to the Hoover Dam-why not also stop by the Lake?