10 Things to Do And See in The Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert might not always seem like the most welcoming place in the world. Known for its extreme temperature changes from noon to night and seemingly stripped of much texture, it might even seem like a barren wasteland at first glance. But the reality is that the Mojave is 47,877 square miles, meaning there’s a lot to be found in the desert.
Skies streaked with intense purples, reflected sunrises, colorful flowers, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting, it’s worth exploring all there is to see and do in the Mojave. Plus, there are a number of real-life oases just waiting for you. Here are 10 ideas and tips that are sure to fill your trip with all the details that will make it a time you’ll never forget.
1. Callville Bay
The shore of Callville Bay is hundreds of miles long and includes the red rock cliffs. Just an hour away from Vegas, this is a great spot to rent watercraft at the full-service marina. Spend a few nights in a houseboat and get fully acquainted with the bay or just go for a spin or two on water skis before you head back to your hotel. There’s also a lounge where everyone can escape from the heat, have a few drinks, and play a round of pool.
2. Willow Beach Harbor
Willow Beach Marina is in the Black Canyon Region, also known as the location of the Hoover Dam. It’s a great place to see wildlife while enjoying the shore and waters. Like Callville, the marina is equipped with a number of vessels, including powerboats and canoes. It’s a good place to bring the kids out for tubing or just enjoy a few drinks while looking out at a pristine view. Stock up on snacks at the Lakeside Convenience Store or grab dinner at the harbor’s restaurant. You can also tour the dam, learn more about its stunning construction, and enjoy enough dam jokes to last a lifetime.
3. Lake Mead
Probably the most famous in the Vegas area, Lake Mead puts you in a central location to enjoy town and country alike. The Lake Mead RV Village is a particularly popular hub for campers to explore an area so rich in both diversity and history. Boulder City is a great place to learn more about the region and all the events that led to its modern-day version. The city is also home to some amazing cafes and boutique shopping for those who would prefer to skip the history lessons. The sunsets here are truly spectacular and a great way to take your mind off a few losses at the casinos.
4. Cottonwood Cove
Located on the Colorado River, Cottonwood Cove includes a number of attractions for visitors. Camping facilities, boat rentals, an RV park, and a full-service resort all await you and your family, making it a dynamic spot for some serious action. It doesn’t take more than a few rides out on a jet ski to remember just how much fun the water can be. Plus, this spot is close to Laughlin, NV, so you’re just a short drive from live music, thrilling casinos, and live performances from local talents.
5. Black Canyon
Black Canyon is a legend in the Mojave Desert. If you really want to learn its secrets, organized raft tours give you the chance to learn some fun facts while relaxing in a natural haven. You can find excursions departing from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area that include a stop for lunch and more than a glimpse of Willow Beach.
6. Historic Railroad
The Historic Railroad is where you’ll find part of the historic Hoover Dam Railroad system. Most of the railway has either been ruined or sunk underwater, but a few tunnels still remain. Maybe rent The Gauntlet before you visit and watch as Clint Eastwood flee an assassin in a helicopter. He uses these very tunnels to maneuver his motorcycle away from the deadly force. Less a hike and more a leisurely stroll, this spot is dog-friendly and full of epic scenery at every turn.
7. Temple Bar
Man-made reservoirs are more than just practical necessities for those in the desert. At the Temple Bar Marina, witness the largest man-made reservoir in the USA. Visitors have access to lake-view lodging, RV parking, and hundreds of coves and beaches here. It’s a great place to hook-up for a night or two if you have an RV or visit the nearby bar and restaurant for a full-scale service.
8. Echo Bay
Echo Bay welcomes the fishermen of the world and all those who enjoy the outdoors. Near Fire State Park, Echo Bay gives you the chance to see the historic ruins of St. Thomas, a famous ghost town that was abandoned in the 1930s. Put yourself in the shoes of a young treasure hunter just waiting for their chance to strike it rich. Hiking, sight-seeing, and RV sites all await at Echo Bay, plus an on-site launch ramp.
9. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
The recreation area is more than just the famous water. The cooling surface of the lake might initially be the reason most visitors flock to Mead, but it’s not necessarily why they come back again and again. The mountains, canyons, and backcountry make for some of the best views of the desert and an often surprising look at the geology of deserts. From the many animals who make their home here to the odd and beautiful plants that speckle the desert, truly enjoying this spot means more than just water skiing.
10. Soak It All In
No matter what you choose to see and do when you travel to the Mojave Desert, you’ll have a better experience when you take time to soak everything in. Make sure you’re looking up when you’re on a morning hike so you don’t miss the sunrise, but remember to dip your head at least a few times so you don’t accidentally run into a rattlesnake crossing the path.
Whether it’s above or below, you’ll appreciate the Mojave Desert more when you visit its many hidden delights. At Lake Mead Mohave Adventures, we recommend trying your favorite activities, but keeping your mind (and schedule) open to take an impromptu rafting expedition or hike along the way. It just takes one detour to turn your trip into something you’ll talk about for the rest of your life.