Best Lake Mead Hikes for More Experienced Trekkers
Lake Mead provides recreational services to millions of tourists every year. It is a choice destination for families or partners seeking a fun adventure or simply enjoying nature and its beautiful scenery.
Established as America’s first national recreation area, Lake Mead is blessed with outstanding landscapes and is home to diverse wildlife species. The area has coves with rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. With a shoreline of over 750 miles, you can enjoy a day at the beach, or spend hours on the water boating, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing and so much more.
Hiking in Lake Mead
When you hear of Lake Mead, you may imagine a pleasant time in the radiant blue waters, swimming or boating — and you would be right. But Lake Mead offers more than just its water resource. Water makes up only 13% of Lake Mead’s Recreational area; the rest is desert!
This desert features a pleasant view of towering stark mountains, plateaus, basins of cacti and creosote bush and vertical-walled canyons. Desert hikes lead you to discover places you will never see from a boat or vehicle.
Perhaps the best way to explore this unique landscape is on foot, traveling across open expanses of rock formations and volcanic soils. Here, canyons and washes that make the terrain offer a challenge to even the most experienced hiker. Are you an experienced hiker looking to explore new landscapes? Here are the most fascinating Lake Mead hikes you should try.
Historic Railroad Trail
This is a maintained trail with impressive terrain. The Historic Railroad Trail provides panoramic views of Lake Mead and the Boulder Basin area. The Historic Railroad Trail is a flat gravel trail that consists of five tunnels that lead to Hoover Dam.
You can find the trailhead on Lakeshore Road, east of the Lake Mead Visitors Center. There is also a secondary trailhead at the east parking lot of the Hoover Dam Lodge. Increase your enjoyment of your getaway when you stay at the stunning Lake Mead RV Village nearby. Hiking in this unique landscape can take you on a journey of history into the standard-gauge, 90-pound rail construction that was used for the dam project.
The distance round trip is 7.5 miles / 12.1 km, and the ground elevation change is 11 ft / 3.4 m.
Owl Canyon Trail
The Lake Mead water level has continued to drop over the years. As the water level drops, dramatic winding canyons below the Lake Mead initial high-water line have been revealed. Owls can be heard roosting in the slot canyon, hence its name. The Owl Canyon presents a beautiful geographic landscape that is often described as a subtle mixture of daunting and awesome by hikers.
You can find this trailhead at the first parking lot on the left of 33 Hole Overlook off Lakeshore Road and offers a 2.2 miles / 3.5 km round trip and 300 ft / 91 m elevation change.
This trail is located along the bluffs with breathtaking views overlooking the Las Vegas Wash. Excellent wildlife viewing is a major attraction for hikers on this trail. Be sure to come with your binoculars and camera! The Bluffs trailhead starts next to site #72 in the Las Vegas Bay Campground and offers a round trip of 3.9 miles / 6.2 km and 145 ft / 44 m elevation change.
River Mountains Loop
The River Mountains Loop is a 12-foot-wide path that surrounds the River Mountains. It connects the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Henderson, the Hoover Dam, Boulder City and the rest of the Las Vegas Valley. You can access the hike from two main trailheads.
The Historic Railroad trailhead is located east of the Lake Mead Visitors Center, while the other main trailhead is located off Lake Mead Parkway, west of the entrance station. River Mountains Loop is 16.2 miles / 26.1 km within Lake Mead (34 miles in total) and with a 750 ft / 229 m elevation change. Want to pack in a little extra adventure? Check out the Hoover Dam rafting tours available in the area.
The Wetlands trail follows a dry wash down to the banks of the Las Vegas Wash. The hike winds down the hill to reach a dry wash that leads to the banks of a flowing creek. Be sure to bring both your camera and binoculars, because this area is ideal for bird watching. The Wetlands trailhead is located on the east of Northshore Road.
The round trip is 1.5 miles / 2.4 km, and the elevation change is 110 ft / 34 m.
This hike gives a spectacular view but not after an adventurous climb. To the south of the Callville summit are Fortification Hill, Boulder Basin, Hemenway Valley, Boulder City and the River Mountains. And towards the east, you can see the Callville Bay developed area, Callville Mesa and the Black Mountains.
The Trailhead is just next to the Callville dump station. Callville Summit trail offers 2.7 miles / 4.3 km round trip and 150 ft / 46 m elevation change.
Hiking to the top of the Northshore summit requires some rock scrambling. From the summit, you will get a graceful view of the Muddy Mountains, the Overton Arm, the Bitter Springs Valley and the red rocks of the Bowl of Fire. The trailhead is located on Northshore Road, northeast past mile marker 20. The round trip is 1.0 miles / 1.6 km, and the elevation change is 200 ft / 61 m.
Do you want to walk among the foundations of a historic town that was once submerged by the waters of Lake Mead? The St. Thomas settlement is one of the landscapes that have appeared due to Lake Mead’s reduced water levels.
The trail starts with an 85-foot descent to a flat loop that follows the old roads of the original settlements. The trailhead is located on Northshore Road just past milepost 46. The round trip is 2.5 mi / 4 km, and the elevation change is 85 ft / 26 m.
Are You Ready for an Awesome Adventure?
Desert hiking can be a great experience. However, remember to carry plenty of water, some electrolytes and snacks. At Lake Mead Mohave adventures, we recommend that you hike in the mornings or right before dusk when the weather is cooler.
Keep in mind that during the summer, between 10 am and 5 pm, temperatures can reach 120° F in the shade. If these trails seem a bit too adventurous, you could always start with a more moderate hike on our gorgeous Redstone Trail which is only half a mile long.
Are you ready for an exciting adventure? Are you ready to hike on our trails? We at Lake Mead Mohave Adventures are ready if you are! To book a room, rent a houseboat, or learn about our campsites, view our different locations online.