Much of the American southwest would be uninhabitable if it weren’t for Lake Mead. The giant reservoir is not only a critical water source, but water from the lake is used to generate clean, hydroelectricity for hundreds of communities in Arizona, Nevada and California. Today, visitors to the area can tour Hoover Dam, considered both an architectural and engineering feat. From the top of the dam you can look out over Lake Mead, created by the dam blocking the Colorado River. Lake Mead is vast – stretching more than 100 miles. It is also a huge recreational oasis. If your bucket list includes taking in dramatic desert scenery and playing in one of the largest reservoirs in the west, this Road Adventure is for you.
Constructed between 1931 and 1936, Hoover Dam is considered an engineering and architectural marvel. The dam is massive, stretching down 726 feet to bedrock – nearly 60 stories! The unique curvature of the structure and art deco design elements are distinctive characteristics. A concrete fortress, Hoover Dam holds back trillions of gallons of water from the Colorado River. Deep inside the structure, water enters from the lake propelling giant turbines that create hydroelectric power before spilling back out into the river on the opposite side. Visitors are invited to walk across the dam and take a tour inside. There are two tour options. The Power Plant Tour is self-guided, with informational kiosks and docents. The Hoover Dam Tour is a guided tour that includes an elevator ride inside the dam where you can view the massive generators. When you stand on top of the dam, be sure to look over and watch as the water exits the power plant and spills back into the river – the powerful force of the water shooting out is astounding.
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Shimmering brightly against the parched desert, Lake Mead is mesmerizing. The landscape surrounding the water is incredibly diverse, ranging from stark mountains to towering canyon walls, cactus covered plateaus to desert basins. More than 100 miles long, Lake Mead is renowned for sport fishing. Trout, largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill flourish in these waters. Lake enthusiasts can have access to every kind of water sport, including boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, and tubing. Guided boat excursions are available, or visitors can rent a boat and other sporting goods. Be sure to view the sunset from the water. Dry, desert air creates a colorscape across the sky and lake that is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
RIDE BACK IN TIME
Boulder City started as a “company town” for the men who built Hoover Dam and their families. Today, Boulder City boasts a family-friendly vibe with small town charm. The only city in Nevada where gambling is illegal, there are still plenty of attractions and activities. Stroll through Boulder City’s historic downtown and poke through the antique stores and local boutiques. If you like authentic Mexican food, you’re in the right place. Several family-style Mexican restaurants dish up mouth watering, south-of-the-border specials. Locals are quick to recommend the tamales and chili verde.
For those who want to explore the desert, more than 40 miles of hiking and biking trails wind in and through the River Mountains and Lake Mead National Recreational Area. Thrill seekers can ride a zip line or take a helicopter tour of Lake Mead. After the sun sets, you’ll return to the Lake Mead RV Village at Boulder Beach – your home base for this Road Adventure. Here you can relax and roast marshmallows as you watch the stars above. Later, you’ll fall asleep to the hushed sound of the desert breeze, looking forward to the next day’s adventure.
Are you ready for an adventure?