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Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Las Vegas, NV

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Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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PARK SNAPSHOT: Lake Mead Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area features a startling contrast of desert and water, mountains and canyons, primitive backcountry and busy marinas. Lake Mead and Lake Mohave were created by dams that back up the Colorado River, as it flows through one of the hottest, driest regions on earth. . This recreation area provides scenic vistas of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave with more than 700 miles of shoreline and a beautiful reservoir for boaters, swimmers, and anglers to explore. The surrounding desert features nine wilderness areas and isolated backcountry with a fantastic diversity of desert plants and animals and dramatic desert scenery.

Attracted at first by the cool, refreshing water, visitors find other unexpected rewards. The quiet, stark beauty of the Mojave Desert, with its dramatically exposed geology and the surprising abundance of specially adapted plant and animals, offers a variety of experiences for everyone. Established as America's first national recreation area, it is a destination for millions of visitors who flock to the desert for boating, fishing, swimming, and water-skiing.

Lake Mead Wildlife

Lake Mead National Recreation Area supports an amazingly diverse selection of animals. Under cover of evening's darkness, and in the shady places of canyons and brush, are thriving animal communities. Animals living here have evolved traits that help them cope with the extreme environment. Most adaptations center around avoiding heat, conserving water, and surviving on a meager food supply. Desert bighorn sheep are some of the most intriguing mammals of Lake Mead NRA. They are wary of human contact, and blend so well into the terrain they inhabit, that sightings are a special event. Once feared of becoming extinct, the desert bighorn sheep are making a tentative comeback in the southwest due to a comprehensive reintroduction effort by the National Park Service. Lake Mead is also home to North America's largest member of the cat family, the mountain lion. The Gila Monster finds its home in Lake Mead NRA too. The Gila Monster is the only venomous lizard in the area and is one of only two known venomous lizard species in the world.

Park History & Culture

Based on archaeological evidence in the area encompassing the one and a half million acres of the Lake Mead National Recreation, several Native American cultures have been identified as having existed in the area 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. 

For centuries, the early native inhabitants living along the Colorado River found innovative ways to irrigate small agricultural plots. The region became more and more populated by white settlers with the advent of rail transportation and the discovery of gold and silver in the mountains of southern Nevada. Visionaries desiring continued westward expansion sought to discover ways to harness the power of the river to allow for large-scale irrigation and other industries. Thus, the concept of building a dam was born.

The Reclamation Act of 1902 instituted the construction of Boulder Dam, later to be named Hoover Dam which began in1931. The reservoir created by the damming of the Colorado River became Lake Mead, named after Elwood Mead, the Bureau of Reclamation commissioner at the time.

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Energizing Adventure with the National Parks Conservation Association

NPCA is the independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect America’s favorite places. With the help of millions of members and supporters, the NPCA works tirelessly to defend the nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. 

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See America Artwork

Check out great artwork of Lake Mead National Recreation Area and many more parks at SeeAmericaProject.com.

*Terms & Conditions

The Plan Ahead & Save up to 15% off your stay and Get Wyndham Rewards Bonus Points offer (“Offer”) is available to Wyndham Rewards Members at participating Baymont Inn & Suites®, Days Inn®, Dolce Hotels and Resorts®, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham®, Howard Johnson®, Knights Inn®, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham®, Ramada®, Super 8®, Travelodge®, TRYP by Wyndham®, Wingate by Wyndham®. Reservation must be booked 7 to 21 days in advance of arrival date, depending on brand. New bookings only; not applicable to group bookings. Reservation must be pre-paid with a valid credit card and is non-cancellable and non-refundable. In the event of cancellation or modification, guest will forfeit total room charge plus taxes for the entire reservation. Savings are discounted from property’s Best Available Rate excluding taxes, resort/service fees, incidentals, gratuities, or additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed. “Best Available Rate” is defined as the best, non-qualified, unrestricted, publicly available rate on the brand sites for the hotel, date and accommodations requested. Rooms at the discount are limited and subject to availability. Blackout dates, room type exclusions, and other restrictions may apply and vary by individual hotel. Please inquire at time of reservation.

To receive bonus points, you must be a Wyndham Rewards Member. U.S. residents who are not yet Wyndham Rewards Members will be automatically enrolled in the Wyndham Rewards Program upon completion of reservation; to void enrollment and award of bonus points, call Wyndham Rewards member services at 1-866-996-7937. Non-U.S. residents who are not yet Wyndham Rewards Members will be provided an option to enroll in the Wyndham Rewards Program at time of reservation to receive bonus points. Members should allow six to eight weeks after completion of the stay for points to be credited to their account. One stay includes all consecutive nights at the same hotel regardless of check-ins or check-outs. Wyndham Rewards Members who have elected to earn airline miles or rail points rather than Wyndham Rewards points will receive their base earning in airline miles or rail points and will receive the 100 bonus points in Wyndham Rewards points.

The Rate and its terms and conditions are subject to cancellation or change at any time. Room discount cannot be combined with any other special rates, discounts, coupons, sales promotion, or other offers. Visit www.wyndhamrewards.com for details on Wyndham Rewards Program.