Grand Canyon Road Trip from Lake Mead

Lake Mead to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located along the border of Southern Nevada and Western Arizona a few hours drive from Grand Canyon National Park making it a great one day or overnight road trip. Lake Meads eastern borders meet up with Grand Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. The lake was formed during the creation of the Hoover Dam, but was not officially named Lake Mead NRA until 1964. The National Recreation Area is managed by the National Park Service for both recreation and to protect its cultural and natural resources. Lake Mead is a desert environment with little rainfall and summer temperatures reaching 110 degrees.  Winter is pleasant with highs in the 50’s and 60’s, while the spring and fall seasons have the best weather for hikers, bikers and campers. If you're traveling to the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Lake Mead is a great addition to your trip. Read the guide below to learn more about travel from Lake Mead to the Grand Canyon, or check out our Lake Mead National Recreation Area map to see all the nearby destinations and attractions.

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Travel Information, Tours and Lodging

Driving Distance from Lake Mead, AZ to Grand Canyon

  • Lake Mead to Grand Canyon North Rim is 247 miles, a 4 hour 15-minute drive.
  • Lake Mead to Grand Canyon East Rim is 245 miles, a 4 hour 10-minute drive.
  • Lake Mead to Grand Canyon South Rim is 251 miles, a 3 hour 55-minute drive.
  • Lake Mead to Grand Canyon West Rim is 101 miles, a 1-hour 55-minute drive.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Tours

The focus of Lake Mead is certainly boating.  House boats, jet skis, waterskiing/wakeboarding, fishing and kayaking are just a few options for Lake Mead enthusiast.  Some other options are biking, hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving, hunting and scenic drives. You can see  you can see some tours that we recommend below, or learn about all the different Grand Canyon Tours you can experience on your vacation. 

Lake Mead Hotels and Lodging

Lake Mead NRA has several hotels, house boating and RV options including; Cottonwood Cove Resort, Callville Bay Resort, Lake Mohave Resort, Temple Bar Marina, Echo Bay Marina and Lake Mead RV Village.  Check out some popular hotels below if you want to make a reservation or check rates. There are also many developed and primitive campgrounds at Lake Mead and the surrounding areas.  Meadview, a small town within the NRA that has several small hotels, and Boulder City, only a few minutes from Hoover Dam offer many lodging options for visitors to stay at before heading to their lodging at the Grand Canyon.

Area Car Rental Options

Lake Mead Car Rentals: No car rental agencies are available in Lake Mead NRA, but Boulder City Nevada has several rental agencies, as does nearby Las Vegas. Visitors can also rent a car before their trip and pick it when they fly into a local airport.

Lake Mead Shuttles: There are several private shuttles and tours that go to the Lake Mead area, but if you really want to explore the area your best bet is renting a car.

Closest Airports to Lake Mead

The closest airport to Lake Mead is in Boulder City Nevada, which has daily flights from Las Vegas.  Las Vegas is the closest international airport, while Pearce Ferry and Temple Bar has public landing strips for people with their own planes

Best Restaurants and Dining Options

Except for the town of Meadview and nearby Boulder City, food and drink within the NRA is pretty much limited to the hotels and marinas where you can find most of the necessities as well as several restaurants.

Weather and Climate

Lake Mead has a dry desert climate. The summer season has the hottest temperatures (well over 100 degrees) and therefore the warmest water making it the best time for boaters, water skiers and families going for a swim.  If you’re into hiking or exploring the backcountry spring and fall offer the best climate.  For those of you looking to get away from a snowy winter, Lake Mead still has warm sunny days to enjoy.

Grand Canyon Rafting

Top Rated Adventure

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Recommended Lake Mead Tours and Activities

Emerald Cave Kayak Tour from Las Vegas

Emerald Cave Kayak Tour from Las Vegas

Duration: 4-5 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $129 on Viator

Book Now

One-Day Whitewater Rafting Self-Drive

One-Day Whitewater Rafting (Self-Drive)

Duration: 10-12 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $399 on G.C. West

Book Now

Lake Mead ATV Tour to the Colorado River

Lake Mead ATV Tour to the Colorado River

Duration: 6 hours
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
from $299 on Get your guide

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Private Tour of Grand Canyon West

Private Tour of Grand Canyon West

Duration: 6-7 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $189 on Viator

Book Now

Popular hotels near Lake Mead

Learn More About Lake Mead

Lake Mead National Recreation Area has around 8 million visitors a year making it one of the busiest units the National Park Service Manages.  Similar to the Grand Canyon and its tourist attractions, Lake Mead has great recreational opportunities year-round, so the best time to visit depends on what activities you want to do. Entrance Fees for Lake Mead National Recreation Area are $5 per vehicle.  Lake use fees for motorized vessels are $10 per vessel.  Camping in developed campgrounds is $10 per site, per night.  Primitive camping is free.

Environment of Lake Mead: Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States at 110 miles long and a water volume of 28,500,00 acre-feet when it is full.  Lake Mead NRA sits where the eastern Mojave Desert meets the Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts.  Flat desert landscapes, canyons and mountains make up the NRA’s diverse landscape.  Geologic history in Lake Mead NRA dates back 1.8 billion years in Black Canyon, while more recent activity can be seen from lava flows that occurred during the last ice age about 6 million years ago. The biggest safety hazard at Lake Mead is other boaters.  Being a safe boater and following NRA regulations help ensure a safe trip.  During the summer season heat can be a real danger at Lake Mead.  It is important to stay hydrated and wear sun block in a hot desert environment.  Although you probably won’t see any there are some resident rattlesnakes and Gila Monsters.

Lake Mead Plants and Animals: Due to the convergence of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts with the Great Basin this bleak landscape actually holds quite a bit of diversity.  Reptiles are abundant, and one can see many species of snakes and lizards; including the Gila Monster.  Several species of stocked fish live in Lake Mead as well as native and endangered fish like the Razorback Sucker.  The lake not only brought new species of fish, but also new species of birds who stop here on their migration routes.  Hearty mammals like the Desert Bighorn Sheep also call the NRA their home.  Although most of the year visitors will only see hearty plant like blackbrush, spring and monsoon rains allow wildflowers to explode with color in Lake Mead NRA.

Lake Mead Culture and History: Human history dates back 10,000 years at Lake Mead NRA where people hunted, gathered and practiced farming.  Modern day explorers and adventures followed seeking freedom and riches.  People like Jedediah Smith and John Wesley Powell used the Colorado River to explore this desert land and made their way through what is now Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

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