Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boulder Beach Campground, Lake Mead, Las Vegas, Nevada

Backroads Destination--Boulder Beach Campground,  Lake Mead, Las Vegas, Nevada

This campground has been on my list to visit for almost 30 years.  When I was working at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in the 1970's the Landscape Architect invited me to attend a  meeting with the campground designer from the Denver Service Center.  The Landscape Architect wanted longer spurs with pull-throughs in most of the campground.  The campground designer favored a "more traditional" Park Service approach that is short spurs for tenting.

It appears that the outcome was a draw.  There are a few pull-throughs at one edge of the campground, but the spurs are much longer than those typically found at National Park Service campgrounds.  So this is one of the few Park Service campgrounds that a longer RV can actually get into a spur!!

I am not sure how those trees got that tall.  It seems that meeting was just yesterday.

Boulder Beach Campground is just outside Boulder City and a short drive to Las Vegas.  For $10 a night and only $5 with a pass it is a deal.  The Park Service was hoping that by constructing the campground they could displace the rowdy folks using Boulder Beach and get a "more" mannered crowd.  So help them out by staying at the campground and being on your best behavior.

The campground is starting to fill up with spring weather, but we were able to find a spur to fit all 47 feet of us thanks to the campground host.  We were even able to remain connected for a quick getaway the next morning.

The town of Las Vegas is now a big city and it has moved all the way to the boundaries of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  In another 30 years will the public lands be the only natural landscapes left in the west??

In the southwest, there is the problem of water.  When Boulder Beach Campground was designed it was to be a BEACH campground.  The water was just below the campground.  Well, check out this picture from 2011.

It is a long walk down to the beach.  If that lake level keeps dropping the lights might start going out not only in Las Vegas, but Los Angeles and other places as well.  Nature has it own plans all we can do is react to them.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is 1,495,665 acres in size.  There are plenty of places to explore.  Boulder Beach is one of the more "urban" areas in the National Recreation Area.  The Lake Mead National Recreation Area website  has more information on the other areas of the NRA.  If you are looking for a more backroads experience there are plenty of areas that will meet your needs.

It appears that the Park Service has removed all information on boondocking or dispersed camping at Lake Mead National Recreation Area so you will have to contact them and talk to them in person or on the phone.  Remember ask "Where can I disperse camp?".  The Park Service does not know the term boondocking.


Jim and Sandie said...

I think we'll drive out there today and check out this campground. Thanks for the info. Have you camped at the Valley of Fire campground?

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

I haven't commented, up until now, but have been reading your blog for awhile.

Mostly, i want to say thanks for all hte great information you share.

I lived in henderson in the 80's and spent just about every weekend at the lake. My! how it's changed!

Happy Trails, forever!
Cyndi and Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

Vladimir Steblina said...

I have not stayed at the Valley of Fire, but did go out there while I was working at Lake Mead. It is an interesting area.

I have stayed at Katherine's Landing. It is the same great deal as Boulder and within minutes of Bullhead City. E-mail me if you decide to go there.

For Cyndi, were you part of that party crowd at Lake Mead?? That was the best job I ever had. I had a boat and got to talk to the public all day. The hard part was writing the "government report" at the end.

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Will you be mad if I say I partied? I was actually, one of the sane ones and a designated (boat) driver, but I wouldn't have called any of the people I was with sane. We always had waaaaaaaay too much fun, but lived to tell about it.Perhaps you were one of the rangers that used to pull our old deep hulled boat in every weekend after it broke down. We loved you guys!

As a retired federal employee (USPS), I am also too familiar with the paperwork.

Vladimir Steblina said...

No, I was not in uniform. I was doing a carrying capacity study to see how many houseboats, water skiers, and fisherman the lake could handle.

So I was running around the lake with a boat, clipboard, and talking to everyone I could find.

Then I wrote a nice, long report for the Park Service. Than I rewrote the nice long report as a nice, long Park Service document that came to a different conclusion.

I really enjoyed the study. The issue turned out to be between the houseboaters and water skiers.

I also learned that the users do care and have some great ideas about how to manage THEIR public lands. The idea to restrict houseboats to north of the powerline from Kathrines Landing came from a drunk, water skier!! The Park Service then went ahead and wrote it into their regulations. There were several other ideas that also became "official" than came from party animals.

Anyway, after that experience I ALWAYS talked to people while I was working. Lots of great ideas out there.

I tried to get the Park Superintendent and others throughout my career to get out and talk to people out in the public lands. They, unfortunately, always preferred formal public meetings.

It was fun. Best job I ever had.

Anonymous said...

Great write up!

We want to spend a night at Boulder Beach Campground on our way to Sequoia Nat'l Park. We'll be in our 10' Coleman pop-up and plan to arrive the evening of Saturday, June 4.

My biggest concern is will sites be available around 8p - 9p when we arrive?

Thanks for the help!

erin said...

Is there anything you can say about tent camping here? We are interested in going to Mead in September and want to camp in our tent. Anywhere you can suggest? Thank you!

Vladimir Steblina said...

There are plenty of places to tent camp at Lake Mead NRA.

Boulder Beach campground has some nice tent sites.

I would contact the Lake Mead office and get a complete list. But if you want to stay near Las Vegas and Boulder City Boulder Beach is your best bet.