Swimming, fishing, water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, and powerboating are the most popular activities in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. On Arizona shores, there are swimming beaches at Lake Mohave’s Katherine Landing (outside Bullhead City) and Lake Mead’s Temple Bar (north of Kingman off U.S. 93). Picnic areas can be found at these two areas, as well as at Willow Beach on Lake Mohave and at more than half a dozen spots on the Nevada side of Lake Mead.
In Arizona, marinas can be found at Katherine Landing on Lake Mohave (just outside Bullhead City), near the north end of Lake Mohave at Willow Beach (best access for trout angling), and at Temple Bar on Lake Mead. There’s also a boat ramp at South Cove, north of the community of Meadview at the east end of Lake Mead. This latter boat ramp is the closest to the Grand Canyon end of Lake Mead. On the Nevada side of Lake Mohave, there’s a marina at Cottonwood Cove, and on the Nevada side of Lake Mead, you’ll find marinas at Boulder Beach, Las Vegas Bay, Callville Bay, and Echo Bay. These marinas offer motels, restaurants, general stores, campgrounds, and boat rentals.
At Temple Bar Resort & Marina you can rent speedboats, fishing boats, and deck boats for $210 to $375 per day and a personal watercraft for $350 per day. At Lake Mohave Marina you can rent ski boats, fishing boats, and patio boats for between $120 and $585 per day and a personal watercraft for $360 per day.
Unlike these other two marinas, Willow Beach Marina, Willow Beach Rd. (tel. 480-336-8601), 14 miles south of Hoover Dam, is on a free-flowing stretch of the Colorado River downstream from Black Canyon. Bounded by rugged, rocky slopes and canyon walls, this is one of the prettiest stretches of the Colorado between Hoover Dam and Yuma. To explore this scenic stretch of river on your own, you can rent a canoe ($15 per hour), kayak ($10 to $20 per hour), or motorboat ($40 per hour) at the marina. Note: On Sundays and Mondays year-round, motorboats and personal watercraft are prohibited on this stretch of the river.
Despite the area’s decidedly watery orientation, there’s quite a bit of mountainous desert here, home to bighorn sheep, roadrunners, and other wildlife. You’ll also find petroglyphs scratched into rocks, relics of the people who lived here before European settlers arrived; the best place to see petroglyphs is Grapevine Canyon, due west of Laughlin, Nevada, in the southwest corner of the National Recreation Area. To reach Grapevine Canyon, take Nev. 163 west from Laughlin to milepost 13, turn right on the marked dirt road, and drive about 2 miles. From the trail head, it’s less than a quarter-mile to the petroglyph-covered jumble of rocks at the mouth of Grapevine Canyon. Covering the boulders are thousands of cryptic symbols, as well as ancient illustrations of bighorn sheep. To see them, you’ll have to do a lot of scrambling, so wear sturdy shoes (preferably hiking boots).
For information on other hikes, contact Lake Mead National Recreation Area (tel.702/293-8990).
Fishing for monster striped bass (up to 50 lb.) is one of the most popular activities on Lake Mead, and while Lake Mohave’s striped bass may not reach these awesome proportions, fish in the 25-pound range are not uncommon there. Largemouth bass, catfish, and even rainbow trout are plentiful in the national recreation area’s waters. Try for big rainbows in the cold waters that flow out from Hoover Dam through Black Canyon and into Lake Mohave. (Please note that a five-trout limit is in force.) To fish from shore, you’ll need a license from either Arizona or Nevada, depending on which shore you’re fishing from. To fish from a boat, you’ll need a license from one state and a special-use stamp from the other. Most Lake Mead marinas sell both licenses and stamps. You can also buy an Arizona fishing license online (https://license.azgfd.gov/home.xhtml).
If you don’t have your own boat, try fishing from the shore of Lake Mohave near Davis Dam, where the water is deep. Anchovies and bloodworms work well as bait, with shot on your line to get it down to the depths where the fish are feeding. You can get bait, tackle, and fishing tips at the Lake Mohave Marina, 2690 E. Katherine Spur Rd. (www.katherinelanding.com; tel. 928/754-3245), at Katherine Landing, near Bullhead City.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.