Riding to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam

We share some tips on traveling to Lake Mead Recreation Area and Hoover Dam on a motorcycle

“The desert tells a different story every time one venture on it.” – Robert Edison Fulton Jr., an American inventor and adventurer who is known for having traveled around the world on a motorcycle in 1932-3.  

And certainly, there’s much to discover on a ride along the shores of Lake Mead to the famous Hoover Dam, one of the most-visited dams in the world. No trip to Vegas is complete without exploring this area.

Away from the glitz and glam of Las Vegas, there’s a wondrous world of wide-open, diverse countryside. Sandy desert, flowing rivers, narrow valleys and epic rock formations – it seems worlds apart, but is only an hour from the city. A ride to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam makes for a memorable motorized respite from the neon bustle.

Breathtaking scenery

Monica H, a local from Las Vegas, says, “I only live about 30 minutes away from the lake, and I visited this national beauty that people travel from all over the world to see for the first time recently. “Why haven’t we done this sooner?” I asked myself, as we turned the first corner into the park. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Every step you take gives you a different view, colors, and shades. It’s just a magical place that has so much to offer.

“However, there are now low water levels, which makes me sad to see. Hopefully, water levels will rise again. However, if Lake Mead is on your bucket list. This is definitely the time to come and see the lake before your opportunity to see it dries up.”

Getting there

When traveling to Lake Mead, leave Las Vegas via I-515 South, which leads to Nevada’s State Highway 93, and head onto Boulder City. Once you get to Boulder City, take a left at Lakeshore Road (SR 166) which connects to SR 167 (also called Northshore Road). This road runs almost entirely along the western side of Lake Mead and through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Riding through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area allows motorcyclists to take in the natural beauty of the area, as the warm, gentle breeze touches the skin. The roads around the Lake Mead National Recreation Area are well-paved, and it provides a nice, occasionally twisty ride with some sharp curves. In fact, the road is a local favorite with motorcyclists.

Lake Mead Recreation Area

In total, the Lake Mead Recreation Area spans 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and two vast lakes. The area offers a range of activities – park up your bike and go kayaking, hiking or even camping. Or simply find solitude in the wilderness.  

Lake Mead

However, when you ride around Lake Mead, be conscious of your speed. Acting Superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area Mike Gauthier, says, “At Lake Mead, we like to say ‘Drive like a tortoise.’ Keeping your speed down allows everyone to see road hazards, help protect wildlife, and get to their destination safely.”

Before you begin riding along the lake, you could take an approximately 5-mile detour on Highway 93 to visit Hoover Dam, one of the engineering marvels of the world. Constructed in 1936, the Hoover Dam played a crucial role in the development of the Southwest United States, controlling the seasonal flooding of the Colorado River. It fueled the development of Las Vegas, as well as the major cities of Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Hoover Dam, are located just a short drive from Las Vegas, making it a convenient destination for motorcyclists. Cruising down the highway in the Nevada sunshine on a powerful Harley-Davidson is a feeling like no other. And the road along Lake Mead and Hoover Dam lets you soak in the sights as you arrive at your destination.