30 Lakes in 30 Days | Lake Mead | Nevada
When you think of Las Vegas, paddling probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, it may be the last. Short of sneaking some strokes in at the Bellagio fountain or soloing the pool at the Hard Rock (not an easy feat amid endless pool-party debauchery), standup paddling options are pretty much nil in the City of Lights.
But if you are headed to Sin City, and you do want to paddle while you’re there, you’re not entirely out of luck. Lake Mead rests just 24 miles from Vegas’ main drag on the Colorado River, and offers 247 square miles of freshwater paddling glory, sprawling from Nevada across the border into Arizona.
Lake Mead formed in 1936 upon the construction of the Hoover Dam. The dam was built during the Great Depression as one of America’s early attempts to utilize hydroelectric power, and when it was finished, Lake Mead (formerly known as Boulder Dam Recreation Area) was born. At maximum water capacity, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States, boasting 759 miles of shoreline, a maximum depth of 532 feet and a volume of 28 million acre-feet of water. Currently, however, Lake Mead is at its lowest level in history due to prolonged drought in the areas that feed Lake Mead.
Luckily, Lake Mead is beautiful at any depth, and low water levels actually lead to more opportunity for exploration, especially for those interested in archeology and history. When the Hoover Dam was first built in the early 20th century, its reservoir grew to displace multiple communities in the area. Now, when the reservoir is low, remnants of old townships like St. Thomas can be observed below the high-water line. Pair that with the transparent, turquoise water and the variety of canyons that finger into coves and isolated bays throughout, and it’s easy to see why there’s a growing paddling community forming in the areas around Lake Mead. and Lake Mead is a paddling destination you don’t want to skip, whether or not you decide to try your luck in Vegas.
Plenty more where this came from our #30Lakesin30Days project.
30 Lakes in 30 Days Project:
America is riddled with countless unsung watering holes ideal for your next SUP adventure. To highlight some of our favorite freshwater paddling locales, we're profiling 30 lakes in 30 days for the entire month of July. We'll give you the lake's local rundown, outfitting options in the area and we'll even tell you where to find the best bite and beer post-paddle. It's a resource just for you and it's brought to you by Tahoe SUP.