Planning to Visit Lake Mead, Lake Powell, or Nevada State Parks This Summer? Here’s what to Expect.

Lake Powell water levels likely to go up nearly 69 feet by the end of July; Lake Mead at about 12 feet

Due to increased visitation and other factors, Glen Canyon and Lake Mead national recreation areas as well as some Nevada state parks have made changes that may affect summer travel plans.

According to Park representatives the majority of the coming changes as well as changes recently implemented are due to “multifaceted reasons” but primarily for the safety of the public.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

According to a press release issued by National Park Service (NPS) concerning Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the spring runoff has increased Lake Powell’s elevation to 3,562 feet. This has enabled access from the north side at Hall’s Crossing and allowed for the opening of its launch ramp.

Visitor services include a boat ramp comfort station and campground with family units. The marina office is open; however, the boat pump-out, boat fuel dock, Village Store, and snack bar are closed.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Midlake fuel remains unavailable. Due to low lake levels, the Dangling Rope Marina closed in 2022 and dilapidated structures have been removed.

The following boat ramps are open: Wahweap Main, Wahweap Stateline Auxiliary, Antelope Point Business, and Bullfrog North.

Other boat ramps that may be used for smaller motorized and non-motorized vessels are “launch at your own risk” and include Rainbow Bridge National Monument and Bullfrog Main.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Higher-than-usual runoff has raised the water levels to 1,054 feet at Lake Mead and produced exciting news as several closed boat ramps and other areas have been reopened, according to an NPS press release.

The fuel dock, Katherine Landing by Boulder City reopened May 5 after four months of closure. The project updated the system utilized since the 1970s to provide safer measures in providing fuel and 47 new transient moorage slips for visitors and their vessels.

“We are really excited about this project,” Lake Mead Chief of Commercial Services Julie Drugatz said. “This partnership continues to enhance the experience for more than one million visitors annually to Katherine Landing.”

Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Echo Bay reopened a one-lane boat ramp on pipemat after closing last year in May. However, there is a caution to stay within the cones as vehicles will get stuck outside of the designated area.

Hemenway Harbor has four lanes available for use. Both Calville Bay and Temple Bar are launch at your own risk for smaller vessels only. All others remain closed for Lake Mead.

However, on the Lake Mohave side all boat ramps are open ranging from one lane to six open lanes.

Trail closures are in effect due to the extreme heat and environmental conditions of the area.

The following trails are closed until September 30: Goldstrike Canyon, White Rock Canyon and Trail, Arizona Hot Springs and Trail, Liberty Arch Trail, Lone Palm Trail, Sugar Loaf Trail, Lone Palm, and Sugar Loaf areas.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Nevada State Parks

According to Nevada Division of State Parks Information Office the main changes for the summer are trail closures. Valley of Fire State Park closed two popular trails on June 1—The Fire Wave and the Seven Wonders Loop Trail. These trails are closed when it is dangerously hot to hike them.

The popular state park nearby Moapa Valley has over 40,000 acres of red sandstone and cliff formations with natural wildlife. It also features Native American petroglyphs.

Currently, Cave Rock State Park is the only other park that has a hiking trailhead closed.

Other closures are campgrounds due to low demand or again due to safety concerns.

The Arch Rock Campground at Valley of Fire will be closed. The Atlatl Rock Campground will remain open to RVs and tents.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Several state parks and recreation areas have areas closed due to the high snow-melt and water runoff. Buckland Station State Historic Park, Kershaw-Ryan State Park, Walker River State Recreation Area, Walker Lake State Park, and Lahontan State Park have areas and features closed until further notice due to flooding and rising waters.

South Fork State Recreation Area has an advisory in effect for the dam spillway as running waters have stronger currents.

Cave Lake State Park, Fort Churchill State Park, and Sand Harbor State Park will have ongoing construction and locations closed or with limited access.

Boat ramps are open for those state parks where water activities are applicable.

Ice Age Fossils State Park remains fully closed as it is under development until Fall.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The biggest change will come after September 1 when all Nevada parks and recreation areas will have a full online reservation system in place.

According to Nevada Division of State Parks Information Office, a lot of people are happy they are going to reservations because it guarantees they will get to go. A lot of people wouldn’t drive seven hours and not guarantee a camping spot.

The online reservation system titled Reserve Nevada will offer full services including buying day-use passes, booking campsites and cabins, purchasing annual permits, and making special event reservations.

The system will have the parks phased in with Valley of Fire kickstarting the program. Big Bend of the Colorado by Laughlin and Washoe Lake by Reno will follow in October. The rest of the parks including the popular Cathedral Gorge will be fully utilizing the online system by the end of the year.

Visitors need to be aware that that both state and national parks will have fire restrictions and other advisories in effect throughout the summer at different times.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

For more information on parks and recreational areas, click on the links below:

Worth Pondering…

…a curious ensemble of wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds, and monuments…

We decided to call it Glen Canyon.

—John Wesley Powell (1869)