Hiking the Narrows at Lake Mead

A mere forty minutes outside the bright lights, crowded streets and non-stop action of the Vegas strip lies the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. A true oasis in the desert, the sparkling blue waters of Lake Mead stand out among the surrounding landscape attracting boaters, campers and nature lovers alike.

Lake Mead
Phineas enjoying his first of many swims in the lake

In addition to several campgrounds and RV parks around the lake, there are also numerous boondocking opportunities for those looking to go a bit more primitive. Perfect for us. We chose to park ourselves at an area called Government Wash. Located just a few miles off the main road which winds around the park, this is a popular free spot for RVing. You are far from alone out here, but the area is large enough that we managed to find our own piece of property, so to speak, away from other campers.

Lake Mead
Free camping with a view

Government Wash is basically a bluff overlooking the lake covered with a network of curvy roads where campers have carved out pull-offs and fire pits over the years. We drove around and scoped out all the options before spotting an open area near the water that looked like the perfect place to call home. As we slowly made our way down to the intended spot it became clear why no one else had claimed it. The road- if you could call it that- was crazy bumpy and full of big dips and ruts. We persisted through the rough terrain though (with only one minor bumper scraping incident) and soon had claimed a perfect spot with the perfect view.

Lake Mead
Out-the-door view

Phineas was thrilled to be back at a fresh water lake after so many months of salty ocean beaches and wasted no time running down the hill and jumping right in.

Lake Mead
Swimming, Posing pretty, Shaking off

We are surrounded by beauty out here. The water, the mountains, the sky- all around us is nature at its most glorious. One of my favorite things about being out here in the wide open is that we are lucky enough to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset.

Lake Mead
Early morning sun rising over the mountains
Lake Mead
Pink lake and sky at sunset

In addition to the lovely views and our awesome spot, the thing that has made our stay at Lake Mead so special is the people. On Saturday Leigh and Brian, who we met last week in Las Vegas, drove out to scout the area for a future stay and stopped by to visit us. Phineas eagerly showed off his swimming skills and Leigh rewarded him with his very own blog post! Later that day Cassie, Kris and Juniper rolled in and snagged another prime spot near us overlooking the lake.

Lake Mead
our neighbor-friends off in the distance

We first met them briefly at Fort Stevens State Park in northern Oregon. Unfortunately, we didn’t connect until the day we checked out of the park so we only got to chat for few minutes. Since then we’ve followed each other’s blogs and facebook pages, but only now have we crossed paths again. Tim and I have been on our own for awhile now, and needless to say are thrilled to have some company. Just this month we’ve finally been able to meet up with a few fellow RV dwellers and travelers. We’ve loved getting to know these similar minded folks over an evening of drinks, exchanged stories and experiences. This is our first time camping near one of our “RV Friends” though, and it allows for even more interactions than just swapping stories. Like hiking! We knew from their blog that Kris and Cassie are outdoor enthusiasts so it only seemed natural to ask them to join us for a hike. They eagerly accepted and yesterday morning the four of us headed down the road for what turned out to be an almost 9 mile hike through the Lovell Wash and into the Anniversary Narrows.

Lake Mead
Tm, Cassie & Kris walking the wash

The wash is gravel path that provides 4WD access to the abandoned mines and fascinating rock sculptures in the Anniversary Narrows. We could have driven up the wash and parked near the narrows, but where’s the fun in that? Instead we parked at the trail-head right off the main road and walked the whole way. It was a pleasant, flat hike on loose gravel flanked by colorful mineral streaked sedimentary cliffs on either side.

Lake Mead
Cliffs streaked with green
Lake Mead
Red, red rocks

At the end of the wash the cliffs narrow and a skinny path leads through an amazing section of sculpted and water polished rock.

Lake Mead
Entrance to the Narrows, Kris and Tim among the rocks
Lake Mead
Cassie peaking out from behind a massive rock
Lake Mead
Towering cliffs, The crew on the move, Close up of the amazing colored cliffs
Lake Mead
Colorful wavy cliff

The hike was a spectacular and we even made it back to the truck with only a minor detour onto the main road (that’s what happens when I navigate). Later we had Kris, Cassie, and their cute dog Juniper over for happy hour. Somehow I neglected to take any doggy photos. I’ll be sure to remedy that before we depart.

Lake Mead
Happy hour in the desert
Lake Mead
The airstream bathed in moonlight

We like it here so much that we plan on sticking around for a few more days before heading back into California for some time in the Mojave Desert.

 

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10 Responses to “Hiking the Narrows at Lake Mead”

Comments

  1. Leigh

    Beautiful pics. The hiking around here is AWESOME!

    Reply
  2. Lynne (WinnieViews)

    What a happy hound that Phin is in his gigantic swimming hole!

    Gorgeous boondocking spot and looks like you all had lots of fun on that Narrows hike. Really cool night shots of the Airstream too!

    Thanks for another great camp spot recommendation!

    Reply
  3. Sandy

    What beautiful pictures…thank you so much for sharing this camping spot…I’ve put it at the top of our list !

    Reply
  4. Cassie

    Your pictures are really wonderful. Thanks for inviting us on such a great hike! We’re so enjoying having neighbors. You’ll look for us if tonight’s wind blows us over, right? :)

    Reply
  5. wheelingit

    Lovely pics!! This was one of the spots I was looking at for 2013 so really enjoyed your write-up!
    Nina

    Reply
    • Amanda

      I can’t say enough good things about this area. Gorgeous views all around, tons of hiking, and close enough to town that you can easily re-supply and stay for awhile. We might never leave :)

      Reply

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