More than 8 million people visited Lake Mead National Recreation Area last year, moving it to the fifth most visited National Park Service site in the country.
“We think Lake Mead National Recreation Area saw this increase in visitors not only because it remains hugely popular, but the park provides lots of outdoor space for families to get outside and safely gather,” said Rose Davis, spokesperson for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. “With COVID safety concerns in 2020, many people remained at home or inside and with the current mask mandate on public lands, the park remains a healthy outdoor experience and escape.”
For the past three years, Lake Mead has been the sixth most visited site. The more than eight million visitors in 2020 is approximately half a million more than in 2019. This increase came during a worldwide pandemic when the park was closed for six weeks and travel restrictions were in place.
“All the Lake Mead employees are extremely proud of our increased 2020 visitation numbers and rising to the fifth most visited National Park Service unit in the country,” said Davis. “Even through the many challenges to health and safety in 2020, we all remain dedicated to provide great visitor services and share our love of the park’s unique recreation opportunities and amazing diversity of natural features.”
The 1.5-million-acre park has two lakes and numerous mountains, canyons and valleys for people to enjoy. This past year, the new Mohave National Water Trail was also designated within the park. It begins at Eldorado Canyon, 13 miles south of Willow Beach, and continues south to the Laughlin bridge below Davis Dam.
Superintendent Margaret Goodro said Lake Mead’s recreation opportunities are “endless.”
“We are so glad so many more visitors enjoyed the healthy benefits of having fun outdoors hiking, fishing and enjoying water sports,” she said.
“Lake Mead is so popular for many reasons,” added Davis. “It’s close to (the) population hubs of Las Vegas and a half day from Los Angeles and as a basic activity offers a wonderful scenic drive. There are huge numbers of tent and RV camping spots, hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities and all the great water sports on the lake. Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers everyone great fun in the sun.”
Those who visit the park are still required to wear face masks in all NPS buildings and facilities. They are also required when social distance cannot be maintained, including on narrow or busy trails, overlooks and in parking lots.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.
The 10 most visited National Park Service sites:
1. Blue Ridge Parkway 14.09 million (2)
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area 12.4 million (1)
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 12.09 million (3)
4. Gateway National Recreation Area 8.4 million (4)
5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area 8.01 million (6)
6. George Washington Memorial Parkway 6.2 million (7)
7. Natchez Trace Parkway 6.1 million (8)
8. Chesepeake & Ohio Canal National Park 4.8 million (11)
9. Cape Cod National Seashore 4.08 million (21)
10. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area 4.06 million (29)
* Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.