For the third consecutive year, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has ranked as the National Park Service’s sixth-most-visited recreation site.
In all, 7,578,958 people visited the 1.5 million-acre park that includes two lakes, mountains, canyons and valleys.
Visitation to Lake Mead far surpassed the closest national park, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, which celebrated its centennial last year and ranked as the ninth-most-visited site and second-most-visited park nationwide with 5.97 million visitors.
“Boulder City is fortunate to have two of the most incredible wonders of nature and engineering: Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam,” said Mayor Kiernan McManus. “The beauty and wonder of Lake Mead National Recreation Area still draw thousands of people to Boulder City looking to shop, grab a great meal or stay a few nights.”
Tourism plays a vital role in the city’s economic health. In 2018, visitors to Lake Mead brought in about $336 million to Boulder City and the surrounding communities.
“Lake Mead National Recreation Area is an essential factor in the make-up of the tourist economy for Boulder City,” said Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce. “… Our partnerships with leadership at both the Lake Mead NRA and Bureau of Reclamation are a contributing factor in all of our success. Their outreach to our gateway community has proven effect, efficient and necessary for many of our business owner’s survival and expansion.I know many residents of Boulder City are the benefactors of successful years in business with some facet owed to the lake or the dam.”
Visitation to Lake Mead National Recreation Area actually decreased by about 80,000 from 2018 to 2019, following a decrease of about 400,000 from 2017, despite a nationwide trend that saw numbers increase at parks throughout the U.S. for the fifth consecutive year. Overall, visitation in 2019 was up 2.9 percent from 2018. The 327.5 million total is the third-highest since record keeping began in 1904.
“The numbers once again affirm that Americans and visitors from around the world love the natural, cultural and historic experience provided by our nation’s national parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
Lake Mead has ranked among the 10 most-visited national parks since 1938, according to the Park Service. About 447 million people have visited the recreation area since 1937, with Boulder Basin being the most-visited location.
“I am grateful for their good stewardship of this amazing asset not only for Boulder City’s residents, businesses and guests, but for the entire global population that enjoy the chain of national parks,” Rowland-Lagan added.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.
The 10 most visited National Park Service sites:
Golden Gate National Recreation Area 15 million
Blue Ridge Parkway 14.9 million
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 12.5 million
Gateway National Recreation Area 9.4 million
Lincoln Memorial 7.8 million
Lake Mead National Recreation Area 7.49 million
George Washington Memorial Parkway 7.48 million
Natchez Trace Parkway 6.3 million
Grand Canyon National Park 5.97 million
Gulf Islands National Seashore 5.6 million
2019 by the numbers
327,516,619 recreation visits
1,429,969,885 recreation visitor hours
13,860,047 overnight stays (recreation plus nonrecreation)
Three parks had more than 10 million recreation visits: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
11 parks had more than 5 million recreation visits
80 parks had more than 1 million recreation visits (21 percent of reporting parks)
25 parks had more than 1 million recreation visits (40 percent of national parks)
50 percent of total recreation visits occurred in 27 parks (7 percent of all parks in the system)
Lake Mead National Recreation Area 2019 Visitation by Location
Boulder Beach Access from U.S. 93 1.8 million
Lake Mead Parkway 1.4 million
Lakeview Overlook 925,000
Lake Mead Boulevard 815,000
Katherine Access Road 758,000
Valley of Fire Access Road 514,000
Northshore Road (southbound/Overton) 423,000
Willow Beach Access Road 252,000
Cottonwood Cove Access Road 154,000
Nevada Telephone Cove 139,000
Nelson Landing 138,000
South Cove-Pearce Ferry Road 126,000
Temple Bar Access Road 93,000
Kingman Wash 38,000