The access point for the farthest east end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located in Arizona about 30 minutes east of Hoover Dam on Highway 93. The Dolan Springs exit is the one to look for and there are convenient options for stocking up on fuel, food and water in this little village. Topping off the supplies will present more opportunities to enjoy the activities that lie in store further down the road, which include Lake Mead boating, fishing, hiking in Arizona's Joshua Tree Forest, camping at Pearce Ferry Crossing and white water rafting through Grand Canyon West. With a list of adventures like this, it is easy to see that a casual Sunday drive through this area can quickly turn into a lengthy vacation, so it is best to be prepared if the urge strikes!
Both Dolan Springs and Meadview used to cater to tourism back in the old days when the boating in Lake Mead was in its heyday. After several decades of severe drought due to climate change, the water level has plummeted and boating on this big lake is not as popular as it used to be. In fact, some of the boat launches and marinas have been closed in recent years, which is part of the reason why a steady flow of boat trailer haulers are no longer seen heading for this area on the weekends. On the flip-side, with less big boat traffic, the conditions are better for small watercraft enthusiasts and the changing shoreline offers plenty to discover. The South Cove Boat Launch that is located next to Meadview is open and functional, but because of the remoteness, relatively few boaters use this ramp. This definitely is something to keep in mind when trying to escape from the big crowds on busy weekends.
Between Dolan Springs and the South Cove Launch at Meadview is where Arizona's Joshua Tree Forest is located. This natural preserve features one of the thickest Joshua Tree forests in this entire region and some of the largest Joshua Trees on earth exist in this area. There are hiking, biking and horseback trails that go through this vast nature preserve that beckon to be experienced and a landscape artist will feel right at home here as well.
Next to Meadview is a day use picnic area that is worth checking out that offers panoramic views of Lake Mead and the towering mountains in the distance. The views are hidden from the roadside, so parking and standing on the rim will reveal this amazing vantage point. The picnic area offers some shade, which is a real plus when the sunlight is blazing.
From Meadview and South Cove, Pearce Ferry Crossing is located about 20 minutes further down the line where the road ends at the Colorado River. The Pearce Ferry Landing campground is nearly vacant all year long, so plenty of solitude awaits for those who wish to escape from it all. Pearce Ferry Crossing is also where the Colorado River white water rafters and kayakers exit the Grand Canyon. There is a road that goes from Meadview to Grand Canyon West, so the Colorado River rafting excursion companies are within reach. Grand Canyon West is now a full scale Hualapai resort area and this is where the world famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is located, so it is easy to see that the adventures are nearly endless in this neck of the woods. All this is reason enough to check out what lies in store at the Dolan Springs exit, instead of simply flying on by while traveling through this end of Arizona on Highway 93!
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