Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Official US National Park Service Map and Brochure

Vegas, party boats, Hoover Dam: those were my stereotypes of this area before visiting. After a week-long work trip, I realized that Vegas and Lake Mead are set amidst incredible deserts, canyons, and mountains in every direction and are rich in human history.

As is often the case with national recreation areas, I was also amazed at the complex issues of water storage, the continuing population growth of the American Southwest, and the patchwork of federal lands that must work together to co-manage these desert ecosystems.

  • Unlike my other desert maps, the Lake Mead area contains complex urban development, infrastructure, and land management designations; a wider array of visitor use; and a lot of water. With more data to show, I kept the relief fairly simple, with subtle hypsometric tints, NLCD Percent Tree Canopy and urbanized area landcover; and texture shading to bring out details in the mountains and canyons.
  • To precisely match lake Ievels at time of publication, I generated the shorelines from bathyemetric data. I felt this accuracy was warranted given the precious resource that is water in the desert.

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