Boondocking Site Review – Government Wash, Lake Mead, NV
A very scenic but also very popular boondocking spot just east of Las Vegas on the shores of Lake Mead, NV
Location: Government Wash Road, Lake Mead, NV
Coordinates: Entry to boondocking area around 36.1385681,-114.8399551. Link to map location HERE
Cost: Lake Mead NRA Fees apply ($10 for 7 days, $30 for a year or America The Beautiful Pass). 15-day stay limit.
How We Found It: We heard about this spot from other bloggers (Aluminarium and Watson’s Wonder) and also found it on freecampsites.net
Nearest Dump/Water: Nearest dump & water is at Calville Bay Resort & Marina. There are on-site garbage bins (for household garbage) and flush toilets at Government Wash.
- Access – 3.5/5
Pretty decent/easy access here depending on where you go and how close to the lake you want to get:
Gravel Parking Area -> Government Wash Road is an easy paved road that ends in a large, gravel parking area (with toilet facilities & trash) There is easily space for 20 rigs of any size in this area and it’s super-easy to access. For those worried about the dirt roads, just park here and enjoy. However the best views are further down.
Lake Area -> Once you leave the paved area the road becomes dirt which is hard, bumpy & very rocky (lots of small. embedded rocks). There are several forks which lead you to different areas. The first fork on the right has lots of flat, easy sites with good views but no direct access to the lake. The second fork further down leads to sites closer to the lake. The closer you get to the lake the more bumpy, rough and potentially sandy the road so be sure to scope out before you bring in your rig. Big rigs are probably best keeping near the top whereas smaller rigs can nab some of the juicier sites further down. Since this is a popular boondocking spot some of the larger sites often end up with several rigs parked in the same area so keep this in mind when choosing a spot.
- Nature – 5/5
This is a pretty gorgeous spot. You are right next to Lake Mead within easy walking distance to the water and with several large washes & spots to hike/explore around the boondocking area. The desert is dry & stark, but the lake is shimmering blue. A lovely contrast!
- Isolation – 1/5
This area is close to Las Vegas & Henderson and is a popular fishing/boating spot with the locals (there is a boat put-in area down the centre dirt road). Plus it’s a well-known, well-used boondocking spot. For this reason you are very unlikely to be alone unless you come well out of season. There were probably 30 rigs in the area while we were there, plus the lake-front got full (and quite rowdy) on the week-end.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5
Excellent spot for doggie. Lots of space in camp, swimming in the lake is easily accessible just down the road plus there is plenty of space around the area to hike/explore. Desert is dry and cactus-free so easy on the paws. Be aware there are lots of coyotes around so don’t leave small pets outside alone.
Overall Rating = 3.6
BONUS ALERT = Camp with a full view of gorgeous Lake Mead, NV!
Summary: It’s not often you find a boondocking site right next to a rocking town with full lake-views and for that reason this is a popular spot. Government Wash lies within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area just east of Las Vegas, NV. There is a fee to entry ($10 for 7 days, $30 for a year, or you can use your America The Beautiful Pass), but for this small cost you’ll get some outstanding views. The road is an easy, paved street down to a large parking area by the old boat ramp (now closed) with 3 main dirt roads (bumpy, hard, rocky) leading to obvious sites all the way down to the water. You can either boondock in the parking area or along one of the dirt roads. The closer you get to the water the bumpier & rougher the road, so big rigs are probably best camping near the top, while smaller rigs can get further down. Lots of sites in the area, but the biggest ones often get filled by several rigs camped side-by-side so keep that in mind when choosing a site. The best things about this spot are the gorgeous views, the excellent Verizon signal, the on-site garbage cans (what a treat) and the easy proximity to all the shopping/eating you’ll ever want in Henderson & Las Vegas. Plus there is lots of nearby hiking & sightseeing. The worst things about this spot are the crowds, especially on warm week-ends. Also, the area is very poorly patrolled and it seems several rigs stake out spots here long-term. We loved all the positive aspects of this area, especially the proximity to the lake (daily swims with doggie!) & nearby shopping/eating but the traffic started to get to us after around a week and we decided to move on. Despite this, this is such a good location there’s no doubt we’ll come back here in the future.
Extra Info: Excellent Verizon signal (full bars of 3G, plus some 4G LTE with booster). On-site garbage & flush toilets. NO dump or potable water (nearest dump/water at Calville Bay).