Free(ish) camping just a half-hour outside of Vegas with easy access to the Valley of Fire State Park and the rest of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The shoreline of "Lake" Mead is what you would expect of a large, man-made reservoir with fluctuating water levels (muddy & unpleasant), but that is not to say that the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is not filled with incredible places to explore (it is), and Boxcar Cove is a solid spot to camp / boondock for free (depending on when/where you enter the Area) on your way to those places.

To get there from the west, take the Northshore Road / CO 167 to mile marker 8.9 and go right onto the dirt Boxcar Road towards the reservoir. Just onto the road there will be signs for Boxcar Cove and Crawdad Cove.

After about half a mile the road will split. To the right is Crawdad Cove and to the left is Boxcar. Go left another 2.5 miles till the road dead-ends at the water. Before the water are several good boondocking and camping sites, including bathrooms about a mile back.

Be careful not to take the left about .75 miles *before* the water, as 4WD is required to make it to the top of the hill.

Given that it is free camping *and* a reservoir so close to Las Vegas, do not expect solitude. Do try to clean the place up a bit when you're there.

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Food & water
  • Map
  • $10 fee to enter the Recreation Area
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RT Distance 0 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Stand Up Paddle, Canoeing, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Running, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Lake
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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