We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Lake Mead?

By Jay Leone
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lake Mead is essentially the largest reservoir in America. This man-made lake was formed from the water dammed by the nearby Hoover Dam. Established as a national recreation area in 1964 by the National Park Service, Lake Mead offers many recreational activities for visitors, such as boating, swimming, and fishing. Lake Mead is surrounded by black lava rock and red sandstone at the junction of the Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran deserts.

At high water, this lake's elevation is 1,229 feet (374.6 meters) above sea level. It features a spillway gate system designed to prevent overfilling at 1,221.4 feet (372.3 meters) above sea level. This reservoir covers a surface area of approximately 247 square miles (397.5 square kilometers) at an elevation of 1,221.4 feet (372.3 kilometers). It extends around 110 miles (177 kilometers) upstream to the Grand Canyon region and its width is known to reach up to to eight miles (12.8 kilometers) at its maximum.

Lake Mead can hold a maximum total of approximately 28,537,000 acre-feet of water (35.2 cubic kilometers) at 1,221.4 feet (372.3 kilometers) above sea level. The acre-foot of water is a unit of measurement equivalent to around 326,000 gallons (1,234,044 liters) of water. This reservoir is large enough to contain the equivalent of two years worth of the Colorado River's annual flow at once.

The National Park Service is the institution in charge of recreational activities around the Lake Mead area while the Bureau of Reclamation maintains and operates the dam, reservoir, and power plant linked with the lake. The Lake Mead reservoir got its name from Elwood Mead, who worked as commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation at the time the Hoover Dam was being built.

Significant sedimentary deposits are accumulated yearly in this lake. It has accumulated approximately 91,000 acre-feet (0.1 cubic kilometer) of sediment between the years 1935 and 1963. A considerable supply of water from here is lost to evaporation on a yearly basis. Each year, around 800,000 acre-feet (0.9 cubic kilometer) of water from this reservoir evaporates.

The area currently occupied by this reservoir used to be relatively dry land. Damming the Colorado River resulted in the creation of this giant reservoir. Several early desert Indian cultures once thrived in and around the area currently known as Lake Mead. The Glen Canyon Dam, which is located around 370 miles (595.5 kilometers) upstream from Lake Mead helps contribute to the sustainability of the lake.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.