Government Wash, Lake Mead, NV

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

National Park Service

Free Camping on Lake Mead, NV

Government Wash is a part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service. It’s officially dubbed a “designated undeveloped camping area” by the NPS, where visitors can camp for free with their vehicles. Located just a short drive from Las Vegas, it’s a highly popular boondocking area.


Lake Mead National Recreation Area

National Park Service

Lake Mead NRA Office:

Tel: (702) 293-8990


GPS: 36.12347, -114.83162

Reservations: First come, first served

Camping Fee: No camping fee

Permit: A park entrance fee of $25.00 per vehicle, free with Interagency Pass

Max Stay: 15 days, after which you must move at least 1/2 mile away before returning to the same spot.

Amenities: restrooms, but often kept locked

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Admin Staff

Admin Staff

Boondocker's Bible

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Government Wash Campground, Lake Mead, NV

Government Wash Campground, situated within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, offers a mixed camping experience. The campground’s proximity to Las Vegas makes it easily accessible for those seeking a camping getaway within reasonable reach of the city. However, the convenience of location comes with certain trade-offs that campers should be aware of.

One aspect that varies among campers is the crowd density at Government Wash. Some visitors appreciate the spacious layout, while others note instances of noise disturbances and occasional overcrowding, particularly on weekends. For those prioritizing solitude and tranquility, selecting weekdays or exploring alternative nearby sites like 8 Mile Road might be a consideration.

The campground provides basic amenities, including flush toilets and dumpsters. However, visitors should be mindful of the cleanliness of the area, as some reviews mention the presence of litter and the importance of responsible waste disposal. Road conditions within the campground are described as rocky and challenging, emphasizing the need for careful driving, especially for larger rigs or vehicles without 4-wheel drive.

While Government Wash offers scenic views of Lake Mead, the water level appears to be low, limiting direct access from the campground. Additionally, the natural beauty is occasionally affected by light pollution from Las Vegas, impacting stargazing opportunities.

For those concerned about connectivity, Government Wash has varying cellular signal strengths. Some campers report decent service, making it potentially suitable for digital nomads or individuals requiring reliable connectivity during their stay.

In summary, Government Wash Campground provides a practical option for campers looking for a nearby escape from Las Vegas. However, potential visitors should be prepared for noise disturbances, varying cleanliness levels, and challenging road conditions. Exploring quieter weekdays or considering alternative camping locations, such as 8 Mile Road, may contribute to a more serene camping experience.

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