Places to Visit: Lake Mead

Zion National Park
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Lake Mead

Lake Mead, the construction-child of the Hoover Dam, glistens in the Nevada desert just a few hours away from Zion National Park. Read More

From the Lake Mead Visitor Center (four miles southeast of Boulder City just above the Hoover Dam): Follow Route 95 north towards Las Vegas. To avoid city and casino traffic jump on Interstate 515 at Exit 56 and follow north to Interstate 15. Take I-15 north and into the Nevada desert. If you harbor an itch to gamble before reaching the Arizona state line, 82 miles away, you'll pass several small towns, like Glendale and Mesquite, all with conveniently located casinos right off the Interstate.

The 29-mile jog through Arizona shoots over the Virgin Mountains, highlighted by Mount Bangs at 8350 feet, before dropping across the Utah state line and into St. George, the second fastest growing city in the country. Continue north through St. George on I-15 for 10 miles before taking Exit 16 for Route 9. Follow 9, along the Virgin River, east into Zion National Park. If you're in no hurry to enter the park consider visiting Grafton, a well-preserved ghost town, that served as the setting for several scenes in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You can access the road to Grafton in the town of Rockville, located just outside Zion's western entrance.