As of February 28, 2006, Lake Mead's water surface stood at approximately 1141 feet above mean sea level, well below the lake's maximum elevation of 1225.4 feet and significantly below the average lake level of 1163.8 feet. The historic minimum level of 1083.6 occurred in 1956 before Glen Canyon Dam was constructed. The Bureau of Reclamation estimates that by September, 2006, the lake level will have dropped to approximately 1130 feet.
End of current is approximately at Iceberg Reef, about 3 miles above Sandy Point, well into Iceberg Canyon. Erosion of lake deposits continues to cause the river to run muddy past Quartermaster Canyon at Mile 260, at a rate of 3 to 4 mph. The river is running clearer upstream of Separation Canyon at Mile 239.6. The Pearce Ferry riffle is mostly washed out, but by June it should be more noticeable then last year.
--Most campsites from Gneiss Canyon to Separation Canyon are open.
--The Spencer Canyon Camp is open on the gravel outwash of Spencer Canyon, but is prone to flash flooding.
--There is a small camp on cobble at Surprise Canyon, which is also prone to flash flood.
--There is a small camp at 253 Mile on river right.
--Access to Burnt Springs is difficult, requiring a climb up a twelve foot high silt bank. Watch for rattlesnakes. Across the river from Burnt Springs near Quartermaster Canyon, there is a 3 foot high sandbar on river left. All sandbar camps are susceptible to unanticipated flooding by upstream events.
--A camp on a sandbar is on river right just below Dry Canyon at 264.5 Mile but is mostly overgrown with a 5-6 feet bank.
-- There is a sandbar camp at 273 Mile on river left.
--Another sandbar camp is across from Columbine Falls just past 274 Mile on river right, but has an eroded steep bank, and the ground is covered with deep mud cracks.
-- There is a sandy camp just above the Pearce Ferry riffle at approximately 280 Mile on river left.
-- Any camp on river right in the area around Gods Pocket will have to be shared with fifteen to twenty head of range cattle.
--The last nice camp “on the river” is at South American Point on river left at approximately 285 Mile, across from Paiute Point at the mouth of Grand Wash Bay.
--The next large camp is on the left below South American Point on Lake Mead at Sandy Point, just below 294 Mile.
-- The Hualapai Nation is strongly requesting that Diamond Creek put-ins and take-outs occur before 7 am or after 10 am.
-- Helicopter and tour boat activity has increased considerably near Quartermaster Canyon. An operational fleet of 5 to 6 power boats doing 20 minute trips for helicopter passengers from Grand Canyon West plies the section of river around 260 Mile daily, with intense helicopter activity sunrise to sunset.
-- The NPS does not advise night floats due to the potential for collision risk with other watercraft and or submerged trees.
-- If a night float is undertaken, National Park rangers would to remind that you must have a person on watch with a lantern or flashlight ready to warn oncoming boats. Any boats with a motor running, whether tied together as a single craft or running as separate craft, must have navigation lights displayed red/green on the front and a white 360 degree light at the stern (back of the boat visible 360 degrees).
-- Concessions jet boat takeouts will be operating from South Cove to Separation Canyon starting in Mid April.
-- Large navigational hazard sandbars are just above the Bat Cave about 266 Mile and by Dry Canyon at 264.5 Mile. At Dry Canyon, the river channel is to the outside of the Dry Canyon corner on river right then goes hard to river left at 264.5.
-- Be aware of snakes in the heavy riverside vegetation, especially when tying up rafts.
-- The lake below Boundary Point can be rowed, but be aware that it's full-on lake with no current from Mile 291 to South Cove at Mile 297. Also, rowers should be ready for upstream afternoon headwinds in the range of 5-15 mph, with gusts up to 30+ mph possible.
South Cove Takeout Information:
-- All river runners taking out at South Cove are requested to use the gravel area on the south side of the concrete ramp. River runners are asked to be patient in the de-rig area as Hualapai, concessions and public rafters are all taking out in the same area. River runners are encouraged to maintain as small a take-out footprint as possible, and to de-rig as quickly as possible. Early morning take-outs are recommended in the high use seasons of late spring, summer and early fall, to beat the heat and avoid crowds of late afternoon river and lake traffic.
-- National Park Service Rangers note that no camping is allowed on the South Cove ramp and take-out area, or the public swimming area just north of the concrete ramp. Camping is allowed outside the harbor area, and is available one-quarter mile downstream (south) of the concrete ramp below the rock jetty just downstream of the take out.
-- The Mead View SCAT (toilet wash out) machine will open in March after the end of overnight freezing temperatures. The entire machine may be updated by early summer for increased ease of use.
-- River runner trash can be deposited at the Cerbat Landfill on the drive to Kingman on highway 93. The landfill turnoff is at mile marker 60, and the landfill site is 2 miles north from 93 up the Mineral Park road. Landfill hours are M-F 7 to 3, Sat 8 to 3, closed Sunday. Landfill fees are $29.75/ton cash or local check only, with a minimum load fee of $5.85 for 300 pounds or less.
-- All trailers and box trucks are being inspected at Hoover Dam, and box trucks and trailers need a clear aisle down the middle of the load for visible inspections of 80% of the load.