As of May 8, 2005, Lake Mead's water surface stood at approximately 1145 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, the lake level will have dropped to approximately 1136 feet.
Due to recent spring runoff, the lake level has risen enough that the end of current is at approximately Mile 288, near Boundary Point at the head of 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 increase in Lake Mead elevation has for the most part washed out the Pearce Ferry riffle.
--Most campsites from Gneiss Canyon to Separation Canyon are open.
--The Spencer Canyon camp is re-exposed, but is prone to flash flooding.
--There is a small camp on cobble at Surprise Canyon, which is also prone to flash flood.
--A small camp is at 253 Mile on river right.
--Access to Burnt Springs is difficult, requiring a climb up a twelve foot high silt bank. 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.
--Another sandbar camp is across from Columbine Falls just past 274 Mile on river right. There is a sandy camp just above the Pearce Ferry riffle at approximately 280 Mile on river left.
--The last nice camp "on the river" is at South American Point on river left at approximately 285 Mile.
--The next large camp below South American Point is on Lake Mead at Sandy Point on the left, just below 294 Mile.
The Hualapai Nation is still requesting that Diamond Creek put-ins and take-outs occur before 7 am or after 10 am.
A rare sight seen in December 2004 to mid February 2005 was water running over the travertine dome across from Burnt Spring at 259 Mile river left.
Helicopter and tour boat activity has increased considerably near Quartermaster Canyon. An operational fleet of 8 power boats doing 20 minute trips for helicopter passengers from Grand Canyon West plies the section of river around 260 Mile daily.
Large navigational hazard sandbars are just above the Bat Cave about 266 Mile and by Dry Canyon at 264.5 Mile.
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 from Mile 288 to South Cove at Mile 297. Rowers are reminded of upstream afternoon headwinds and waves in this area!
South Cove Takeout Information
All river runners taking out at South Cove are supposed 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 try 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 machine is operational at this time.