Boulder City - Then and Now

Boulder City is a beautiful high oasis in the desert (elevation 2500 ft.) with green lawns and many clean, tree-shaded streets overlooking Lake Mead and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Boulder City is 5 miles from Lake Mead, 8 miles from the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and Hoover Dam, and 21 miles from Las Vegas, the “Entertainment Capital of the World.”

The City of Boulder City is known as the city that housed over 4,000 workers during the construction of Hoover Dam, which lasted from 1931 to 1935. Boulder City is still home to some of the original Dam workers, fondly called the “31ers”, and their families. The City was supervised and regulated by the Bureau of Reclamation and all land in and around the City was owned by the federal government.

In 1958, the federal government passed the Boulder City Act and established an Independent Municipal Government, the City of Boulder City. Under this act, the federal government turned over the existing home sites (approximately 33 square miles of land), and the utility system to residents. The City Charter (approved by the residents) prohibits gaming, making Boulder City unique as only one of two cities in Nevada where gaming is illegal.

Boulder City’s present population of 15,500 provides a quiet, small-town atmosphere found nowhere else in Southern Nevada. More importantly, it offers a welcome contrast and a dramatic alternative to the often frantic Las Vegas lifestyle.

The community takes great pride in its historic past and abounds with cultural opportunities. It has a state-of-the-art library and a wealth of interesting and unique shops located in it’s historic downtown district along Boulder City Parkway. Boulder City also sponsors numerous special events and festivals. For instance, the annual Art in the Park and Spring Jamboree celebrations are recognized as the foremost art exhibitions in the Southern Nevada area.

A very extensive network of parks provides visitors with many recreational opportunities as varied as soccer, baseball, horseback riding, car and boat racing, BMX competitions, golf, hiking, off-road biking, fishing, boating, waterskiing, diving, shooting clubs, ATVs and ziplining.

Within Boulder City there are 71 acres of landscaped park and plaza areas, 36 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails and year-round swimming, racquetball, shuffleboard, tennis and basketball courts (indoor and outdoor), picnic tables, lighted grass athletic fields and kiddie parks. There are two municipal golf courses – an 18-hole course and a 27-hole course. There are art galleries and specialty shops, along with quaint sidewalk dining in the booming Historic District downtown.

The Boulder City Municipal Airport features daily flights to the Grand Canyon and also skydiving. For a good hike check out the River Mountain Trailhead off Highway 93 or the Railroad Tunnel Trail located at Lakeshore Drive near the Lake Mead Visitor Center. The River Mountain Loop Trail is a 37 mile paved trail for bikes, horses, joggers and walkers. Or simply enjoy a brisk bike ride along the well-marked, nearby paths.

Recreational Activities

A desert area 2,500 feet above sea level doesn’t usually evoke thoughts of rugged outdoor sports like mountain biking, hiking or kayaking, nor does it bring to mind relaxing on the banks of a fresh water lake where fish abound.

These fun activities are but a small sampling of the many recreational pastimes available to residents and visitors to Boulder City.

When it comes to recreation and outdoor activities, the residents of Boulder City do it all. In addition to the water sports available at nearby Lake Mead, the town is able to boast 36 miles of world-class mountain bike trails at Bootleg Canyon, just minutes away from any home in Boulder City. In September 2001, the International Mountain Biking Association named Bootleg Canyon an “EPIC Trail System,” one of only 18 trails in the world with this distinction.

While Bootleg Canyon brings thrills to mountain bikers, it is also a place of beauty for those who use the trails for walking, running and hiking.

Practically right in Boulder City’s backyard, the sprawling Lake Mead National Recreation Area currently receives up to 6.3 million visitors annually. This tremendous amount of visitors makes it the 5th most visited National Recreation Area in the United States.

Residents of Boulder City enjoy a wide variety of activities at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area such as boating, camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and year-round fishing in a setting of rugged mountains, desert washes, sheer cliffs and massive rock formations.

Best known for water recreation, Lake Mead is a top-rated destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, water skiing, sailboats, sailboards, kayaking, boating and houseboating, to name just a few. While the current drought has affected some areas drastically, Lake Mead really has not changed much.

Hiking in the hills outside of Boulder City can be a rewarding experience for those who dare to explore. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, kit foxes and bobcats are often seen in the mountains and valleys surrounding Lake Mead. Numerous scenic trails lead to such places as abandoned mines, ancient Native-American encampments and villages, and hideouts of some of the wild West’s most notorious villains.

For those interested in soccer, baseball, softball, fishing, model boat sailing, BMX racing or skateboarding, the 80+ acres of transformed desert area that offers each and every one of these leisure interests is Boulder City’s Veterans’ Memorial Park. There is the 3.5-acre fishing pond, stocked with catfish in the summer and trout in the winter. Water from the fishing pond flows over a rock stream to the tranquil model boat and duck pond. To the south of the ponds are two regulation-size soccer fields and to the south of the soccer fields are four ball fields.

Adjacent to Veterans’ Memorial Park is the Boulder Creek Golf Club, which opened in January of 2003. There is also Boulder City Municipal Golf Course, located just across Buchanan Boulevard. Both courses have been recipients of Vegas Golfer Magazine’s Fairway Awards. In 2004, Boulder City Municipal Golf Course received a Fairway Award in the category of “Best Bargain Course.” 2004 was the third year in a row this course received this award.

In 2004, Boulder Creek Golf Club received “Best Par 4, Desert Hawk #9,” from the staff writers of the Vegas Golfer Magazine and “Best Bargain Course,” voted by the magazine readers. The magazine stated, “Boulder Creek – a winner last year in the ‘Best New Course’ category, chalks up another award as one of the most affordable courses, proving that a beautifully maintained design in Vegas needn’t cost a car payment to play.” For private play, Boulder City is home to the splendid Cascata Golf Course.

Because of the variety of recreational activities Boulder City has to offer, it will take more than one weekend to enjoy it all. Come visit the town to see first hand the bounty of pleasures within the borders of this green oasis.