Saturday, May 14, 2016

Campground Review: Telephone Cove Searchlight, Nevada

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers much of south eastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, following the path of the Colorado River as it heads south from the Hoover and Davis dams.  Dotted along the length of the National Recreation Area (NRA) are several individual campgrounds which are administered by the National Forest Service.  The most southern of these on the Nevada side of the Colorado is Telephone Cove.  I spent five great days there in early May and will definitely be going back.

The Tank's site....8 feet from the Colorado!
I sometimes get accused of keeping the best places I camp a secret (I don't) and if I did Telephone Cove would probably not be appearing in this blog, it's just that nice (on the weekdays, more on that later).

Sunrise over the Arizona side seen from Nevada.
To get down to the beach you have to drive four miles over a washboard gravel road with speed limits of 25 mph which you won't get close to reaching, allow a half hour and you'll still have all your dental fillings.  I arrived on a Thursday at mid-day and was able to snag the last primo campsite you saw in the above pictures.

You can see I have the last shade tree available.
Here's the Telephone Cove data sheet:


Hookups:                                             None                                      
Fire ring:                                              Yes                             
Water Access:                                     Yes                             
Fresh Water:                                        No                                          
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                         
Toilets:                                                Yes - vault                              
Showers:                                             No                                          
Dump station:                                      No                              
WiFi:                                                   No                                          
Level sites:                                          Yes                             
Laundry:                                              No                              
Store:                                                  No                              
Pool:                                                   No                              
Shade:                                                No                              
Verizon reception:                                4G – 3 bars                             
Internet reception:                                3 bars              
Cost:                                                  Free for up to 7 days

A coyote seen out of the Tank's screen door.
I'd been hauling my kayak all over the Southwest for two months without finding a place to use it until Telephone Cove.  While it was pretty consistently windy in the afternoons if you got out in the morning the winds were much milder and paddling a lot easier.  About a mile from my campsite was a little mini-cove within a cove I "discovered".

Entrance to the mini-cove.


Midway into the mini-cove.



Caves in the hills along the mini-cove.
Readers from Texas know the Colorado River as a brownish murky river.  It's hard to be further from that description with the river water you encounter at Telephone Cove.  It's so clear you can see bottom 15 feet down.

Bottom plants seen through the clear water of the Colorado.
There were a lot of ducks around the campground and you could tell campers have been feeding them (it's never a good idea to feed wildlife while camping) because they fearlessly came up and stood three feet away from me demanding a handout.

I'm given a dirty look because I don't feed wildlife.

Man this post is getting way too long.  I mentioned the campground was great during WEEKDAYS.  It changes on the weekend and probably not for the better if you like sleeping before 3 am.  The local young folks come out on Friday after work and rock the campground until the wee hours of the morning.  Same on Saturday then they all depart Sunday morning, probably to go to church.  :D

If you take my recommendation to camp Telephone Cove arrive on a Sunday or Monday and plan on heading out Friday,  you'll have a perfect five day camping experience.

Thanks for reading!