Historic Railroad Trail Lake Mead National Recreation Area


 

Lake Mead is located about 24 miles southeast of Las Vegas Nevada on the Colorado River and within both the states of Nevada and Arizona. Lake Mead serves water to the states of Arizona, Nevada and California, providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland. The reservoir was created in 1935 through the creation of Hoover Dam. It is the largest man made lake in the U.S.

There are some fantastic recreational activities at and near the National Park, from hiking, boating, and tours of the Dam.  This time, a group of us (all nurses!) hiked the Historic Railroad Trail just outside the National Park entrance to the Hoover Dam. This trail is easily accessed either near the Alan Bible Visitor Center or via the Hoover Dam parking garage Here we are being goofy!

 

This trail is 3.7 miles one way from the trail head to the Hoover Dam. This trail is mostly what is left of a 30 mile stretch of track built to support the construction of the dam. The other parts of this section are underwater or highly disturbed. Along the well maintained 3.7 mile trail, there are five restored tunnels to walk through. Each tunnel is 25 feet in diameter.

 

Along the way are great opportunities to sit and look at the views as well as read about the history of the trail and area. As you approach tunnel 1 (if you started at the trail head not the dam) on the right, look down the ravine to see concrete plugs taken out of Hoover Dam to install the turbines.img_6856

The trail is pretty flat for most of the trip. Part of the trail is paved, the remainder is well maintained dirt/rocks. As you near Hoover Dam side, there is a bit of a climb then decent. This is a great trail for individuals of all fitness levels, relaxing and educational. A wheelchair may drag a little in the gravel in spots, but definitely a doable journey if assisted. Kids will love walking through the train tunnels! Look  for owls, big horn sheep, and antelope ground squirrels as you go. In the summer, do watch out for rattle snacks and scorpions (this is the desert). Having been to the dam many times before, we forwent the tour, but it is worth the time if you haven’t been!

Categories: Day Hikes, Family Friendly, National Parks

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