Lake Mead National Recreation Area, near Las Vegas, Nevada

 

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Historic Railroad Tunnels (Lake Mead NRA) to Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam is an attraction to many visiting Las Vegas. Built in the 1930s, it was the tallest dam in the world at the time. The Dam produced the largest reservoir in the world, known as Lake Mead. The railroad that carried supplies 24 hours a day for the building of Hoover Dam was recently converted to a trail. It's trailhead starts near Lake Mead NRA’s (National Recreation Area) Alan Bible Visitor Center. Designated a National Historic Trail, the Historic Railroad Trail goes through five tunnels and leads to the top of Hoover Dam.

Historic Tunnel Trail, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

Historic Tunnel Trail, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

Views of Lake Mead from the Historic Tunnel Trail, Nevada

Views of Lake Mead from the Historic Tunnel Trail, Nevada

 

The Historic Railroad Trail starting at the Visitor Center to Hoover Dam is about 8 miles round-trip, though our hike came to about 9.5 miles after exploring Hoover Dam. The trail arrives at Hoover Dam’s Visitor Centers parkade. As we walked along the trail, we saw cars slowly inching along to get to the top of Hoover Dam. We were glad that we took the trail instead. Along the trail was a turnoff towards the second highest bridge in United States, the Memorial Bridge. The sign at the turnoff indicated ½ mile to Memorial Bridge. It's a good place to get a Hoover Dam fully framed in your picture. Due to time constraints, we did not explore this route.

Views of Memorial Bridge above as we approached Hoover Dam on the Historic Tunnels Trail, Lake Mead, NV

Views of Memorial Bridge above as we approached Hoover Dam from the

Historic Tunnels Trail, Lake Mead, NV

Near the beginning of Hoover Dam on the Nevada side

Near the beginning of Hoover Dam on the Nevada side

 

If you are not so inclined to walk all the way to Hoover Dam, a turnaround after the fifth tunnel will bag you a little less than 5 miles roundtrip. The trail through the tunnels gets you a nice view of Lake Mead’s blue waters. Beyond the tunnels, the view deteriorates to barren dirt and cars inching along, though the alternative of being in a car inching along made me grateful for the trail. Perhaps this is an alternative for a hiker wanting to visit Hoover Dam.  At the beginning of the trail, we encountered a gate with a sign indicating that the trail is closed May through September due to extreme heat. Our hike in December was a cool 45F, but nothing some layers and a hat couldn't fix.

 

Practical Information (as of December 2016):

Features: Walk through 5 tunnels along Lake Mead's blue waters to arrive at Hoover Dam

Hike: 5 miles out-and-back trail to the end of the 5th Tunnel, 8 miles out-and-back hike to beginning of Hoover Dam, fairly flat hike

Directions:  Trailhead starts near Alan Bible Visitor Center at Lake Mead NRA

Fees: $20 per vehicle, or Free with Intra-Agency Annual Parks Pass (which provides free entry into Federal lands across the country for $80 per year

Amenities: vault toilets near trailhead, Visitor Center nearby if open.

Website: Lake Mead National Recreation Area

 

Warning: The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and be safe.

 

 

Redstone, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

If you are looking for stacks of red rock without the crowds of Red Rock Canyon, Redstone in Lake Mead National Recreation Area is your answer. Covered under sand dunes 200 million years ago, these red rocks (Aztec sandstone as they are called) were formed as the sand cemented together over time. Wind, freezing and thawing all have played a role in forming the beautiful curves and caves that you'll see in Redstone's many stacks of red rocks. There is a short mile-long loop trail at this stop, but we were led astray by a beautiful collection of rock hives and caves. From the top of a redstone stack, we saw a line of red rocks in the surrounding mountains, all at about the same level. We spent some time exploring this stack of red rocks until it was time to leave.  Located near Mile 27 on Northshore Road, Redstone is well signed. A paved parking lot and several picnic tables made our arrival comfortable, though the map indicated that there is no drinking water.

The red rocks at Redstone Dunes Trail, Lake Mead NRA, NV
The red rocks at Redstone Dunes Trail, Lake Mead NRA, NV

The red rocks at Redstone Dunes Trail, Lake Mead NRA, NV

The red rocks at Redstone Dunes Trail, Lake Mead NRA, NV

 

Practical Information (as of December 2016):

Features: Beautiful stacks of red rock carved into curves and hives

Hike: 1 mile loop hike, easy, bouldering and climbing of the stacks, big drops

Directions:  Near Mile 27 on Northshore Road of Lake Mead NRA, signs well-posted

Fees: $20 per vehicle, or Free with Intra-Agency Annual Parks Pass (which provides free entry into Federal lands across the country for $80 per year)

Amenities: paved parking, picnic tables

Website: Lake Mead National Recreation Area

 

Warning: The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and be safe.

 

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