Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

Historic Railroad Trail (Lake Mead NRA) 20-Jan-2020

A broken foothold, and subsequent back injury, brought last year’s hiking adventure outside Las Vegas to an abrupt – and painful – halt. Now, with my back working again, we decided to return to Nevada to finish some of the hikes we missed last year. It should be noted that none of this year’s hikes involved climbing on wet, weak sandstone. 😡

We started with a leisurely stroll along the route of one of the railroads used to build Hoover Dam. Last year this trail was not fully open due to a failed tunnel. And the recreation area itself was closed due to an idiotically petulant 🙄 government shutdown. This time both the tunnel and the government were open, so having to wait a year actually worked in our favor. 🙂

Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Starting out through one of the cuts
Tunnel 1 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Entering Tunnel 1
Tunnel 2 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Roof detail – Tunnel 2
Lake Mead Marina from the Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Lake Mead Boat Harbor
Tunnel 4 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Tunnel 4
Toward Tunnel 5 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Heading toward Tunnel 5
Tunnel 5 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Entering Tunnel 5
Going toward Hoover Dam on the Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Descending the old railroad grade toward Hoover Dam
Electrical switching yard silhouette - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Switching yard
Hoover Dam from Nevada side
Hoover Dam from the Nevada side
Tunnel 5 - Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Returning through Tunnel 5
Muddy Mountains from the Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Lake Mead Marina with the Muddy Mountains in the distance

Despite a pesky overcast sky, this was a fun hike that combined big views of Lake Mead with a fascinating piece of Western history. We passed through five tunnels, each 25 feet in diameter to accommodate the huge penstock sections and large equipment required by the dam. Then we extended the hike (to 7.5 miles round-trip) so we could get a view of the sheer face of Hoover Dam. We’d gotten a moderately early start so we didn’t run into holiday crowds (this is a very popular hike) until we were headed back. Fall through Spring is definitely the time to do this hike, as it can be screaming hot here in summer.

Map of the Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Historic Railroad Trail with its five (1-5) tunnels
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2 comments

  1. Nice symmetry on the 2nd photo. The switching yard looks great with the dark clouds. In tunnel 5 she was walking into the light. So what did the LovedOne think of the afterlife?

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