Bolder City, NV
On Saturday we left Valley of Fire and moved south of Las Vegas to Boulder City. After moving every two or three days for the past month, we took a site in Canyon Trail RV Park for two weeks. The park is only a few miles from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is just full of interesting hikes and Jeep roads, so we need some time to explore. Who knows, a hike through the casino canyon known as The Strip may be in our future!
For our first hiking adventure we drove south across the Colorado River into Arizona to the White Rock Canyon Trailhead, where we intended to hike to the Liberty Bell Arch. From the parking area the trail immediately drops into a wash and goes under Rte. 93.
The first half mile is in the wash on a flat walk toward the hills to the west.
Soon the wash drops as it enters into a narrow canyon. After a while it was obvious to us that we had gone too far and missed the turn on to the trail going to the Liberty Arch. OK, we’ll continue down into White Rock Canyon and hike to the Colorado River, a hike we intended to do in the future anyway.
As we hiked through the canyon we spied some fellow hikers moving along the canyon wall above us.
Seven Desert Big Horn Sheep of various ages made their way along the canyon wall. We soon lost sight of them and continued down the canyon. But just down the trail we spotted someone checking us out just a few yards down the trail.
We stopped to watch him when part of the herd jumped onto the trail in front of us to feed on the brush.
All the while one of the elders of the herd kept us in view.
The big guy must have just run a race, as he was still wearing his bib number (77).
Even the young one in the group kept an eye on us.
After the sheep cleared the trail we continued hiking down to the river. It turns out the sheep were on the same hike, as they were enjoying a drink when we arrived.
As we slowly passed the herd, one big guy strutted his stuff on the neighboring hillside.
After hiking for over three miles through desert conditions it is amazing to come upon a beautiful river.
We knew from the map at the trailhead that the Arizona Hot Springs were located near where we were along the river, but since we had not intended to hike to this point we did not research its exact location. We spoke with a young couple eating lunch along the river and found out they were from nearby Henderson and knew the trails well. They gave us directions to the hot springs in a nearby canyon and suggested that we return to the trailhead by continuing up that canyon to make a loop. We liked that idea but had reservations, as going up that canyon required a bit of wading through water above the knees, a climb up a ladder, and some rock scrambling. In fact, the map at the trailhead labeled the hike up this canyon as very difficult. But let’s give it a try!
A shallow creek at the start
The first of three hot pools, easy to get around
After passing the first pool we rounded a bend and came to the ladder. If climbing a ladder up about fifteen feet wasn’t interesting enough, water pouring over the top above you on to the ladder just adds to the adventure.
After climbing the ladder we immediately came to another pool, this time one that we couldn’t go around. So off came the boots, pockets were emptied, and shorts were rolled up for a walk through the hot water.
Not far from that pool was another that required a bit of wading. The pools in this canyon are deepened by sand bags placed in narrow spots to dam up the water.
After this last deep pool we spied the source of much of the heated water. Along the side of the canyon was a small opening. A strong stream of very hot water about two inches in diameter shot out of the rock and into the stream.
After re-booting, we continued up the canyon where things quickly changed. In just a short distance we left the moisture of the hot pools and returned to the arid conditions of the desert.
As we hiked up the canyon we came to a number of spots that required some scrambling. Most presented a challenge, but we were able to keep going.
At one point we came upon some petroglyphs, or as John calls them, ancient graffiti. He always imagines a group of indigenous people moving through the canyon. A mother yells at junior to quite marking up the rocks and keep moving with the group.
We continued hiking over a number of pour overs, but again nothing we couldn’t handle.
Looking back after climbing up this pour over
Eventually we came to a spot where it was just too high for us to scale. We thought we would have to go back down the canyon a mile or so and take a side trail up over the hills. But we noticed a spot along the side of the canyon where someone had placed a few rocks along the wall like a stair step. So, up we went and climbed over the rocks and around the obstacle.
Up, over, and around the obstacle
Finally, we came up and out of the canyon. We agree with the label at the trailhead marking this trail as “very difficult.”
Tomorrow we’re going back to this trailhead to see if we can find the route to the Liberty Bell Arch.
More on that later . . .