Las Vegas, NV
One day during Jessica’s visit she and Pam (John’s bad back still had him on the disabled list) headed south to hike to Hoover Dam using the Railroad Tunnels Trail. This trail follows an old railroad bed through five 25-ft-diameter tunnels cut through volcanic ridges high above Lake Mead. The “railroad tunnels” portion of the trail starts at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area trailhead and runs east a bit over two miles to just beyond the fifth tunnel. The trail continues from there all the way to Hoover Dam, adding another 3 miles to the round-trip hike.
The railroad was built in 1931 for hauling equipment and materials during the construction of Hoover Dam. The railroad was used heavily until the dam was finished in 1935, and was in use until 1961. The tracks were dismantled in 1962 and the site was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The trail ends at the parking garage next to the dam’s visitor’s center. From there you get a great view of the new Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River just south of the dam.
Below is a pathway you use to access a pedestrian walkway on the new bridge. There is a set of stairs on the left side that you can use or you can take the long pathway up the side of the hill through a series of switchbacks.
From the new bridge you get a fantastic view of the Hoover Dam with a bit of Lake Mead in the background. In the lower left you can just see the parking garage use in the earlier picture.
The round-trip distance for the entire hike was just over nine miles. But for two youthful hikers it was just a “walk in the park.” Later that evening the girls again left the guy with the bad back alone and headed out to see the “Strip” at night.
But that’s for another blog . . .