Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Historic Railroad Trail

December 5, 2011 Lake Mead N.R.A.
Inside the park from the Boulder City entrance and just before the fee booths at Lake Mead Recreation Area is a parking area for the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail head.  It's a hike/ bike trail that follows part of the route that the railroads used to build the Hoover Dam.
Heading up to the tunnels to the left from the trail head parking lot
It's a gravel/ dirt trail that goes through 5 tunnels. It's only 3.7 miles from the trailhead to the dam parking lot.
A succession of two trails
The best thing about the trail is the beautiful views it provides of Lake Mead.
Lake Mead marina
Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail
family hiking through tunnels
Family hiking through railroad tunnels
Time Line & Facts
  • 1931: Lewis Construction Company began construction under Bureau of Reclamation.
  • 1961: Last year railroad in use.
  • 1962: Tracks dismantled and sold for scrap.
  • 1984: Nominated to National Register of Historic Places.
  • Length: 3.7 miles from trailhead to Hoover Dam Parking Garage. 
  • One of two most difficult sections of track to construct.
  • Only remaining section of Hoover Dam Railroad system that is not highly disturbed or under water.
  • All tunnels are approximately 300 ft. in length, and 25 ft in diameter. The tunnels were oversized to fit penstock sections and large equipment being transported to Hoover Dam.
  • Nine steam and four gas locomotives and 71 people were used to operate the system. It was a standard-gauge, 90-pound rail construction that used Oregon fir ties.
  • This section was used in the motion picture "The Gauntlet" starring Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke for a sequence in which they were on a motorcycle being chased by an assassin in a helicopter.

Joyce emerging from one of the 5 tunnels.
From the trail head parking lot the trail would only give us about 7 miles of bike riding. I wanted to ride further so, Paul rode with me from our campground to the trail head and Joyce rode back to the campground with me from the trail head for a total of about 17 miles. Riding up to the trail head there is a long grueling 8% grade on the bike path. However, it makes for a very fast return trip!
Bike path in the park.
We enjoyed our little excursion to the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail. It seems to be a very popular stop for the locals and it sees a lot of use. It's worth the stop if you have the time and need a scenic hike or a short bike ride.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying reading about your volunteering experiences, guys! I've got that bike trail marked in my camping log notebook for a future visit!