Place Worth Visiting: Historic Railroad Trail
Conservation Begins With Education and Inspiration
In an effort to promote conservation, The Green Chamber of Nevada will begin featuring some of the states most inspirational places to visit. They could be any where from breathtaking to historical value in our state. Education on the need for a greener, more sustainable future does not have to begin in a text book or pamphlet. There is an ancient bristle cone forest whose trees dates back 4,000 years old in Mt. Charleston, Nevada. Bringing a first time visitor here is sure to spark some appreciation for conservation. We want to create a community resource for educating and sharing the states most influential places for a greener future.
Historic Railroad Trail Has It All
The Green Chamber’s first Place Worth Visiting is the Historic Railroad Trail outside Hoover Dam. This trail has it all: an interesting history, great views of Lake Mead, easily accessible, was once in a movie with Clint Eastwood, and you get to pass through 5 train tunnels. With that many positives going for this trail, we thought it was a great Place Worth Visiting in Nevada.
Brief History of The Historic Railroad
The trail was first nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Just this year it was designated a National Historical Trail. Built in 1931, it was part of a railway system meant to support the construction of the Hoover Dam. 1961 was the last year it saw a train pass through its tunnels, and shortly after modified to what it is today. It was also in several chase scenes in the “Gauntlet” starring Clint Eastwood. This trail is truly a historical gem of the area.
Trail is For All Users Alike
This Nevada State trail is considered moderate and accessible, making it great for everyone. The trail head is but a few feet from the main parking lot, has restroom amenities and a great map posted. Should you need more, the Alan Bible Visitors Center is the first right before you enter the parking lot. The trail itself is hard packed small gravel and dirt, and is wide. It is great for hikers, bikers, joggers, or strollers as it maintains a flat grade all the way though. It runs about 3.7 miles one way, ending at the Hoover Dam parking garage.
The 5 train tunnels that you pass through offer a unique aspect to this trail. They are 25 feet in diameter, high to accommodate the large equipment brought in for the dam construction. In the summer these tunnels offer a nice relief from our desert sun or the sometimes whipping winds in the winter. There is a warning at the start of the trail to be advised of extreme temperatures in the summer. Because this trail is moderate, people underestimate the level of preparedness when hiking here. It can be up to ten degrees hotter than the Las Vegas Valley area. That is a huge difference when our lows are 110. So always bring ample water, and come prepared no matter your hiking experience.
Panoramas, Big-horned Sheep and (Maybe) Bats
The view is amazing. You see a great wide vista of Lake Mead, and even clear across to the Valley of Fire, as you wind in and out of the tunnels. The impressive view continues for the majority of the hike until you approach the damn.
Besides the panoramas of the lake, the trail offers a chance to see a variety of local residents. Starting with a wisdom of barn owls, red tail hawks and big horned sheep. Sometimes you can hear the sonar chirping of the pallid bats echoing in the tunnels as you walk through. Not to worry, they are harmless. If anything it inspires you to pick up the pace. It might be helpful to know that scorpions, another resident of this trail, are part of there diet.
A Trail for Everyone
The Green Chamber hopes people will put this Historic Trail on their list of places to go. This short drive from Las Vegas is a great way to spend an afternoon, and it does not cost a thing. For directions and greater details about the area please visit Bird and Hike, or the National Park Service. Bird and Hike is a great local site that offers great pictures showing you every step of the way, and other great trails that are sure to inspire. The National Park Service is also a helpful reference, for maps, park closures and regulations.
Please let us know if you go, we want to hear all about it! The Green Chamber asks that people share their experience, two-cents, photos or ask any questions about our Place Worth Visiting. Help us be a community resource!