Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Historic Five Tunnels Railroad Hiking Trail

If you like hiking, biking, history, or railroads, you’ll enjoy the Railroad Hiking Trail at Lake Mead. Hikers and bikers will appreciate the trail’s level surface (a rare find in these parts). History buffs will appreciate walking the same route that the trains traveled as they ferried supplies to Boulder Dam’s construction site—in 1931, trains and railroads were the only feasible way to transport the massive amounts of materials needed to build the dam. And if you are a lover of railroads… well, you are in luck. Either before or after your hike, make sure to stop in Boulder City to visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum on Yucca Street where you can view and ride historic trains.

Since it’s still a little warm for hiking in desert, it’s best to do the Railroad Trail early. (You can also wait a couple of months so the heat won’t be an issue.) My poor son said I “tormented” him because he thought it was just too warm to hike. Personally, I think the problem has more to do with his love of the sofa. The trail originally ended at the last tunnel, but now extends all the way to Hoover Dam. We didn’t make it that far. My Drill Sergeant Mom approach got my griping hiker past the fifth tunnel, but when I surveyed the trail down to the dam, I knew that I’d be listening to Level 5 Complaining if we continued.

Bring water and sunscreen to hike the Railroad Trail; binoculars would also be good to have. From the vantage point of the trail, Lake Mead’s low levels are painfully obvious. You can also see two relocated marinas from the trail. From the trailhead to the fifth tunnel is approximately a five-mile round trip.
Photo Information: My photos of the Railroad Trail.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. The photos were great. This, along with the water calrification tank (shown in your lake photos) is one of the tangible structures that allows one to touch the history of the construction of Hoover Dam. The last part of the hike to the dam passes the site of the Babcock-Wilcox penstock plant (near the present park service wherehouse) and where the trains went along the side of hill at the parking lot structure. Some of the concrete supports for the trestle can still be seen from the parking lot at the dam. Keep up the good work.

TH Meeks said...

Thank you for stopping by the blog, and especially for the additional info. Thanks for reading!