Trains, Walks

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m a walker. I love to throw on a pair of shoes and explore something new. So, when my cousin invited us to come visit her and her husband in Las Vegas, she suggested a “nice, easy hike” on Saturday. I said yes without even asking Greg. Luckily, he was game. 

We dropped the top on the car on a beautiful sunny Friday and headed north. We pulled into her garage mid-afternoon, hugged hello and the chatting began. We caught up on our families through dinner and into the night. It was a mini reunion.

The trail stretches across the desert and into the mountains.

Saturday dawned with a forecast of partly sunny skies and moderate temperatures. We were warned to expect wind at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, where we planned to explore the Historic Rail Trail … just over five miles round-trip.

Rock formations along the edge of the trail.

The converted railway is super flat and super wide, so it’s an easy walk with spectacular views. 

There are several information signs along the trail.

Along the way, we learned it’s also the only section of the Hoover Dam railway that was not submerged when the dam created Lake Mead. 

Even though the parking lot was packed, the trail didn’t seem crowded.

The National Park Service website says the trail is large enough to ride a bike, push a stroller and walk a dog … and it’s correct. We saw lots of people out enjoying the breezes as they passed through the five tunnels on the trail. 

Greg is dwarfed by the huge tunnel.

Speaking of the tunnels, they are HUGE! Construction of the dam involved hauling a lot of equipment in, so the tunnels are 25 feet in diameter. 

Caves tucked into the rocks.

As we walked along, it was amazing to get up close to the rock formations and foliage of this high desert. 

The first view of the lake from the trail.

The trail itself is a terrific overlook to view Lake Mead and its harbor. We marveled at the scene and discussed how low the water was as we strolled through the tunnels. 

These giant concrete discs were discarded in the ravine below.

Along the way, markers point out a few sites … like the concrete plugs pushed into the ravine just before the first tunnel. They were removed from the dam to install turbines.

Sadly, vandals left their mark on this giant timber.

The tunnels are now reinforced with giant timbers.

Shotcrete reinforces the loose rock.

Shotcrete has been sprayed on some of the rock to fortify the looser rock.

We marveled at this little tree’s resilience.

The trail continues all the way to Hoover Dam once you pass the fifth tunnel, but we turned around at that point and made our way back to our car. 

Clouds on the far side of the lake.

The wind picked up and some clouds moved in. We could see it was trying to rain on the far side of the lake. 

The light at the end of the tunnel is sunshine.

If you’re ever in Las Vegas and looking for a break from the neon lights and noise of the casinos and crowds, the trail is 20 minutes away.

There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Get out into nature once in a while and check it out.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2021 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

1 thought on “The Light at the End of the Tunnel”

  1. It was a lovely walk indeed. There are so many more sites to see a short drive from Vegas. Next time we’ll go somewhere different! Got your steps in though! Great narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

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