Summary: Railroad tunnel trail is a small portion of the 30 mile long River Mtns trail system. A haven for mountain bikers is Bootleg Canyon, west of this tunnel trail -- a dream come true within a protected big horn sheep area, with views of the lake, valleys & peaks. This tunnel trail follows the elevated RR bed used to haul supplies used in construction of Hoover Dam 1931 - 1935. The tracks continued in use until 1961, dismantled in 1962, and added to Natl Register of Historic Places in 1984. Since converted to bicycle/hiking trail (no horses on this portion), it is a easy, level, wide gravel walk for tourists and beginners; hiking under 5 tunnels, which are each 300' long and 25' in diameter. The 5th tunnel was opened in 2001, and this trail will eventually go all the way to Hoover Dam. End of trail is located directly under the Lakeview Point scenic overlook (reached by Hwy 93, W of dam), just before the security checkpoint and maintenance yard. Dry & Hot !
Trailhead: Hike is located at Lake Mead, SE of the entry to Boulder Beach, between visitor's center & Hoover Dam. Reach the trailhead parking from the Las Vegas strip (Tropicana & LV Blvd.), I-15 S to 215 (southern beltway) heading E to Boulder City. Continue as the 215 joins the 93 & follow signs to Hoover Dam. Turn off for trailhead pkg is about 7 miles after you pass Railroad Pass Casino. Turn L towards the lake and park in paved parking on the R side BEFORE the park entry/fee gate. Driving from Henderson, take Lake Mead DRIVE to Lakeshore Road towards Boulder Beach. From North Las Vegas, take Lake Mead ROAD E (hwy 147), turn R at the stop sign just past the entry/fee gate. Continue S on Northshore Road until it turns L at Lakeshore Road to Boulder Beach. From Arizona, take 93 west and past Hoover Dam, turning R at Lake Mead entry. Closest motels/casinos are the Hacienda (2 mi) or Railroad Pass Casino (8 mi). If hiking in summer, be off the trail by 9 a.m. !! (Lat:36.01142 Lon:-114.7949)
Trail Guides for Railroad Tunnel Trail:
Lake Mead free map and Desert Lake View brochure
by National Park Service (Lake Mead National Rec Area)
River Mountains Loop Trail free map and brochure
by River Mtns Trail Partnership (River Mountains Trail Partnership)
Hiking Around Las Vegas
by Jim Boone (Jim L. Boone)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Lake Mead NRA (702) 293-8907, emerg (702) 293-8932 or (800) 680-5851
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kat Green, who has posted 86 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Shirley on 1/29/2015
My husband and I went on this trail yesterday with our two Corgis. What a beautiful trail, very scenic with views of Lake Mead. We parked at The Hoover Dam Lodge (the old Hacienda)over by the helicopter tours. There is a chain link fence that says "Hoover Dam Lodge Trailhead" take an immediate right and follow the trail down the hillside. You will come to the main trail, take another right. This is the closest route to all five railroad tunnels. We had an amazing time as did our Corgis! The trail is very easy and flat, except the short hike from the parking lot is downhill. This trail would be best hiked between late October to April. We are both in our 60's and this is now one of our favorite trails.
Reviewed by timaxnlaura on 1/4/2013
We took our hike on 1/3/13. We headed out at 10:15 am. We read and were told by park rangers that is about a 3 mile hike each way. It is a beautiful hike and with the mindset that was only 3 miles we took our time and took a lot of pictures. We went all the way to the Hoover Dam, had lunch, took a bunch of pictures and honestly were not looking forward to hike back. The hike out felt much more than 3 miles. I wish I had a pedometer but I can tell you from the top floor of the parking garage of the Hoover Dam back to the car without stopping and what was a good pace took us 1 hour and 15 minutes. We felt like we were getting in 15 minute miles which would put it between 4 1/2-5 miles if you actually plan to hike all the way to the Hoover
Reviewed by Richey on 3/5/2012
I had a blast. My dog had a blast. Will definitely take this trail again one day soon.
Reviewed by Bob on 2/9/2012
I just hiked to the first tunnel today, and while returning I saw a bighorn sheep about 50 yards from the trail. There were lots of hikers, one mountain biker, and a number of dogs (on leashes) on the trail. On the weekends, the parking lot is pretty full. Note that the vertical gain in the description is wrong. It's something over 300 feet. The 1360 ft number either has an extra leading one, or is the average elevation.
Reviewed by Sally on 1/7/2012
What a refreshing hike today . We started the hike around 8:30am and found it easy. The tunnels are exciting and saw bats in tunnel 3 only because a bat wing was hanging. That was cool . Since I went last May on this trail January is the best month to hike this as May is too hot and would never do in the summer . Hope everyone enjoys the hike as much as we did Enjoy !
Reviewed by Susan on 1/1/2012
We decided to venture out on the trail in the late afternoon about 3 weeks ago. It was 4:30 by the time we got to the first tunnel and was getting very cool so we decided to head back but not before taking a few pictures. I was standing just at the entrance to the first tunnel for a picture. When we downloaded this picture it appeared to have spots, we thought from water on the lens.......after closer examination it was obvious these were many Orbs and visible throughout the tunnel. The spots appreared in no other pictures. Can't wait to go back and say hi.
Reviewed by Jennifer on 5/18/2011
We took our bloodhound and hiked from the trailhead at the Hacienda Casino parking lot (thanks to another reviewer for that tip.) We went all the way to the Dam and back. It took about 2 hours. Great mix of easy flat stretches and some hills. The cooler weather this time of year was perfect! Make sure you bring enough water for you and your dog. :)
Reviewed by Elissa on 1/23/2011
Just did this trail for the first time...had 2- 4yr olds and 4 other kids with us...the high today was supposed to be 63? ..we definitely needed jackets for much of the way. We did as the first poster suggested and parked at The Hacienda. We did stop at tunnel 5 and turn around. We met a couple who had done it before and they said the next bit, to the dam took about an hour, and they left one car at the dam, and one car at The Hacienda. Smart! It took us an hour and a half to tunnel 5, and that was with a lot of stops for rock climbing. It took us an hour back. Beautiful scenery, lots of bicyclists and dogs. Very nice trail. I'd never do it in summer though!
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