Historic Railroad Trail In Nevada

Here is everything you need to know about the Historic Railroad Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Nevada
  • Length: 3.74 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/hikerr.htm

The Historic Railroad Trail, located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Las Vegas, Nevada, holds a significant place in the region’s history. The trail follows the path of the former Hoover Dam Railroad, which was constructed in the 1930s to transport supplies and materials during the construction of the Hoover Dam. This railroad played a crucial role in the development of the dam, which was a monumental engineering project of its time.

The construction of the Hoover Dam began in 1931 and required an enormous amount of materials and equipment to be transported to the remote construction site. To facilitate this, the Six Companies, Inc., the consortium responsible for building the dam, constructed a railroad line that connected the dam site to the Union Pacific Railroad in Las Vegas. The Hoover Dam Railroad, as it was initially known, was a vital transportation link, enabling the efficient movement of construction materials, machinery, and workers.

The railroad was built along the rugged terrain of the Black Canyon, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It featured six tunnels carved through the mountains, which were necessary to navigate the challenging topography. The construction of these tunnels was a remarkable engineering feat, considering the limited technology available at the time. The railroad operated until 1961 when it was decommissioned after the completion of the dam.

Today, the Historic Railroad Trail preserves this important piece of history, allowing visitors to walk or bike along the same path that once served as a lifeline for the Hoover Dam construction. The trail offers a unique opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring scenery and appreciate the engineering marvels of the past. As visitors traverse the trail, they can still see remnants of the railroad, including old railroad ties, tunnels, and historic structures, providing a tangible connection to the region’s rich history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Alan Bible Visitor Center: This is the starting point of the Historic Railroad Trail. It is located at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and provides information about the trail and its history.

2. Railroad Pass Trailhead: This access point is located near the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino. It offers parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

3. Hoover Dam Parking Garage: This access point is located near the Hoover Dam Visitor Center. It provides parking facilities for visitors who want to explore the Historic Railroad Trail.

4. Boulder Beach: This access point is located near Boulder Beach at Lake Mead. It offers parking facilities and is a convenient starting point for those who want to enjoy the trail and the beach.

5. Lake Mead Marina: This access point is located near the Lake Mead Marina. It provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for boaters and hikers.

6. Railroad Pass Casino: This access point is located near the Railroad Pass Casino. It offers parking facilities and is a convenient starting point for those who want to explore the trail.

7. Alan Bible Trailhead: This access point is located near the Alan Bible Visitor Center. It provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

8. Hoover Dam Lodge: This access point is located near the Hoover Dam Lodge. It offers parking facilities and is a convenient starting point for those who want to explore the trail.

9. Lake Mead RV Village: This access point is located near the Lake Mead RV Village. It provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for campers and hikers.

10. Hacienda Hotel: This access point is located near the Hacienda Hotel. It offers parking facilities and is a convenient starting point for those who want to enjoy the trail and the hotel amenities.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service connecting passengers with drivers.
3. Taxi – Traditional taxi service for convenient transportation.
4. RTC Transit – Public bus service offering transportation options.
5. Bike Share – Bike rental service for exploring the area on two wheels.
6. Rental Car – Car rental service for independent travel.
7. Shuttle Service – Scheduled shuttle service for convenient transportation.
8. Limousine Service – Luxury transportation service for special occasions.
9. Trolley – Historic trolley service for a unique transportation experience.
10. Pedicab – Bicycle-powered taxi service for short-distance travel.


The amenities available at the Historic Railroad Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead and along the trail.

2. Parking: There is a designated parking area at the trailhead for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The Historic Railroad Trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there are nearby campgrounds and RV parks where visitors can stay overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic tables and shaded areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a picnic.

5. Water Stations: There are water stations available at the trailhead and along the trail for visitors to refill their water bottles.

6. Interpretive Signs: The trail features interpretive signs that provide information about the history and significance of the railroad.

7. Benches: There are benches placed at various points along the trail for visitors to rest and enjoy the scenic views.

8. Bike Racks: Bike racks are available at the trailhead for visitors who wish to ride their bicycles to the trail.

9. Dog-Friendly: The Historic Railroad Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their leashed dogs along for the hike.

10. Accessibility: The trail is wheelchair accessible, with paved paths and ramps for easy navigation.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change, so it is advisable to check with the trail management or official sources for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Boulder City Hotel – A nearby lodging option in Boulder City, offering comfortable accommodations.
2. Hoover Dam Lodge – Located near the trail, this lodge provides lodging and various amenities.
3. Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino – A hotel and casino situated close to the Historic Railroad Trail.
4. Chilly Jilly’z Bakery & Cafe – A local eatery serving delicious baked goods and cafe-style food.
5. The Dillinger Food & Drinkery – A restaurant and bar in Boulder City, offering a diverse menu.
6. Boulder Dam Brewing Co. – A brewpub with a range of craft beers and pub-style food.
7. Boulder City Hospital – The local hospital providing emergency medical services.
8. Boulder City Police Department – The local police department offering emergency services and assistance.

Historic Railroad Trail Difficulty Notes

The Historic Railroad Trail offers a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for most hikers. The trail spans approximately 7.5 miles round trip and features a relatively flat terrain with a gradual incline. While there are some rocky sections and uneven surfaces, they are generally manageable. The trail also provides stunning views of Lake Mead and the surrounding desert landscape, making it a rewarding experience for hikers of all skill levels. However, it is important to come prepared with proper footwear, water, and sun protection, as the trail can be exposed to the elements.

Features And Attractions

The Historic Railroad Trail, located in Nevada, offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. Hoover Dam: The trail starts near the Hoover Dam, an iconic engineering marvel and a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the dam and learn about its history.

2. Lake Mead: As you walk along the trail, you’ll have beautiful views of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. The lake is surrounded by desert landscapes and offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water activities.

3. Boulder Beach: Located within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder Beach is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the lake. It’s a great place to take a break during your hike.

4. Railroad Tunnels: The trail passes through five historic railroad tunnels that were once part of the Hoover Dam construction project. These tunnels offer a unique experience as you walk through them, providing a glimpse into the area’s history.

5. Painted Desert: As you continue along the trail, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Painted Desert. This colorful landscape features vibrant rock formations and desert vegetation, creating a picturesque backdrop.

6. Arizona Hot Springs: For those looking for a more adventurous experience, a short detour from the trail leads to the Arizona Hot Springs. These natural hot springs offer a relaxing soak in a beautiful desert setting.

7. Historic Railroad Bridge: Towards the end of the trail, you’ll come across the Historic Railroad Bridge, which spans the Colorado River. This bridge played a crucial role in transporting materials during the construction of the Hoover Dam.

8. Wildlife: Throughout the trail, keep an eye out for various wildlife species that call the area home. You may spot desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, lizards, and a variety of bird species.

These are just a few of the highlights along the Historic Railroad Trail. The trail offers a unique combination of history, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities, making it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Historic Railroad Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
3. Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs, are not permitted on the trail.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed along the trail.
5. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
6. Littering is not allowed; please dispose of trash in designated bins.
7. Fishing is allowed in designated areas, following state fishing regulations.
8. Swimming or wading in Lake Mead is not permitted from the trail.
9. The trail is open year-round, but visitors should be prepared for extreme temperatures during summer months.
10. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the designated trail and not venture off into restricted areas.
11. Please respect the historical significance of the trail and do not remove or damage any artifacts or structures.
12. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and should be aware of potential hazards such as uneven terrain and wildlife.
13. Bicyclists should wear helmets and follow all traffic laws.
14. The trail is open from dawn to dusk; overnight use is not permitted.
15. Visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as there are limited shade areas along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Historic Railroad Trail, located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Las Vegas, offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the remnants of a historic railroad route that once connected Boulder City to the Hoover Dam. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are particularly ideal for visiting.

One of the best times to visit the Historic Railroad Trail is during the spring season, from March to May. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit (20s to 30s Celsius). The surrounding desert landscape comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for your hike or bike ride along the trail. Springtime also offers the advantage of fewer crowds, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility and history of the area.

Another great time to visit is in the fall, from September to November. The scorching summer heat starts to subside, and temperatures become more comfortable, ranging from the 70s to the 90s Fahrenheit (20s to 30s Celsius). The fall season brings stunning sunsets and cooler evenings, making it an ideal time for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride along the trail. The changing colors of the surrounding foliage add a touch of beauty to the already captivating landscape.

It’s important to note that the Historic Railroad Trail may have seasonal closures due to extreme weather conditions. During the summer months, from June to August, temperatures can soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), making it unsafe for outdoor activities. Additionally, flash floods can occur during the monsoon season, typically from July to September, leading to temporary closures for visitor safety. It’s always recommended to check the Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s website or contact the park rangers for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Historic Railroad Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the landscape is at its most beautiful. However, it’s crucial to stay informed about any seasonal closures or extreme weather conditions that may affect your visit. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a unique outdoor experience, the Historic Railroad Trail offers a fascinating journey through time and a chance to appreciate the natural wonders of the Lake Mead area.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead of the Historic Railroad Trail is wheelchair accessible, allowing easy entry onto the trail for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Paved Surface: The trail features a paved surface, providing a smooth and even pathway for wheelchair users and those with mobility aids.
3. Wide Pathway: The trail offers a wide pathway, allowing ample space for wheelchair users to navigate comfortably alongside other trail users.
4. Gentle Slopes: The trail has gentle slopes, making it easier for wheelchair users to traverse without encountering steep inclines or declines.
5. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail includes benches and rest areas along the way, providing opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks and rest if needed.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available near the trail, ensuring individuals with disabilities have convenient facilities.
7. Handrails and Guardrails: The trail features handrails and guardrails in certain areas, providing additional support and safety for wheelchair users.
8. Accessible Parking: The trail offers accessible parking spaces near the trailhead, allowing individuals with disabilities to park conveniently.
9. Signage and Wayfinding: The trail is equipped with clear signage and wayfinding markers, ensuring wheelchair users can easily navigate the trail without confusion.
10. ADA-compliant Facilities: The Historic Railroad Trail meets the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for accessibility, ensuring equal access for all individuals.

Safety Information

1. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose sturdy shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky terrain safely.
2. Carry enough water: Due to the desert environment, it is crucial to bring an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated.
3. Use sunscreen: Protect your skin from the intense desert sun by applying sunscreen with a high SPF.
4. Watch out for wildlife: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the natural habitat of animals you may encounter.
5. Stay on the trail: Stick to the designated path to avoid getting lost or damaging the fragile ecosystem.
6. Be cautious of rattlesnakes: Keep an eye out for these venomous snakes and give them a wide berth if spotted.
7. Check weather conditions: Before embarking on the trail, check the weather forecast to avoid extreme heat or storms.
8. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans and expected return time.
9. Carry a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries by carrying a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids and antiseptic.
10. Respect historical artifacts: Do not disturb or remove any artifacts you may encounter along the trail, preserving the historical significance for others to enjoy.
11. Stay alert for cyclists: The Historic Railroad Trail is shared with cyclists, so be aware of their presence and give them space.
12. Pack snacks: Bring energy-boosting snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike.
13. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from potential insect bites by applying insect repellent before starting the trail.
14. Stay hydrated: Drink water regularly throughout the hike to prevent dehydration in the desert environment.
15. Carry a map or guide: Have a map or guidebook handy to navigate the trail and avoid getting lost.
16. Be mindful of the heat: Hike during cooler hours of the day and take breaks in shaded areas to avoid heat exhaustion.
17. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it, respecting the environment and other hikers.
18. Stay away from the edge: Exercise caution near the edges of cliffs or steep drops along the trail.
19. Hike with a buddy: It’s always safer to hike with a companion, especially in remote areas.
20. Follow any posted signs or warnings: Pay attention to any signs or warnings along the trail for your safety and the preservation of the area.

Conservation Notes

The Historic Railroad Trail, located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, holds a conservation status that is of significant importance. The trail, which spans approximately 3.7 miles, is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is managed by the National Park Service. Its conservation status is primarily focused on preserving the historical and cultural significance of the trail, as well as protecting the surrounding natural environment.

The Historic Railroad Trail was once a part of the Hoover Dam construction project, serving as a railway line to transport materials and workers during the 1930s. Today, the trail showcases remnants of this industrial history, including tunnels, railroad ties, and interpretive signs that provide visitors with insights into the area’s past. The conservation efforts aim to maintain and protect these historical features, ensuring that future generations can appreciate and learn from the trail’s unique heritage.

In terms of environmental conservation, the trail is situated within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is known for its diverse desert ecosystem. The conservation status of the Historic Railroad Trail focuses on minimizing human impact on the surrounding environment. Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated paths, follow Leave No Trace principles, and respect the natural habitat of the area’s flora and fauna. By promoting responsible outdoor recreation, the conservation efforts aim to preserve the fragile desert ecosystem and maintain the trail’s natural beauty for years to come.

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