Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail Near Lake Mead, Nevada

Do this trail early in the summer if you’re going to do it at all – it gets HOT in Nevada! My friend Karla and I decided to do this trail, starting just after 6am. That was a good call since the overnight low the previous night was a blistering 90 degrees. Not exactly a cool night, if you ask me. This trail is about 9 miles if you decide to do the whole thing, but we turned back far before the end since it was already heating up!

The Beta

This trail is 8.5 miles total with just under 1000 feet of elevation gain. There are many starting and endpoints, so you can begin or end this trail wherever you like. The longest way to do this trail has you start at the traditional trailhead, which is well-marked. Karla had insisted we start at Dotty’s Casino, so we knocked off a little bit of the trail that way.

Quick Beta

  • Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 931 ft
  • Highest Point:
  • Best time to visit: Late September through mid-May, early June
  • Total hiking time: 1-2.5 hours
  • Number of Lakes: 1, Lake Mead, from a distance
  • Kid-friendly: Yes.
  • Dog-friendly: Yes, off-leash in some areas.
  • Gear I brought: a small backpack with lots of water. WATER! Sunglasses, hat, camera, some food, sunscreen.
One of the six tunnels you’ll walk through on this trail!

The hike

From the casino, the trail follows a wide pathway, and in the morning, is mostly flat and shaded. It eventually turns downhill for a short period to meet up with the traditional trailhead route. From here, the trail is again flat and continues for the rest of the trail. You’ll enter a series of tall tunnels used for trains! These are a great place to cool off during the trail, although we didn’t get much heat relief in the 1.5 hours or so we were on the trail.

Hadn’t seen her for a year and we picked up right where we left off!
The tunnels seem pretty close to each other. We didn’t do all of them, but they sure were impressive!

Need to Know

In the summertime, this trail is HOT and EXPOSED. There is no shade on this trail. Be sure to wear proper sun protection including long-sleeved attire, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. You will get burned otherwise.

This is a multi-purpose trail. We walked past bikers, hikers, and hikers with dogs. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings, and always keep your head up! Some of the bikers didn’t have bells but luckily were in front of us so we could see them coming.

We found a cool viewpoint after the 3rd tunnel. Lake Mead is beautiful!
Karla in front of Lake Mead. Behind her, a marina keeps watch.

Justin’s Suggestion

Do this hike early in the morning light. You’ll avoid most people, have cooler temperatures, have shade for the first part of the hike, and have the trail mostly to yourself. The earlier you begin this hike, the better! If you’re able, park a car at either end of the trail and do it as a thru-hike so you can hike the whole trail without being totally exposed to the sun.

Lake Mead from the hike!
We were so hot at this point…this is where we decided to turn around!

Take A Hike!

Take a walk! This trail is a good one to do early in the morning. I would never attempt it later than 7am in the morning. It would just be far too hot by then! At that point, you’d want to roll down to Lake Mead and cool off in the water. Believe me! Make sure you check out this viewpoint of Lake Mead. I got one of my best shots ever down there! And, the Hoover dam is nearby…I heard some beavers got ambitious??!?

See you on the next one!

Parting shot:

And the laughs continued on this trail. It’s always awesome to catch up with friends I don’t see much anymore!

Next blog: More Nevada. Then, Capitol Reef.

2 thoughts on “Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail Near Lake Mead, Nevada

  1. I had the opportunity to stop by Lake Mead during my stay in Las Vegas last fall, but it didn’t interest me to go. What a shame, though, as it’s gorgeous! Especially in that soft, golden sunrise hour. Will need to check it out whenever I return to Nevada!

    PS You are certainly one talented portrait photographer! Care to be my personal picture-taker? 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh nooo!! That’s always the worst realization, right?? It gives you a reason to go back, which is awesome. You definitely should give it a try!

      If you’re ever in the area, portraits are my forte – it’s how I started photography, and it’s definitely my most carefully created type of photo. I’d be glad to! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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