Natural Hot Springs
Did you know Nevada is home to over 300 hot springs? This month’s hike takes you to one of the best hot springs in Nevada. It’s located near Hoover Dam and it’s a great hike during the cooler months.
Note: This hike is closed during Summer months.
Hiking Tip of the Month
This is the time of year you need to dress in layers to keep comfortable. Clothing helps you stay dry and warm. How do you prevent becoming chilled? Wear layers of clothing. The secret to layering is combining the correct clothing in the proper order. Done correctly layers trap air warmed by your body heat while wicking moisture away from your skin.
The first layer (the one closest to your skin) will wick moisture away from your skin while trapping body heat. Any of the wicking fabrics found under the trade names Thermax or Coolmax work well. They come in different thicknesses. The colder the climate, the thicker the material you will want.
The middle layer acts as insulation. Fleece sweats, polypro pullovers, or a long-sleeved flannel shirt are good choices. The middle layer can be more than one item of clothing.
The final layer stops the wind. A windbreaker is fine in Las Vegas, except during winter months in Mt. Charleston. Jackets made from GORE-TEX are recommended during winter in cold climates or at high elevation.
If you become hot, simply peel some of the layers. If you become cold, add layers. It’s really as simple as that.
Hike of the Month
Hike: Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs —
up and back
Trailhead: End of road 75 A —
trailhead is not marked
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Elevation gain: minus 800 feet
Time: 2 hours plus time spent at the hot springs
How easy to follow: 2
Driving Directions: From the Mirage on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) go north and turn left (west) onto Sahara. In less than one mile, turn right (north) onto I-15. Take I-15 two miles to Highway 93/95. Go south on 93/95 about 23 miles to Boulder City. Make a left at the second stop light onto south 93 (also called the 93 truck route). About 0.3 miles past the Hacienda Casino, exit right at the first off-ramp on the new highway (Hwy Exit #2 to Hoover Dam). At the end of the off-ramp, veer right, then left and down the graded dirt road for another half-mile to the end of the road (Site 819). A passenger car can drive to the trailhead.
Comments: This is a visually stunning hike. The wash travels between deep canyon walls and weaves around waterfalls. The boulders can be slippery. Although, it’s possible to hike all the way to the Colorado River, my route description stops at the first hot springs.
There’s no way to get lost once in the wash and there are many ways down the dry and wet falls. Green arrows painted on rocks mark the route. Since the hot springs are in an open area, it’s best to have your swimsuit on underneath your hiking clothes.
The Hike: From the trailhead the wash heads east with a gentle decline. Soon you’re walking between 100-foot high canyon walls with incredible rock formations around every turn. You’ll eventually come to the first dry falls. Follow the path that goes to the left and drop back into the wash once past the falls.
The first tricky dry fall has steps that have been chiseled into the boulder to aid your descent. The boulder is slippery. There is normally a rope to aid the descent.
When the canyon divides, stay in the main canyon. Soon you’ll see water in the wash. Continue hiking in the wash following the green arrows around the boulders and dry falls. In less than a half mile you’ll come to another tricky downclimb. There’s a rope here that is needed. The rock is very slippery. Once down there’s a hotsprings at the bottom. It has room enough for about a half a dozen people.
The water is very warm, perfect for soothing sore muscles. Even when the temperature in the early parts of the canyon is cold, the hot springs warm the air around it.
To Return: Retrace your steps. If your boots are wet, be careful of slipping. If in doubt about the return trip, just follow the numerous footprints.
You can download the complete hike description with the photos for free:
Looking to join an advance hiking group? The 52 Peak Club is your answer. More information here: http://www.52peakclub.com/
Branch’s bio here: