The River Mountains Loop Trail
"A Long, Long Trail A-Windin'"
by Ken Trompeter
35 miles or so, as the crow flies. And a decade or more as time flies.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area recently authorized the final design for over 17 miles of paved Shared Use Path and almost 3 miles of Equestrian Trail within the Park boundaries. This represents about one-half of the total length of the trail around the River Mountains, and, when constructed this year - the dedication is tentatively scheduled for October, 2006 - will fulfill the National Park Service’s commitment to the River Mountains Trail Partnership.
The River Mountains Trail Partnership is a coalition of private, corporate and government entities with the goal of a multi-use trail around the entire River Mountains northwest of Boulder City. Segments have been built or are to be built by the National Park Service, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the City of Henderson and the City of Boulder City, with help from the State of Nevada Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management, among others.
Funding for the Project comes from Southern Nevada Public Lands management Act proceeds and grants from the State of Nevada.
The portion of the trail within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area begins at a Trailhead near the Park entrance on Lake Mead Parkway (near Lake Las Vegas). From there the 12 foot wide, paved Shared Use Path generally follows the alignment of a water line owned by the Basic Water Company to the old, abandoned Lakeshore Drive in the vicinity of Las Vegas Wash Marina. It then follows the old Lakeshore Drive to a spot near the Lake Mead Fish Hatchery. The trail then passes around the south end of the Southern Nevada Water System’s Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Facility and follows Lakeshore Drive past the Lake Mead Marina, Boulder Beach Campground to a Trailhead near the Alan Bible Visitor’s Center. Finally, the trail follows the old railroad bed, winding up through Hemenway Valley to a Trailhead at Pacifica Way and Highway 95. 91,585 feet, or 17.34 miles, including 2.9 miles of graveled Equestrian trail between Lake Mead Parkway and Las Vegas Wash Marine area.
Parking and rest room facilities are available at the Trailheads, and the trail approaches Lakeshore Road at several places where one’s hike/bike trip could be shortened. The entire trail within the Park is designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, so slopes are limited. Also, the National Park Service directed that the design “lie lightly on the land,” so earthwork is minimized, existing disturbed areas are utilized, and the entire work area is revegetated with native topsoil containing the plant species present along the right-of-way.
By next fall, the trail will be ready for long walks or short walks, long rides or short rides, wildflower viewing (come springtime of course), lake viewing, mountain viewing and just general use and enjoyment.
Ken Trompeter is a former Senior Project Manager with HDR Engineering, the design consultant for the Project, and a long-time Boulder City resident.