The River Mountains Loop Trail is all about connections. Not who you know, but trail connections. I like to think of the RMLT as a hub in a bike wheel, only this hub is 34-miles around. A bike wheel has many many spokes and the RMLT has many trail connections going other places. My favorite connection is to Hoover Dam via the Historic Railroad Trail. This is a landmark trail connection one worthy of national recognition.
The Historic Railroad Trail follows the railroad bed used by the Sixes Company in the 1930’s to build Hoover Dam. Actually 3.5-miles of the River Mountains Loop Trail from Boulder City downhill to the Alan Bible Visitor Center also follows the old railroad grade providing great views of Lake Mead and the Henemway drainage. The trail-head just below the visitor center serves as a trail-head for both the Historic Railroad Trail and the River Mountains Loop Trail. The Railroad trail is not paved, but composed of native material and the original roadbed from the railroad. It follows a very gentle grade east to Hoover Dam passing through five (5) large tunnels and providing fantastic views of our ever changing Lake Mead. The trail is just a little over 4-miles one-way to the Hoover Dam visitor parking garage. The final connection to Hoover Dam was completed and dedicated in the fall 0f October 2007.
Extending the Historic Railroad Trail to the Dam has been in progress since the late 1990’s. The opening of tunnel #5 and securing the tunnel walls was a multi-year project. This was followed by a BOR project to build a trail into the canyon walls above the parking garage. Then construction of the Hoover Dam by-pass delayed construction of the piece connecting the tunnel #5 to the dam. Finally completed, we held a celebration on October 19, 2007 to dedicate and open for public use all of the Historic Railroad Trail. Today you can get on the RMLT in Boulder City or in Henderson near Lake Las Vegas and ride all the way to the Dam non-stop. In fall of 2010 you could ride from anywhere in Henderson via the River Mountains Loop Trail to Hoover Dam. Best “Dam Trail” connection in the Nation.
For more history on the Historic Rail Road Trail and River Mountains Loop Trail check out the page named “Lawler Junction“.