River Mountains Loop Trail

 
Hiker walking on River Mountains Loop trail

Photo Credit: Andrew Cattoir

 

About This Trail

 

River Mountains Loop Trail surrounds the River Mountains connecting Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Hoover Dam, Henderson, Boulder City and the rest of the Las Vegas Valley.

  • Easy
  • Distance: 34 mi / 54.7 km
  • Elevation Change: 750 ft / 229 m
 

Find the Trail

 
Map of Historic Railroad Trail

Directions

The Historic Railroad Trailhead is located east of the Lake Mead Visitors Center on Lake Shore Road just off U.S. Highway 93. The alternate trailhead is located off Lake Mead Parkway just west of the entrance station.

Parking

With multiple access points, there are a number of parking options around the trail.

View full map

PDF (403 KB)

 
 

Information

The River Mountains Loop Trail Started in 1996 with 18 months of focus groups and shareholder meetings. These meetings were conducted by the National Park Service and the Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program. The River Trails partnership started out with 30 partner members. For the next sixteen years the group met each month to move forward with grant applications, planning and construction schedules. The completion of the full trail occurred in the Fall of 2012, with earlier segments dedicated in 2000 and 2001.

In 2010, the trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail.

The River Mountains Loop Trail is Nevada’s first endeavor of its kind. Constructed through a combined effort of many of Nevada’s resource management agencies, private land owners and citizens, this non-motorized trail will provide Nevada residents and out of state visitors with an outdoor loop trail offering scenic views, plentiful wildlife and the vast beauty only the Mojave Desert can offer.

Through Lake Mead National Recreation Area there is 16.7 miles of the 34-mile trail. Access to the trail can be found near the Lake Mead Parkway entrance and on the southern part of the trail at the Pacifica Trail head near the intersection of Pacifica Way and I-93, just inside Boulder City limits. Within the park, the trail mostly follows Lakeshore Road with several parking/access areas along the route.

The trail is solely for walking, biking and in some places horseback riding. Automobiles and other motorized vehicles are not allowed.

This trail description starts from the southern end of the trail at the Pacifica Trail head.

The trail winds it's way through the park along the southern portion following the Historic Railroad Trail.

As you travel north from the southern entrance you pass the Boulder Harbor Entrance Station to your left and Las Vegas Boat Harbor/Lake Mead Marina to your right. After a few miles you come up to the Lake Mead RV Village, Boulder Beach campground, picnic area and ranger station. Continuing on you will pass to your left, the now closed Lake Mead Lodge, where once movie stars and politicians relaxed near the lake. A little further on, to your left, you will see some employee housing in the Park.

The next feature along the trail is Boulder Harbor to your right. Next to Boulder Beach you can see two prominent geologic points, Pyramid Island and Saddle Island, which are also no longer islands. During the highest point of lake levels these two land areas were surrounded by water.

Continuing north the trail makes a right and follows the property line of the water treatment plant and construction area for the "Third Straw", a water project to allow Las Vegas to keep it's connection to the water in Lake Mead as the lake levels lower. This location is also the lowest point along the 34 mile route of the River Mountains Loop Trail at 1,217 feet.

Our next feature is the Lake Mead Fish Hatchery, now closed. For years this facility raised a variety of fish to stock the lake. Once you near the hatchery you will see the trail goes through a small tunnel under Lakeshore Road. The rest of the trip follows Lakeshore Road and eventually heads away from the lake through rolling country side.

The end of the Lake Mead portion of the trail is located near the Lake Mead Parkway entrance to the park. You are encouraged to keep riding the remainder of the trail through Henderson and eventually back to Boulder City.

Some of the original partners involved in the building of the trail were:

Federal Partners:
National Park Service-Lake Mead NRA
Bureau of Reclamation
Bureau of Land Management
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Local Governments:
City of Boulder City
City of Henderson
City of Las Vegas
Clark County

Businesses and Corporations:
Lake Las Vegas Resort
NV Energy
The Landwell Company
Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino
Southwest Gas

Regional Agencies:
Southern Nevada Water Authority
Regional Transportation Commission of Clark County
Conservation District of Southern Nevada

Last updated: September 2, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

601 Nevada Way
Boulder City, NV 89005

Phone:

(702) 293-8990

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