Lake Mead - Arizona Hot Spring

This is the third of three days spent around Las Vegas doing non-Vegas things.

For a good overview, see the U.S. National Park Service page: Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Arizona Hot Spring.


Drive from sleeps to the trailhead via US-95 and US-93 through Boulder City was uneventful. There was 10 minutes of delay in Boulder City at the left turn to stay on US-93.

Started from ~11:30am; returned to ~3:30pm. Spent ~60 minutes in the hot spring canyon. Spent ~30 minutes lunching in the last mile stretch. Comes out to be ~2.5 hours in motion. Most of us run 1-3 miles at least once a week.

Point forecast: 7 MILES SSE LAKE MEAD NV

Upper Hot Spring Canyon route

This is the least technical route and clocking at ~5 miles round trip, the shortest route.

I suggest looking over the NPS leaflet for this trail walk through to make more sense. Sources: or Google Drive mirror.

  1. After crossing under the US-93 over pass, head to the left, following the fence until you are on top of the flat access road.
  2. Continue on top of the burm, if you see trail signs, you are on the right track.
  3. In a short while you will see a hiking sign, pretty soon, the tracked down area will proceed down to the left into a wash, then back up onto another hill.
  4. If you have followed the path correctly, 15-20 minutes in you should spot where the upper and lower routes diverge. Proceed straight for the upper route.
  5. Once over the ridge, follow the immediate canyon down through a few more. The hard-pack trail is really easy to follow.
  6. You end up in the gravel wash where the lower route connects in. Make note of the cairn for the return trip.
  7. Follow the wash until you hear water and/or see half-naked people.

Hot Spring

Traversing the filled pools requires ginger foot-work and a tolerance of heat next to the vents. Bring water shoes or sandals if you have a low pain tolerance and want to keep your nostrils as far away from the amoeba as possible.

The best pools are on this side of the ladder, with a ruggedly romantic ambiance. If you are feeling adventurous like your guide, then portage your boots through the several feet deep pool, put them back on, and climb over the 20 feet drop-off on a slippery metal ladder.

I was able to jump, crab-walk, and lope my way down to the Colorado river without needing to take my boots off again. Absolutely beautiful. Well, maybe not the pit toilets down there!

Point forecast: 7 MILES E BOULDER CITY NV