Time’s running out to hike this amazing hot springs trail near Las Vegas

Las Vegas visitors who like a challenge will find rejuvenating hot springs, spectacular vistas and, right now, abundant wildflowers on an arduous hiking trail along the banks of the Colorado River that’s about an hour’s drive east of the Strip. Go now if you want to catch spring because the trail closes in mid-May and doesn’t reopen until September.

The Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail near Hoover Dam is a challenging 6-mile out-and-back route that descends nearly 1,500 feet through steep and narrow crevasses. Rated as “difficult” on hiking websites, the trail has fixed ropes in places to help skilled hikers navigate the passages.

Even though thousands of people visit Hoover Dam each day, few are aware of the nearby hiking trail that leads intrepid, experienced hikers to the river. Climbers may need to use rope. Allow three to four hours of hiking time each way.

The scenery is stunning. Red and gold wildflowers are picture-perfect in spring, as are the canyon walls, on which colorful algae flourish. (They are a byproduct of the hot spring water that flows over the rock.) Hikers may even spot some of the nimble-footed bighorn sheep that make climbing look easy.

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