Goldstrike Canyon (Goldstrike and Nevada Hot Springs)

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Gold Strike Canyon
(Fig. 02)
Directions: This hike is located along Highway 93 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 1 hour southeast of downtown Las Vegas. From town, drive out to Lake Mead. From the intersection of Highway 93 and Lakeshore Road, drive south on Highway 93 towards Hoover Dam. About 0.3 miles past the Hacienda Casino (formerly called the Goldstrike Casino), exit right at the first off-ramp on the new highway (Hwy Exit #2 to Hoover Dam) (refer to Fig. 02). At the end of the off-ramp, jog to the right, then left onto a dirt access road down into the bottom of the canyon. Drive down the graded dirt road for another half-mile to the end of the road. Park here; this is the trailhead (Fig. 02).
Trail Description: This moderately strenuous hike runs down a narrow, rocky canyon to a series of hot springs and several hot pools. Going out (down), most of the route is fairly easy as it descends about 600 feet in about 2 miles to the Goldstrike Hot Springs. That said, there are several sections that require some 3rd-class scrambling, six of which have fixed ropes to assist getting over and around some large, slippery boulders, a couple of which are much easier to climb down than up on the return. Once you reach the Goldstrike Hot Springs, it is roughly another half mile of tough scrambling (more fixed ropes) down to Nevada Hot Springs and the Colorado River. Water temperatures in the pools range from about 85-105°F, and water emerging from the rocks is as high as 122°F, with the temperatures of the Nevada Hot Springs being the hottest.
(Fig. 03)
Trip Notes for 03/05/2014: A short distance from the trailhead at the parking area the trail jogs left and takes you nearly under Hwy 93 (Fig. 04) as it heads towards the bypass bridge. From here it turns south and begins winding its way down the wash in a southwest direction. As we wound our way down the first mile or so we passed the remnants of a couple of old cars (Fig. 03) that must have come down from the high cliffs above. Though the hike down was relatively easy (Fig. 05), the 879 foot elevation gain on the way back up was a bitch. The further you go, the more the canyon becomes choked with house-sized boulders that you have to climb around. Even though people have cut footsteps and left fixed ropes in some places to assist your maneuvering of the areas, such as the first “fixed rope” shown in (Figs. 06a, 06b, 06c), it still qualifies as 3rd-class scrambling. This, and the fixed rope in (Figs. 07a, 07b, 07c) are the only two roping areas needed to get to the Goldstreak Hot Springs (Fig. 02). Once we reached the Goldstreak Hot Springs (Figs. 01 and 08), the remainder of the hike and wash was filled with a relatively fast moving stream of water that created several small waterfalls and pools (Figs. 09-12). (more below)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 017
(Fig. 06a)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 018
(Fig. 06b)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 019
(Fig. 06c)
(Fig. 07a)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 028
(Fig. 07b)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 027
(Fig. 07c)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)

From this point forward, until you reach the Nevada Hot Springs, there are several places where the canyon is choked with house-sized boulders (Fig. 13) that you have to either climb around or repel up or down. The bolder for this third fixed rope area is extremely slippery. Even though we did a “butt slide” (Fig. 14) on the way down, we both opted to get a little wet climbing up the waterfall next to it on the right (Fig. 15) on the return. Though not in any particular order, the pictures in (Figs. 16a, 16b, 16c), (Fig. 17), (Fig. 18a, 18b), (Fig. 19) , show the four remaining rope climbs needed in order to reach the Nevada Hot Springs. (More below)
(Fig. 13)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 054
(Fig. 14)
(Fig. 15)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 024
(Fig. 16a)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 025
(Fig. 16b)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 026
(Fig. 16c)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 049
(Fig. 17)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 064
(Fig. 18a)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 063
(Fig. 18b)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 030
(Fig. 19)
Once we reached the Nevada Hot Springs, the canyon was spectacular. The cliff-side on the south side of the canyon was aglow with dozens of multi-colored minerals and algae (Fig. 20) created by the water (and small waterfall) streaming (Fig. 21) from the rocks above. From here we also got our first peek of the Colorado River below (Fig. 22). At the bottom of the canyon (Fig. 23), now 879 feet below the trailhead, the water from all of these springs fed into the Colorado River (Fig. 24). A major disappointment was the fact that the water in the river was so high based upon recent releases to California from Lake Meade. Normally the route pops out onto a small gravel beach at the edge of the Colorado River, where the rock visible in (Fig. 25) would have been reachable by walking the beach. Unfortunately for us, today it would have required wading more than waist deep to reach. We spent some time here having lunch, taking pictures of the vegetation (Figs. 26 thru 28), and talking with other hikers before beginning the 2.5 mile uphill hike back to the trailhead. I must admit that I found the return hike to be quite difficult. On one of the rope climbs, I ended up loosing my footing and twisting around right into a waterfall. I was totally drenched. At another climb I decided to twist around and go over the top backwards (Figs. 29 thru 31) – mistake! At the very top I lost footing and was almost unable to make the final push up and over. After I got up, I was such a mess, Harvey insisted on a picture (Fig. 32). Without the help of Harvey and some fellow hikers, I not sure I would have made it back. Needless to say that by the time we reached the parking area, I was totally spent.
(Fig. 20)
(Fig. 21)
(Fig. 22)
(Fig. 23)
(Fig. 24)
(Fig. 25)
(Fig. 26)
(Fig. 27)
(Fig. 28)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 100
(Fig. 29)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 103
(Fig. 30)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 104
(Fig. 31)
EFP-Nevada Hot Springs 105
(Fig. 32)