Recently my brother and I took a family hike day to the Arizona Hot Springs Trail out past Boulder City.
It’s one of the most popular trails in this area in the fall and winter for good reason–the stunning views and the natural hot springs.
Other people have done an incredible job laying out how to find the trail, here to park, how long it is, etc. and I HIGHLY recommend reading about this hike before doing it any of the following places:
- Bird and Hike (love this website–one of the most detailed I’ve ever found for hikes around the Vegas area!)
- NPS Lake Mead Page, which also has info about local announcements, weather, etc. for Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- All Trails, which is a great resource for reader content and reviews of trails
In reading through those pages you’ll have a FANTASTIC overview of what to expect in terms of length (I’d plan a full day so you can enjoy and take your time), what times of year to go (like…you can’t go certain dates because the trail is closed for public safety) and how to find the trail.
That being said, here are a few things I would do differently next time (because isn’t hiking a learning process?!):
- I would bring a 2nd pair of shoes that could really get wet. You end up hiking through a good deal of water, and I wished I had brought water shoes or chacos or some kind of watery hiking shoe in addition to my hiking boots. It’s REALLY slippery so a pair of flip flops probably wouldn’t be the best, but some kind of water shoe.
- On the above note, I would have brought an extra pair of socks. Even if you have the 2nd pair of shoes/sandals, your feet end up getting wet when you change no matter how careful you are, and socks don’t take up much room!
- I would have worn my bathing suit or items that could dry quickly under my hiking layers. I ended up going in the hot springs in shorts and a sports top, which were okay, but going forward I would have worn different layers.
- I’d have brought a small towel. Even though it’s the desert and things dry out quickly, it would have been nice to be able to dry off with something other than one of my shirt layers!
- I would have brought some kind of electrolyte drink. It doesn’t need to be fancy, you can google home made recipes, but because you sweat ALOT and then you soak in hot water, and then after you soak and relax you still have a long hike back, I think it addition to all the water I took, next time I’ll bring some kind of replenishing drink. Or as my brother and I like to joke, “An elixir” (which is usually a frozen water bottle we make with fresh lemons, water, a small amount of sugar, salt, or some kind of electrolyte powder)
I’m a big believer in talking about what I learn and mistakes I make because we all do it!
Sure, I’d love to be one of those people that was like, “I was perfectly prepared for this hike and took it like a champ” but I’m not sure that will ever be the case for me.
I’ll always be learning, admitting the areas where it didn’t go totally as planned, and how I’ll take those lessons and apply them to the future.
Here are a few things I feel like we did right (because you gotta take the bad and the good together!):
- We left EARLY. We were at the trail head by 8am (that’s with getting a baby from one side of town to the other and driving an hour out to the trail head…I was up at 5:15am that morning and had prepped EVERYTHING the night before)
- I ate a substantial breakfast full of protein and drank a ton of water on the drive down
- We brought a good amount of food and water on the trail. Between us we had 9L of water, sandwiches, fruit, nuts, salty snacks, oatmeal cookies, cheese and crackers
- We told someone where we were going and when we would be back. There is NO cellphone service on this trail, and it can be dangerous in heat and that it’s so slippery, so this is one where I’d tell people, especially if going solo
- We stopped and went slow when we needed to. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it isn’t a race. On this trail my brother said in the first 10 minutes, “This trail can be deceptively long, let’s stop whenever we need to.” I’m SO GLAD he did, because in the long run it was so much more enjoyable not to strain ourselves trying to go quickly
How about you all? Anything you’ve learned on your travels and trails recently?
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