Location: Lake Mead Recreation Area
Distance: 3 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Water Availability: Colorado River
Getting There: Coming from Las Vegas you will want to take 95 / 93 south toward Boulder city. Follow 95 toward the Hoover dam. After you pass the Hacienda Casino the road curves to the left and then curves to the right. The guard rail on the right ends on the ending of the curve to the right. Just as the guard rail ends there is a dirt road, turn right here. Follow this road till it ends, you will see a sign marked gold strike canyon.
The Hike: As you park your car and gear up with your water and other hiking supplies, you gaze around and see cliffs that seem to be melting in time before you. The downhill hike starts off on a slow incline passing under a bridge giving impressive views from underneath. A little bit of rock jumping here gets your blood flowing for what’s to come later. After you get through the small rock tumble the trail continues down into the canyon. I generally do some free running at this point, just to get down the trail a little faster, always being courteous of other hikers. But please be advised that I would recommend no running unless very familiar with the trail, there are a couple of wrong turns that could lead to a very bad situation. The first rock tumble starts after about a mile in, there have been arrows painted on the rocks showing the best route.
The rock tumbles then start to happen a little more often as you begin to reach the hot springs. After about two and a half miles there will be a series of challenging tumbles down the canyon walls toward the river bed. At the top of this tumble you have impressive views of the canyon in front of you. The rocks seems to come alive with the hot springs feeding the earth here in this ecology. Some of the hot springs you are able to dip into, some will be too hot, so check the temperature before jumping in.
Once you reach the river bed you are 3 miles in, the hoover dam regulates the water levels, during low water flow, or cold swimming you can reach sauna cave which is just upstream a short distance. Return the way you came in.