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Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings, NV

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Guide 15 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Vegas
4.3 of 5 by 4
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,592 feet
Elevation Gain 936 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.37
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2015-02-07 azbackpackr
6  2015-01-09
Motorcycle Canyon
6  2012-08-05 VolcanoCLMBR
28  2009-12-22 AZLOT69
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:26am - 5:38pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Strike It Rich
by AZLOT69

Overview: This slot canyon works its way to the Colorado River passing thru scenic volcanic rock which at times towers hundreds of feet above the trail. The walls eventually close in and become vertical steering you toward the hot springs. Bouldering, scrambling and canyoneering obstacles will be required in this full body workout to access the hot springs.

Warnings: Flash Flood Safety in Slot Canyons

1) Get the latest weather information
2) Become familiar with the terrain and know your escape routes
3) Be aware that deadly flash flood waters can travel from many miles away with travel times of 10 hours or more.
4) Clear skies do not guarantee dry slot canyons!
5) Always let someone know your itinerary

Do nots
1) Do not enter slot canyons and rugged terrain during stormy or wet weather
2) Do not attempt to cross floodwaters by vehicle or on foot
3) Do not camp along streams and washes if there is a threat of flooding

Hot Spring Safety: Some undeveloped hot springs will boil you alive. Use Caution, Goldstrike Hot Springs consist of groundwater that is heated at depth by contact with molten rock and moves to the surface through faults at the rate of 400 gallons per minute. The water temperature changes and has been recorded between 85 and 120 degrees fahrenheit in the past. It is highly mineralized containing chloride, sulphate, sodium, potassium, calcium, and floride. Naegleria Fowleria, an amoeba common to thermal pools, may be present and could enter through the nose causing a rare infection and death. DO NOT dive into pools, splash water, or submerge your head.

Hike: The trailhead is only a stones throw away from Arizonas major access highway to Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. As the trail enters Goldstrike Canyon you realize immediately that this is going to be a special hike. The rock walls on either side of the wash are filled with holes and resemble living rock in an aquarium. The highway is not far away at the beginning of the trail with the trail soon passing under a huge new bridge structure for the Hoover Dam Bypass. Rusted hulks of automobiles, some of which date back to the construction of the dam can be seen from time to time on cliff sides above the trail. The canyon now takes a turn away from the highway above and continues with some minor rocky areas. The smooth gravel wash meanders with each turn leaving you in awe of what nature has done here. A camera buff will make very slow progress on what has been an easy trail for the first mile. Watch for Big Horn Sheep and Desert Tortoise common to the area. Archaeological and mining artifacts can also be found. Suddenly you come to a steep drop off. Looking around there does not seem to be an alternative. Closer examination shows there to be crude steps carved into the boulder leading down. It looks much harder from above than below. Making it more difficult is the fact that much use has made the boulder down and alongside this obstruction very slick. You will want very sticky soles and some courage to continue. Once down this initial climb its clear sailing again. A short while later you come to another larger drop off. You can bypass this obstacle on the left bank going up and around. There are some red painted arrows to assist. You will be using hands and feet to get around these boulders. With the walls closing in on you the next obstacle comes fairly quickly. There are fixed ropes at the next three down climbs. Evaluate your abilities at each one considering the return. You have now arrived at the first of the hot springs. The water flows out of the sidewalls and now creates a flow down the wash. This flow creates about a dozen hot pools ahead. Additional down climbs with and without ropes are required to complete the canyon down to the Colorado River. Continue as long as you are comfortable and return the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-12-26 AZLOT69
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings
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    The first of my birthday trips (because why just celebrate for one day?). James's first backpack, and an old favorite for most of the rest of us. Tojo, James and I camped the night before off of Old Highway 93, then met Beans at the trailhead. The line of cars was unbelievable. We hurriedly grabbed our packs from the car and rushed down the trail as quickly as we could. Since the first part of the trail is all sand, and the second part is all ropes and downclimbing, this isn't the easiest task. But soon enough we were walking up to the largest pool and setting up camp.

    After seeing pictures a few months ago of water running down this canyon, it was surprising to witness the water levels being so low. There were areas of the hike where some of the pools had completely dried up. When venturing out to the Colorado, the sand and rocks extended farther into the river than I'd seen before. Tojo and Beans ventured to the Sauna Cave, then joined James and me for some soaking back at camp. After a bit of wine and hot water, I felt it was time for a nap. In the meantime, Claire and 9L arrived. We all hung out and soaked and talked with other canyon visitors. Eventually night fell and 9L set up the party lights. A few of us stayed up super late (past 8pm NV time/9pm AZ time) and enjoyed a small fire before calling it.

    In the morning, we were awakened by sheep knocking big rocks onto camp from the cliffs above. After a breakfast of burritos, Tojo, Beans, James and I went out to the Sauna Cave. I'd never been before. It's surprising how hot the water is when you first get in, and how the cave just envelopes you with its heat.. but then on walking out it seems like the water is just warm bathwater. We walked back to the river and found the level was actually going down! A nice surprise, as it had been really frigid on the way out there. We walked amongst some kayakers and then made it back to the beach. Went back to camp and soaked some more, then packed up and had a bite to eat.

    The other tourists were beginning to pack up, so we hauled our butts back up trail so as to avoid as many lines as possible. There were quite a few areas that we had to stop and wait, which gets a bit tedious when wearing a big pack. There were several spots on the way out that people had stashed their garbage, and lots of graffiti tags! The worst was a giant torn-up trash bag full of paper plates and other grossness. I asked the whole way back, "what is wrong with some people?!" We picked up what we could and ended up with a few handfuls of Starbucks, water bottles, and gum wrappers. PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT, people!!! It's really not so difficult.

    Despite the frustrations (really I'd never seen it this bad before), it was a good walk out. Sophie is quite the impressive little spider-dog, able to leap tall rock walls in a single bound, and can stop herself from slipping through the slickest polished rock slides like she's made of Stealth rubber. The weekend itself was perfect, with excellent weather and awesome people. But yet again, the next time I do this I'd like to be back on my boat... but maybe from the top next time. ;)

    Thanks for making my birthday awesome, friends!
    Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings
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    Liz wanted to celebrate her birthday as an overnighter at the hot springs near Hoover Dam. A group of us got together for one hell of an adventure!

    Claire and I drove up on Saturday morning and started hiking early afternoon. The others drove up the night before and were already down canyon. The first mile follows a wash as it winds its way down canyon. It's very easy going until you see a large white cooler used as a water cache. From there the route becomes very rocky and rugged as you have to navigate over and around large chunks of rock. As you descend you find several fixed ropes that aid the route. We were going through here at peak hours on a Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of people and that led to bottlenecks. We both were patient and even found a few alternate routes as we descended. The fully loaded backpacks made this more difficult but we were both fine. After a lot of work we found ourselves approaching a pair of tents and found our group.

    We took a break and enjoyed a cerveza and admired this stunning canyon! We were camped right above the main hot spring. It was occupied by several groups of day hikers. We'll be going in later. After camp was set up the two of us hiked the last quarter mile to the Colorado River. It was around 4pm and the water level was really low. We admired the views and then started filtering water through my Sawyer Mini which worked well. We hung out here for about an hour and noticed the water level rising. We assumed the dam was releasing water for evening power consumption. I would guess the water level rose at least twelve inches in this time. We had to cross some ankle high water to get back to the canyon.

    It was time for the hot spring. The water was very warm and soothing. I could sit in it for about a half hour and then needed to sit on the lip to cool back down. The temps were pleasant and we were comfy. The party lights provided perfect ambient lighting. We also had the area to ourselves as our group was the only ones camping. Life was good! Later that evening we had a small fire and then everyone turned in for the night.

    We started day two with some coffee and then a trip back to the Colorado River. Janelle joined us and showed us the sauna cave a little ways up river. The warm water starts at knee deep and gets shallower as you work your way back into the cave. This was a real treat and I'm glad we got to see it! From there we returned to camp and enjoyed the hot spring one last time. Afterward we packed up camp and prepped for the hike out.

    Claire and I started the hike out a few minutes after the others. Both of us felt dehydrated from the day before and this made for a slow scramble out of the canyon. Luckily there weren't a lot of people and the bottlenecks were short. We took our time as we navigated out. The full overnight packs made this a lot more difficult than it needed to be. We were glad when we passed the cooler and knew it was an easy wash the rest of the way. We got back to jeep around mid afternoon and were back in Phoenix early evening.

    Goldstrike Canyon is a gem! I definitely want to go back. The hot springs are so relaxing and the canyon is a rugged and fun challenge! The crowds were unfortunate but not an issue. And this was a really fun group that had an excellent time! Happy early birthday Liz!
    Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    What do you get when you mix strong winds with a ten mile upstream paddle? Exhausted kayakers and a heck of an adventure!

    For my birthday (in January, rescheduled several times), I somehow convinced myself that it would be a good idea to try yak-packing to Goldstrike from Willow Beach. This convincing was not without external influences, either. So I set my mind to it and we got to adventuring. Three of us started from Willow Beach and started paddling upstream. The current obviously wasn't helping us out any, but there were lots of times that the wind was pushing us in (mostly) the right direction. We worked hard but also took time to appreciate the surroundings. We got to see a lot of ducks (they were following us), and even a family of mountain goats. The goats allowed me to get pretty close, maybe within 15 feet of them, while they drank water. We checked out Emerald Cave (which is smaller than anticipated), and the catwalk too.

    We made our first real destination Arizona Hot Springs, which I'd never been to before. The ladder in place is super solid, and the hot springs were nice and hot! We soaked for a little bit and then headed back down, spotting another mountain goat and her baby. So cute! Then on to the most difficult part of the day: getting past Ringbolt Rapids.

    I'd remembered from the previous trip that the rapids had a beach next to them, so just sort of planned on using the beach if needed. We definitely needed it. Adam's boat got whisked away with him in it, so we pulled over to the shore and figured out a path. The "path" went through tall grasses and plants, and over rocks and boulders, and then finally onto a nice beach above the rapids. It was a lot of work portaging the kayaks, the smallest of which is 12 feet and 41 lbs when empty (but of course we were packed up with camp gear), and the biggest of which is 16 feet and probably a thousand pounds when empty. I might be exaggerating a little, but we were a bit pooped from all the paddling. We got above the rapids and continued onward. Adam pointed out a little cave that went about six kayaks deep into the rock. We paddled into it and hung out. It was pretty cool!

    The final slog up to Goldstrike seemed to take an eternity. It was now getting later in the day, and the water levels were rising with a swifter current. We pulled into Goldstrike just as the last bit of daylight left the sky. With a little help from the hiking crew (Jbeans, Clairesy, and Jbeans' coworker) we managed to get all of our camping gear up to the camp spot. We relaxed with lots of beverages and lots of foods, and even took a bit of a dip in the steamy pools. Most of us were up into the wee hours of the night, just talking and laughing. When it came time to go to bed, I discovered that the rock under my tent had been heated from below by the hot springs, so cowboy camped under the glorious Las Vegas light pollution. Haha.. it was actually pretty perfect, with a slight breeze making its way up the canyon and over the campsite.

    In the morning, we packed up our own gear, and as much of the hikers' gear as we could. They had three dogs and three people, which can still be a lot of work for a canyon hike. We set out just as a group of about ten kayaks and canoes pulled up -- perfect timing!

    The next stop was Moonlight hot springs, but the wind tried its hardest to prevent us from getting there. We paddled hard and then pulled over at the canyon entrance. The springs are just a bit of a walk up the canyon, and are scorching hot. Beyond the springs, there's another bigger pool with a waterfall. This pool is nice and warm, and won't take your skin off. Plus it's nice to "shower" in the waterfall. We bypassed the hot springs and hung out for a bit in the waterfall pool, drinking and demonstrating the principles of fluid dynamics.

    Back at the kayaks, we were glad we'd tied them up. The water level rises fairly quickly out here. We rode the current out over Ringbolt and battled giant waves and headwinds. Eric had a big lead over us, but Adam and I opted to stop for a quick nap on one of the beaches. We woke up refreshed, and continued onward. Eventually, the marina came into sight. We were overjoyed and pulled in, just minutes behind the hikers' arrival.

    Definitely an awesome trip. It was sad that Liz couldn't join us also, as it had been planned as a joint birthday adventure for the both of us. If we did it again, it would be nice to start at the top.. but that requires money and lots of planning and actual commitment, and that's all hard to come by in my group of friends. ;) But a SUPER AWESOME adventure nonetheless!!!
    Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings
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    Hiked down to the river and met Jbeans and Mike! Soaked in the springs for a bit... so nice and warm! They ventured on to the sauna cave nearer the dam, but I had to get a move on back to Phoenix.. solo trip means a long ride back with Pandora (when she shows up!). Going back to this one again soon... next time w/ the 'yak!
    Goldstrike Canyon - Hotsprings
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Who knew there was a real awesome narrow canyon right next to the Hoover dam? This challenging hike combines canyon hiking, simple canyoneering and plenty of bouldering along coming across a decent about of hot springs just before we arrive to the junction with the Colorado river! Theres a cool combination of hot and cold water from both streams. On a saturday morning hike we did not encounter many people but my friend said it is becoming a more popular hike. The first mile you hike under the bare sun, but later on as you advance into the narrow canyon you enter into the cool shaded section that makes the hike a lot more bearable! This is one of those gems that most people that come to Las Vegas don't get to see and that makes it more my style!

    Permit $$

    Lake Mead NRA National Park
    Lake Mead Fees & Permits

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To canyon trip
    From Las Vegas, take Hwy 93/95 south through Henderson, and stay on Hwy 93 south to Boulder City at Railroad Pass. Continue south on US 93 through Boulder City toward Hoover Dam (from the intersection of US 93 and Buchanan in Boulder City, it's about 4 miles to the Alan Bible visitor center, located at the left turnoff from Hwy 93 to Boulder Beach). Continuing on 93 you pass the main entrance to the Hacienda Hotel & Casino, reset your vehicle trip odometer. At .5 miles past the Hacienda entrance, look for an opening in the guardrail on the right side of the highway, with a dirt road sloping down from the highway. This is the turnoff to the trailhead. When the new highway bypass is complete this will be the first exit eastbound from the Hacienda Hotel. Follow the dirt road to the bottom of the hill, take the first left, and continue down the wash for less than 1/4 mile. This road is passable with 2WD passenger cars. The road ends where the canyon starts to narrow. Find a parking spot, and start hiking down the canyon.

    2011-01-22 autumnstars writes The highway bypass has been completed. You now access this trailhead by getting off US93 approx 0.3mi past the Hacienda on the first exit (signed as Hoover Dam). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp, then left.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Dec 26 2009 10:49 am
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