Two popular hiking routes in Lake Mead National Recreation Area will close for the summer season this Sunday, as park management will place barriers and signage indicating closures at the heads of both the Goldstrike Canyon and Arizona Hot Springs trails.
The closure, in effect May 15 through September 30, comes after temporary emergency closures in 2014 (August 1-30) and 2015 (May 29-September 30) due to an increase in public safety incidents. The two trails feature strenuous hikes, which only get more difficult when you add in the factor of Lake Mead’s brutal summer temperatures.
Public affairs officer Christie Vanover says the initial temporary closure occurred after park management saw search and rescue efforts triple—highlighting that not only are visitors’ lives at stake due to the heat, but also those of the park’s first responders. Vanover says a search and rescue was performed in the area just last week—and the victim, who was airlifted to a hospital after being found unresponsive, is still in the ICU. Vanover says it's believed heat was a contributing factor.
Park management sought out community input on the potential closure during a 30-day public comment period, in which 13 community members shared their thoughts—three were opposed, four supported and six had mixed opinions. Those with split thoughts were self-described hikers who know the danger of hiking in excessive temperatures, but conceded that they had seen inexperienced hikers on the trails.
If you want to take a dip in the park’s popular hot springs, they can still be accessed by means of the Colorado River. But when it’s 115 degrees outside, why not opt for the river’s icy waters?
Find summer safety tips on hiking and more at nps.gov.