Type: Boulder
FA: Some Dam Workers
Page Views: 231 total · 6/month
Shared By: DesertDan on Jan 7, 2016
Admins: Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

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From just below the waterfall massage pool, a scree slope rises on the north side (river left) of the canyon for several hundred feet. At the top of this on the right side are two old ladders attached to the cliff. Climb the ladders to gain the top of the cliff. Some of the rungs spin, some are missing, and the wood is old and splintered.

From here, the trail contours north across the tops of cliffs to the Nevada gravel dumps. Drop straight down to the river at this point, along the edge of the gravel slide. Follow the base of the cliff to the right downriver. The Sauna Cave is a short distance away up a small sandbar behind some tamarisk.

These ladders are part of a trail that predates the dam, and that was built to assay Black Canyon and access water gauging stations. Most of the trail, which used cable cars to span side canyons and catwalks to traverse cliffs, has deteriorated into oblivion. The section that accesses the Willow Beach gauging station has been maintained and is worth seeing.

The Nevada and Arizona gravel dumps were created when the canyon walls were scraped and the river bottom dredged to reach good bedrock for the dam. The Nevada gravel dump is on the border of the controlled access zone for Hoover Dam but the only signage is at the bottom on a cable that spans the river. The Dam Police also keep a small gun range in the gravel dumps just above where the trail dives into the gravel. I highly recommend not wandering through the dumps as the police don't like unexpected sightseers and trespassing here, in this day & age of 'shoot first & figure it out later,' is no joke.


About a quarter mile up from the river is a drop-off in the wash made of stacked boulders. The trail avoids this by skirting across the top of a muddy cliff on the north side. A couple hundred feet up the wash is the shower massage pool and between them is the scree slope that starts the route up and out of the canyon. The ladders can be seen from here.




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