Liberty Bell Arch

December 20, 2003

Report by Raoul Kennedy, Photos by Joel Brewster
This pre-Christmas hike took place on Saturday, December 20, and was led by Amy Brewster. Hike participants were Joel and Toby Brewster, my wife Shigemi and myself, Luba and Alex Leef, and Bob Grozenski.
The originally scheduled event was a climb up Fortification Hill. Shortly after passing into Arizona, we marvelled at the recently erected partial span of the Hoover Dam Bypass (to be completed in as early as 2007). Our first warning was a ROAD CLOSED sign blocking the access road. It became obvious that the Bypass contruction has rendered whatever road might have existed impassable, even with a 4WD. There may be some way through, but our caravan gave up and we opted for the nearby Liberty Bell Arch hike.
The trailhead for Liberty Bell Arch hike is unmarked. The vehicles park on the left side of the road about 3 miles past the "Welcome to Arizona" sign. This is described as a "must do" hike in Branch Whitney's Hiking Southern Nevada. Starting and ending elevation are estimated at 1,700-1,800 feet with very little net elevation gain, although there are a series of ups and downs along the way. Some of the areas we passed resembled eerie moonscapes (or perhaps Mars-scapes). Weird-shaped formations abounded and I spotted what I thought looks like a prehistoric mini-volcano. Along the way we encountered a mining area with cavernous holes and the remnants of equipment. Some interesting green-colored rocks were strewn about along the trail at one point. Liberty Bell Arch came into view about half-way through the hike, and the trail passed near it as we continued on. The voluminous arch even has a stone resembling a bell clapper!
Shortly after, we reached the turnaround point, a small plateau overlooking the Colorado River below. We reached this point in about an hour and 10 minutes, had lunch and enjoyed the scenery. The water level of the twisting-and-turning blue-green Colorado River below was particularly low this year, exposing normally submerged sandy beaches, lush greenery and mysterious lagoons. The hike involved some huffing and puffing up some steep inclines but was not overtaxing. The return trip back to the vehicles was about an hour.
Be careful driving through Boulder City! Driving back home through Boulder City, we were stopped for speeding, although the vehicle was travelling with the flow of traffic. Perhaps Joel and I looked too "touristy" or maybe we were just unlucky as we were picked out of a group five or six cars all doing the same speed. Perhaps the Code Orange Terror Alert and our proximity to Hoover Dam had something to do with it. In any case, watch the speedometer when passing through the area!





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