Guest Author - Gregory A. Kompes
About 45-minutes south of Las Vegas is a wonderful hike to the Liberty Bell Arch in northern Arizona. The hiking trail begins where White Wash Crosses US State Route 95 on the Arizona side of the Hoover Damn. Thereís a nice parking lot now, but no facilities. From the parking area, hike down to White Wash, go under the highway, and then hike for about half a mile. A well-marked (stone markers) use trail leads off to the south. If you reach the Purple Mountains, youíve gone too far.
Follow the use trail over the old magnesium mine. Thereís an old mine shuttle still on the site. Next, stay to the use trail across the bare desert for nearly two miles.
For most of the hike, you canít actually see the arch, only a rock outcrop. But, as you cross the bare desert and get near to it, the angle of the trail allows you to finally see the arch.
The Liberty Bell Arch is inaccessible from the use trail. And, there arenít any comfortable rest stops near the arch. But, if you stay to the use trail, youíll soon be in a rocky stretch with plenty of places to sit, rest, and recharch.
Continue on, past the arch, for another half mile or so to get to the lookout point above the arch. The lookout offers spectacular views of the Colorado River nearly 1000 feet below. Explore to the south just a bit and youíll be rewarded with an excellent view of the new, Mike OíCallaghan Ė Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (Colorado River Bridge).
Visiting in spring or fall, expect moderate temperatures and a slight breeze. This hike should be avoided in the high temperature summer season.
I did have a slight mishap. I slid on a spiky, volcanic rock, fell, and scraped my forearm. A bit of GermX and I was fine. Scrapes like this always remind me of my childhood and give me an excuse to use Bactine again. And, while this wasnít a horrible accident, I was glad to have my day-hike First Aid Kit.
Iíve made this hike several times before. In the fall, this trip has been filled with lots of different birds, but this time (spring) around I didnít see many. And, Iíve yet to see a Bald Eagle, which are said to roost in the Purple Mountains just south of this hike. I did see a few prickly pear cacti in bloom and lots of small lizards. The White Wash meanders downhill, through the Purple Mountains, to the Colorado River. This is also an excellent day hike.
All-in-all, this is a nice day hike and a good 4-5 hours in the desert.
Easting (at Arch): 705315
Northing (at Arch): 3983301
Elevation (at Arch): 1,440 ft.