LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Even though summer is more than a month and a half away, talk of severe heat in and around the Las Vegas valley has begun. While Lake Mead can provide a soul-chilling dip when it’s 115 degrees, many of the trails around the lake should be avoided.

Because of the summer heat, the National Park Service (NPS) has issued its annual trail closure list. These trails will be closed starting on Monday, May 15 through Sep. 30.

  • Goldstrike Canyon
  • White Rock Canyon and White Rock Canyon Trail
  • Arizona Hot Springs and Arizona Hot Springs Trail (springs remain accessible by water)
  • Liberty Arch Trail
  • Lone Palm Trail
  • Sugar Loaf Trail
  • Lone Palm and Sugar Loaf surrounding areas.

Officially, Lake Mead National Recreation Area is closing “certain strenuous areas and park trails to help keep visitors, recreators, and staff safe during record high-temperature summer months.”

NPS also notes that a stretch of the River Mountains Loop Trail is closed to public use between mile marker 11 to mile marker 20.5 for pavement repairs and resurfacing. Work is expected to be completed by the end of July.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

It is not just the heat that visitors need to be careful of, hot springs in the park can contain harmful bacteria in the water. “It is recommended that you do not put your head underwater in hot springs as warm water is a normal breeding ground for high levels of bacteria,” NPS said.

Heat-related illness

Heat strokes, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburns and heat rash are all examples of heat-related illnesses.

According to the NPS, “Heat-related illnesses are caused by your body’s inability to cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating just isn’t enough. When this happens, the body’s temperature rises rapidly and may damage the brain or other vital organs.”

  • When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.
  • When the humidity is low, like around Las Vegas, you might not notice you are sweating because it is evaporating, and a heat-related illness could begin without you noticing.
  • Participating in strenuous physical activities, such as hiking or biking, in hot weather
  • Other factors that put you at higher risk of experiencing heat-related illness are age (infants, young children, people over 65), obesity, heart disease, poor circulation, fever, mental illness, dehydration, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.