Pedal Into Sunset

Fresh air, exercise and awesome desert views are all guaranteed from a trip along the tracks with Rail Explorers.
Just 80 miles north of Laughlin in Boulder City, Nevada, Rail Explorers is now open year-round to bring locals and tourists a new viewpoint of the Southwest — from a pedal cart along the train tracks.
Alex Catchpoole and his wife Mary Joy Lu started the company after seeing a similar attraction in South Korea on television. Lu went to Korea in 2012 and returned home to New York with the inspiration to begin their own business, starting in the Adirondack Mountains in 2015.
They wanted a second location to offer riders in the winter months when it is too cold in the North, so Catchpoole turned to the Southwest and stumbled upon Boulder City. There were a section of tracks used exclusively by the Nevada State Railroad Museum for excursion rides, so he made a deal to partner with the Nevada Southern Railway to bring more economic development to the area.
“When the opportunity came to head west to the warmth of Nevada, it was great,” Catchpoole said. “It’s been awesome offering this experience that people will remember forever.”
Rail Explorers are lightweight pedal carts that ride along railroad tracks without any steering necessary from the operator. Catchpoole said the carts can travel up to 20 mph traveling downhill. Participants operate the cart completely on their own by pedaling and the use of a hand brake to stop. The carts seat either two or four guests, but can be hooked together to allow for larger groups to travel together. They have nine quad carts and seven tandem carts, accommodating up to 50 passengers while allowing for social distancing.
They are very safe, with hardly any training needed. A guide will give simple instructions that take about five minutes, and then you can be on your way riding the rails through the mountains. Guides will ride in a cart in front and behind the guest carts to ensure safety, but their carts are not connected and they will give you plenty of space in between to ride at your own pace. It is a one-of-kind experience due to the hands-free operation that does not require any attention to stay on the track, so guests can really soak in their surroundings.
The Rail Explorers ride begins at the train boarding station at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Riders pedal for around 3.5 miles until they near the end of the tracks. The train follows shortly after the last group of riders has left for their tour and picks them up at the end point, delivering them back to the station.
The ride is mostly downhill but ends with an uphill portion to get your blood pumping. You will ride parallel to US Highway 93, which gives an interesting perspective of a trip locals have driven many times, yet maybe never got to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Right now the attraction is open for sunset and lantern tours as the sun goes down and temperatures settle. The sunset tour runs every day and is the most popular tour due to the beautiful desert sky, according to the Boulder City Division Manager Leslie Roszyk-Stephenson.
The lantern tours take place on weekends after dark. Lanterns are placed along the track to light up the route and many guests choose to bring glowsticks to add more illumination.
Roszyk-Stephenson said October through November is their busy season, and beginning Oct. 14 daytime tours will be available again. These Southwest Ramble tours will happen at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and the sunset tour will be at 5:30 p.m. The carts are sanitized between each tour, as well as the train cars which bring guests back to the station. Face masks are mandatory.
She said their team is working on a special Halloween tour for the end of October. They have a few tricks and treats up their sleeves, which may include costumes and dancing tour guides.
Roszyk-Stephenson also mentioned that they are trying to partner with area schools to provide an educational field trip for students, sharing the history of the railway as well as the science behind the operations.
“We are trying to come up with a fun way to educate kids and get them out of the house and away from the computer for a bit,” she said.
For more information and to book tours, visit RailExplorers.net.