Black Canyon National Water Trail
June 15 – 17, 2018
The Black Canyon National Water Trail
The Black Canyon section of the Colorado River is entirely flat moving water, so no rapids. It is a great area to explore for even the novice paddler. In 2014, the Secretary of Interior Design designated this portion of the Colorado River as a National Water Trail. Visitors can stop at sandy beaches, explore beautiful caves, relax in active hot springs, hike through slot canyons and maybe even spot a big horn sheep on the cliffs. This area also offers a lot of history associated with the construction of Hoover Dam including Sauna Cave, gauging stations, catwalks, trails and building foundations. If you keep an eye out, you may even spot some native petroglyphs carved into the canyon walls. The river is marked with mile markers along it’s banks to make navigation much easier. River Right is Nevada and River Left is Arizona.
Spend three days and two nights exploring Black Canyon on the scenic Colorado River. Canoe down river 11.5 miles from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach, sleep under the starts, hike through slot canyons and take a refreshing dip in the area’s many hot springs.
- 5:45 a.m. – Meet at the paddle craft staging area in the west parking lot of Hoover Dam Lodge. Board our shuttle and make our way to the launch location below Hoover Dam for a 7:00 am launch. DO NOT BE LATE OR YOU WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. ***Due to security reasons, we only have a small window to board our shuttle and make our way to the launch site. Once at the launch site we only have about 15 minutes to get our boats and gear down to the water. BE SURE TO HAVE A VALID ID OR YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED PAST THE SECURITY CHECKPOINT AT HOOVER DAM!!!***
- Once on the river we will explore:
- Sauna Cave
- Sauna Cave is a man made cave located a couple hundred yards from our launch site at the base of Hoover Dam on river Right. As the dam was being constructed, workers tunneled into the rock for about 50 feet before hitting a natural hot spring. The hot water made it impossible to complete the tunnel at this location. The tunnel is now filled with hot water creating a natural sauna.
- Lone Palm Canyon
- Gold Strike Canyon
- Sauna Cave
- Boyscout Canyon
- Arizona Hot Springs
- Emerald Cave
- Fish Hatchery
- 4:00 p.m. – Shuttle pick-up at Willow Beach. Do not be late or you might be left behind!!!
- This is an 11 mile paddle through Black Canyon in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, starting at Hoover Dam and ending at Willow Beach.
- Hotel accommodations the night before departure have been arranged at Hoover Dam Lodge. If you are interested in lodging for the night before we launch, the cost is $90 per room or $45 per bed if sharing a room. All reserved rooms have 2 beds.
- Permits & Canoe rental cost $157 per person for 3 days. This includes your shuttle to and from the Hoover Dam Lodge. There is a group size of 30 people max. **If you have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Land Pass, a $10 discount is available if provided at the time of booking.**
- Permits are NON-TRANSFERABLE and NON-REFUNDABLE.
- We will be camping along the Colorado River for two nights. These are primitive camp sites so please be prepared. We will most likely be camping by Arizona Hot Springs. There is a vault toilet near Arizona Hot Springs, but for anywhere else you are expected to pack out any solid waste.
- Please practice Leave No Trace by packing out all of your trash and by keeping your food concealed.
- The water levels of the river can rise and fall dramatically throughout the day as water is released from the dam. Keep this in mind when setting up your tent for the night. Keep your canoes pulled up as far out of the water as possible and securely tied. You will be responsible for any charges incurred for lost boats!!! Also keep in mind there is no way to call for help!!!
- The water in the Colorado River will be cold, roughly 53 degrees, so plan accordingly.
- As with any hot spring, there is always a chance of thermophilic bacteria in the water. DO NOT SUBMERGE YOUR HEAD UNDER WATER!!!
What to Bring
- Water shoes, bring some sturdy shoes that can get wet but are also sturdy for hiking. We will be doing multiple hikes through slot canyons, and climbing boulders to hot springs.
- Be sure to waterproof your pack!!! Use dry bags for anything that you do not want wet. You don’t want to risk getting all your belongings and shelter wet for the night.
- Rope, you are going to want to tie all belongings down in the boat. In the event the boat capsizes, you don’t want your stuff sinking or floating down the river!!! You will also need rope for tying off your canoe.
- Clothing, bring something to cover your arms and shoulders to help protect against the sun. Swimwear, pajamas, a long sleeve shirt or jacket.
- Hat and Sunglasses
- Sun Screen, lots and lots or sunscreen!!!
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First Aid Kit
- Plenty of food and water
- Water Filter – This is an important one!!! It will be very hot out so you will need to drink a lot of water.
- Backpacking Tent
- Sleeping Pad
- Sleeping Bag
- Bags for trash and solid human waste
- Bug Spray
- Gloves for climbing