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Black Canyon River Tours

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Black Canyon River
Explore the Colorado River’s deep Black Canyon, which begins just below Hoover Dam outside of Las Vegas, by raft, kayak, canoe, or helicopter tours. The narrow, near-vertical volcanic rock walls contain hidden beaches, caves, hot springs, slot canyon hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and wilderness solitude. 

The Basics
The canyon stretches from the base of Hoover Dam to Willow Beach, Ariz. You can explore the popular 30-mile (48-kilometer) flatwater section of the Colorado River on guided rafting, canoeing, and kayaking trips. Join a tour that departs Las Vegas by van, bus, or helicopter and then descend to the river to begin your adventure. Tours often include a visit to Hoover Dam, Gold Strike Canyon, Arizona Hot Spring, and Emerald Cave. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Black Canyon is a popular day trip for nature lovers, hot spring enthusiasts, and those interested in Hoover Dam. 
  • This stretch of river does not contain rapids but is swift and cold. 
  • A permit is required to launch at Hoover Dam so this starting point is only available with select tour companies. 
  • Access to the canyon is from Willow Beach, a full-service marina with public access, watercraft rentals, and a restaurant.

How to Get There
Public access to Black Canyon is provided at Willow Beach, about 52 miles (84 kilometers) or about an hour's drive southeast of Las Vegas. To venture into the canyon, join a guided tour (many offer pickup and drop-off at Las Vegas hotels) or rent boats at Willow Beach Marina.  

When to Get There
Tours of Black Canyon are offered year-round. The desert heat deters some from visiting in summer, although being close to the cool Colorado River offers some respite. Visiting in winter is ideal for those hoping to soak in the hot springs along the way. 

What to See When You Visit the Black Canyon
Select tours begin at Hoover Dam for a view of the iconic feat of engineering. Before beginning the journey down the river you can visit Sauna Cave, which was drilled during dam construction. From there you can dip into the warm springs of Gold Strike Canyon and Arizona Hot Springs, both of which flow from slot canyons into the Colorado River. Finish off your tour with a stop at Emerald Cave.
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5 Tours and Activities to Experience Black Canyon River

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Ultimate Hoover Dam TourDay Trips

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Ultimate Hoover Dam Tour

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Visit the Hoover Dam on this all-inclusive tour from Las Vegas. With a knowledgeable guide, learn about the history and mechanics of the dam through engaging and informative commentary. Walk through the displays and exhibits at the Visitor Center, then take the Powerplant tour. The highlight is a 'Walk on the Top'; this tour is one of the only excursions from Las Vegas to offer this feature. Round-trip transportation from select Las Vegas hotels and a restaurant lunch are included.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
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Black Canyon River Rafting TourOther Water Sports

Black Canyon River Rafting Tour

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Escape the glitz of Vegas for a day on the waters of the Colorado River during this rafting tour through Black Canyon. As you float along the calm stretch of the river, admire the cliffs and views of Hoover Dam while an experienced guide tells you about the geology and history of the area. Round-trip transportation from Las Vegas is provided.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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White Rock Canyon and Desert Hot Springs Hiking Day Trip from Las VegasHiking & Camping

White Rock Canyon and Desert Hot Springs Hiking Day Trip from Las Vegas

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Follow a hiking trail into the scenic Black Canyon, discover the wild scenery of the Mojave Desert and slip into a backcountry hot springs on a 6-hour day trip from Las Vegas. Go deep into the rugged canyon to see ancient petroglyphs left by the Mohave and Paiute tribes, then watch the rock face fade from red to white as you take in sweeping views of the Colorado River. Enjoy lunch and a steaming bath before walking back to the trailhead and returning to your Las Vegas hotel.
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  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours

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Las Vegas Tour: Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight and Colorado River FloatDay Trips

Las Vegas Tour: Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight and Colorado River Float

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Escape to the Grand Canyon for this full-day sightseeing adventure. Enjoy a scenic, 1-hour, round-trip flight from Las Vegas to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, flying over the famous Hoover Dam and beautiful Lake Mead along the way. After returning over the Mojave Desert and other natural wonders, take a float trip down the Colorado River, through Black Canyon with a boxed picnic lunch and an optional swim at a secluded beach. Lunch, bottled water, and all transportation, including a Las Vegas hotel pickup/drop-off, are included.
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  • 11 hours
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Black Canyon Kayak at Hoover Dam Day Trip from Las VegasDining Experiences

Black Canyon Kayak at Hoover Dam Day Trip from Las Vegas

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Leave the neon lights of Sin City behind during this relaxing full-day guided kayak excursion on the Black Canyon section of the Colorado River. This paddling trip, which navigates several miles of placid water close to Hoover Dam, is great for kayakers of all experience levels. During your trip, stop to explore idyllic riverside beaches, caves, canyons, and hot springs. Your kayak guide also points out local wildlife, hidden inlets, hiking spots, and historical sites along the way. The trip also includes all necessary kayaking equipment, river permits, and safety lesson, lunch, bottled water, snacks, dry bag for personal items and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 12 hours
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  • 12 hours


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