Colorado River

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The Colorado River is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 kilometers) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and, not surprisingly, it's a major recreational destination—activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting, and boating.

The Basics
Many travelers to Las Vegas to experience the Mighty Colorado River by visiting or canoeing the Black Canyon, so-called because of the black volcanic rocks found in the area. The canyons are majestic, red land formations that lead from Colorado toward the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Guided boating and canoeing tours take visitors down the Colorado River as it passes through the Black Canyon. At James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, hiking, rafting, fishing, rock climbing, and swimming are all available. Another bucket list experience well worth the time investment is a whitewater rafting trip through Grand Canyon National Park.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The river is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers.
  • Remember to wear comfortable clothes suitable for the activities you’re participating in.
  • There isn’t always shade on the river, so bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
  • River trips and rafting tours to the Colorado River from Las Vegas can last anywhere from three to 15 hours, depending on the option chosen.

How to Get There
There are numerous access points to the Colorado River as it flows through Nevada, but most travelers visit on a guided adventure tour that includes return transportation from Las Vegas.

When to Get There
While there isn’t really a bad time to visit the Colorado River, commercial rafting trips—particularly those through the Grand Canyon—are generally offered from April to October. Depending on where you are along the river, temperatures in June, July, and August can soar above 100°F (38­°C).

See the Colorado River from Above and Below
Those looking for a comprehensive Colorado River experience can combine a float trip or boat ride down the river with a Grand Canyon helicopter tour or a walk along the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the West Rim.
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