Black Canyon Water Trail

Kayakers paddling down Black Canyon Water Trail

Izzy Collett

In 2014, the Secretary of Interior designated a portion of the Lower Colorado River that flows through Lake Mead National Recreation Area as a National Water Trail, making it the first National Water Trail in the Southwest and the first to flow through a desert.

Visitors can access the Black Canyon Water Trail through a guided tour at the base of the Hoover Dam, from Willow Beach, Arizona, or near an old mining town in Eldorado Canyon, Nevada.

As visitors travel down the 30-mile trail alongside wilderness and solitude, they can stop at sandy beaches, colorful caves, plentiful coves and active hot springs. Desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife are often seen on the cliffs along the river. There is also a great deal of history associated with the construction of and research connected to Hoover Dam including the sauna cave, gauging stations, catwalks, trails and building foundations.

“These trails provide an opportunity for families to get outside and explore some of our nation’s most beautiful waterways, and by highlighting them as part of the National Water Trails System, more visitors will have the opportunity to visit and add value to their local economies,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, the former National Park Service director. “The National Water Trails System highlights the best of our nation’s water trails that encourage recreation and stewardship.”



Hoover Dam
Launching at Hoover Dam is an exclusive experience provided by a limited number of vendors in Southern Nevada and Northern Arizona. Visitors are escorted to the launch site on a narrated bus ride into the Hoover Dam Security Zone. Before rafting or paddling down the water trail, guides describe the engineering marvel that is holding back up to 28.9 million acre feet of water in Lake Mead. Tours range from float trips near the dam to day trips to full exploration tours. Approved vendors for Hoover Dam access are listed below.
Outfitter Phone Web
After Cool Outdoors LLC 602-692-5937
Blazin' Paddles LLC 702-428-0079
Boojum Institute 951-763-4102 x231
Boulder City River Riders 702-219-9210
Breakwater Expeditions LLC 208-263-0277
Desert Adventures 702-293-5026
Desert River Kayak 928-754-5320
Evolution Expeditions Kayaking 702-259-5292
Fishfinders 702-499-7942
Four Seasons Guides 928-525-1552
Jerkwater Canoe Company 928-768-7753
KayakNaked LLC 702-738-5008
River Dogz 702-325-5851
Vegas Glass Kayaks LLC 702-907-1715

Alan O'Neill

Willow Beach
Located 14 miles south of Hoover Dam off of U.S. 93 on the Arizona side of the water trail, Willow Beach offers a variety of amenities, including a launch ramp and full-service marina with watercraft, canoe and kayak rentals; a campground and RV park; and a store and restaurant. The beach and fishing pier are also popular destinations. Whether hiking, rafting, boating or fishing, visitors at this part of the Black Canyon Water Trail enjoy sheer cliffs of multicolored rocks, sandy beaches and secluded coves.


Eldorado Canyon
The Black Canyon Water Trail ends at Eldorado Canyon, an area known for its mining history, which was active when Nevada achieved statehood in 1864. Steamboats would transport the ore from Eldorado Canyon along the Colorado River down to the Gulf of California. Mine tours are offered daily outside of the park boundaries near the community of Nelson, and vendors offer kayak, paddleboard and hiking tours within the park.

The Lower Colorado River Water Trail Alliance was formed in 2012 to pursue the designation of a National Water Trail, promote the recreation experience, protect the water’s natural beauty and resources, and engage the public in its stewardship. The alliance includes representatives from the National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Outside Las Vegas Foundation, outfitters/local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and outdoor enthusiasts.The Alliance's website can be seen at Explore the entire National Water Trails System online at

Image for NPS CMS Page
The website of the Lower Colorado River Water Trail Alliance. The image menu bar is clickable and will open the Alliance's website in a new window.
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Additional Related Pages
Boating Canoe/Kayak

Last updated: September 10, 2018

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