Imagine the memories you can make for your family on a Colorado River adventure from Lake Mohave to the Black Canyon National Water Trail below Hoover Dam. The trail designated in 2014 by the Secretary of the Interior is the first of its kind in the Southwest. And it is the first to flow through a desert.
The 30-mile trail provides access to secluded beaches and coves, caves, hot springs, and stunning desert wilderness landscapes where big horn sheep climb the rocky canyon walls. There are also an array of historic structures and sites associated with the construction of Hoover Dam, such as gauging stations, catwalks, and cables.
Sites such as Ring Bolt Rapids are tangible links to the steamboats that plied the river in the 19th century. Construction of the dam eliminated the rapid but for steamboats to move further upriver, a shelf was cut in the canyon for a steam powered winch, and a cable was threaded through large hand forged ring bolts fascinated in the steep rocky walls high above the river.
The Black Canyon National Water Trail starts near the base of the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel that holds back Lake Mead, the largest manmade reservoir in the United States. One of the most popular stops on the scenic trail is the awe-inspiring Emerald Cave. Located two miles upriver from Willow Beach, this is a small cave that glows green when the sunlight hits the water at midday. What a great place to capture some great photos, and to enjoy the cool shade.
A few short hikes into the canyons along the river will add a new dimension to your adventure. A few hundred yards from Hoover Dam, and about a hundred yards from the Nevada side of the river is Sauna Cave. Less than a quarter mile further down the river on the right side is a waterfall that feeds a pool at the river’s edge.
And just a hundred yards further down the river on the Arizona side, a short hike of a half mile from a pebble strewn beach takes you to a hot springs’ waterfall. Nestled in a grove of palm trees this is a true desert oasis.
The water trail ends at Eldorado Canyon, site of an old mining town and steamboat landing in Nevada. According to legend, the name was given by Spanish explorers searching for gold along the river in the late 18th century.
Personal watercraft and vessels with motors are prohibited on the trail on Sunday and Monday year-round. But at Willow Beach, approximately forty miles from Katherine Landing on Lake Mohave, canoe and kayak rentals are available. There is also a campground as well as a store and restaurant. The beach and fishing pier are also popular destinations.
No boat? No problem. This exciting adventure begins with a bit of planning, and a visit to Water World Jet Ski & Boat Rental in Bullhead City, Arizona. Just be sure to bring along a few essentials like sunscreen, water, snacks, a hat, a cooler and a picnic basket.
To help you plan the ultimate Colorado River adventure –