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  • Writer's pictureAshley Goes Hiking

Kayaking the Black Canyon of the Colorado River

Kayaking the Black Canyon of the Colorado River is an adventure that should be on every Arizona adventurer's bucket list. With stunning views of towering cliffs, emerald-green water, and natural hot springs, this stretch of the Colorado River offers an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

It's an especially good adventure for winter since the route has many hot springs. I did the trip in early February and thought the weather was perfect.

Permits and Outfitters

Before embarking on your kayaking journey, you'll need to secure a permit from the National Park Service. You can do this from any outfitter in the Boulder City area. I used Blazin Paddles and did the self guided trip. They were communicative and responsive! I'd highly recommend them.


The trip from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach covers approximately 12 miles and can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the speed of the current and how many stops you make along the way.

Places to Stop

One of the most popular stops on the trip is Boy Scout Canyon, which is a narrow canyon that can only be accessed by kayak. This secluded area offers a tranquil escape from the main river and features a waterfall and hot springs.

Goldstrike Hot Spring is another popular destination along the way. This hot spring is located in a narrow canyon and requires a short hike to reach it. The hike can be a bit strenuous, but the view of the hot spring is well worth the effort.

Another popular stop is the Arizona Ringbolt Hot Spring, which is a natural hot spring that flows into the river. This stop is a favorite among kayakers, as it offers the perfect place to relax and soak in the warm water.

Emerald Cove is a beautiful spot with crystal-clear water that is perfect for swimming. It's also a great place to take some stunning photos.

The Sauna Cave is another unique stop along the way. This cave is located near the river and has a naturally heated sauna inside. It's the perfect place to warm up after a day of kayaking.

What to Pack and Bring

When kayaking the Black Canyon, it's important to pack light but also make sure you have everything you need. Some essential items to bring include sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, a waterproof camera, a dry bag, a first aid kit, and plenty of water and snacks. It's also recommended to bring a wetsuit if the weather calls for chilly temperatures.


Kayaking the Black Canyon can be dangerous if you're not prepared. Make sure you're comfortable kayaking in strong currents and wear a life jacket at all times. It's also important to be aware of the weather conditions, as sudden storms can arise. Keep an eye out for wildlife as well, as there are several species of animals that call the area home, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and rattlesnakes.

Kayaking the Black Canyon of the Colorado River is an unforgettable experience that offers breathtaking views and unique destinations. With proper planning, preparation, and safety measures, this adventure can be enjoyed by kayakers of all skill levels.

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