Black Canyon |

Colorado River

Floating Black Canyon - Colorado River Floating Black Canyon
Colorado River

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Overview


TICKS & TODOS: 4 Todo Lists / 4 Ticks
RATING: Class I
LENGTH: 1-3 days
SEASON: Fall, Winter, Spring
Thu Hi:101 Lo:70 Fri Hi:102 Lo:72 Sat Hi:100 Lo:72 Sun Hi:98 Lo:73 Mon Hi:90 Lo:70
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A flat water river adventure that has it all. The float enjoys an impressively deep canyon, multiple hot springs along the way to soak the weary body in, plenty of side canyons to explore, and even an old gauging station from the 1920's. There has to be a catch, right? Sort of. The Black Canyon of the Colorado is a fantastic flat water float, and is frequently done either in a single day, or even better, as a multi-day canoe or sea kayak trip. So what's the catch? To float from the top down requires putting in right below Hoover Dam. This is considered a restricted area, and requires the use of a licensed shuttle service, as well as a river permit. Getting a permit, especially in prime seasons, requires reservations well in advance. If you get a permit, arranging a shuttle can be a bit daunting as well.

There is another option, however. If you paddle or motor up from the bottom, there are no permit restrictions or pesky shuttle services to try and arrange. Be aware though, there are some regulations. As of December 2010, no power boats were allowed above Willow Beach on Sunday or Monday. This is great if you are wanting to canoe or sea kayak in, and enjoy the peace and quite of the canyon. Some commercial boats still run on those days, but the canyon is much less crowded and quieter. Also, between Labor Day and Memorial Day, only boats with motors less than 65 hp are allowed. The current depends on current dam release, but is generally light and not particularly difficult to paddle against. If paddling from the bottom up, expect 2 days minimum, with 3-4 being a better length for seeing some of the side canyons.

If wanting to float from the top down, there is a list of approved shuttle services on the Bureau of Reclamation page.

Note: Soak in the hot springs at your own risk! There are concerns of naegleria fowleri at many hot springs (including the ones in the Black Canyon). According to the CDC, infection rates are extremely low (33 people between 1998 and 2007). If soaking, at the very least, try to avoid getting water in your nose, as this is the route of infection.

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