Paddle & Unwind

The Black Canyon is a special spot along the Colorado River, offering a serene experience for those wanting a relaxing day on the water with outstanding scenery.
Willow Beach is the perfect hub to the canyon, with watercraft rentals, rafting tours, a campground and more. Here the Colorado River flows fairly smooth, with a number of coves, beaches and scenic spots to explore.
Willow Beach Campground and Marina lies within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, just south of Boulder City, Nevada. It’s a quick trip up Highway 93 from the Tri-state. There is a $25 entrance fee per vehicle, which is good for one week.
The Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is one highlight of the area, which works with endangered fish native to the Colorado River. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the hatchery from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. AZ time on weekdays.
The marina includes a boat launch, fishing pier and convenience store with groceries, first aid supplies, fishing gear, clothing and just about anything guests would need for a day on the river. There is 235 miles of shoreline for visitors to explore, with several hiking opportunities and gorgeous views.
Powerboats, pontoons, paddleboards, canoes and kayaks are all available for rent by the hour or day. Fisherman may cast for largemouth bass, striped bass, rainbow trout, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.
There are a few restrictions on motor-operated vessels from Willow Beach to Hoover Dam. Boats and PWC are prohibited in the canyon on Sunday-Monday year-round. The rest of the week from Labor Day to Memorial Day PWC are prohibited and only boats with 65-horsepower engines or less are permitted.
Kayaking is the suggested outlet to relax and experience the Black Canyon, which leads to a hidden gem just 2 miles north of Willow Beach. Enjoy a peaceful paddle to Emerald Cave, a stunning sight where the water is naturally an emerald green color. The cave is too small for boats to enter, which is why kayaks are the ideal watercraft for the trip. There is also a nice cove just outside the cave to stop and have a picnic or go for a swim — the emerald waters can also be seen around the cove.
If you continue paddling north, about another 6 miles, there is hot springs on the Arizona side of the river that can be reached after a moderate hike. Just a few more miles upstream, you will reach Hoover Dam. These farther trips are suggested for experienced paddlers.
If you are a beginner or would like some guidance reaching any of these scenic spots, consider a guided kayak trip. Visit the following sites for guided tour options: VKayakLakeMead.com or EvolutionExpeditions.com.
There are also rafting tours available from Black Canyon River Adventures. These tours start the opposite direction with a launch point at the Lake Mead RV Village, traveling downstream to Willow Beach Marina. The raft trip includes three hours on the water, a complimentary sack lunch, some exploration time at Willow Beach and a bus ride back to the launch point.
There is also a shorter Hoover Dam Postcard rafting tour that offers guests an amazing view of the dam and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, from the water. Visit blackcanyonadventures.com for more information and to book a tour.
For overnight accommodations, Willow Beach offers an RV Park and Campground with 28 full-service hookups and nine tent camping sites with fire rings and picnic tables. There is a 24-hour shower and laundry facility onsite.
For more information on Willow Beach activities and camping, check out WillowBeachHarbor.com.