So, I had family coming into town and needed something different to amuse them and us. That’s when a friend of mine suggested the Black Canyon River Adventures. Now this is something Sazzy and I did back in 2008 and we had a great time, so it sounded like something I needed to do again.
We checked in at the Hacienda Casino, outside Boulder City, right before the Hoover Dam turn off (They do offer free hotel pickup and drop off). From there they shuttle you down a secured road that was once used to build the Dam and is now used for moving supplies. You get to see some of the early water works for Boulder City, as well as the facility used for dynamite storage back in the day. Not to mention an occasional Big Horn Sheep.
Steve our pilot/guide cooled everything down and settled us in before taking us as close to the base of Hoover Dam as you can legally get – that would also be right under the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. If you thought these structures looked big from the road, you should see them from down here!! Both make you feel very small and in awe of what it must have took to build such amazing wonders in such a desolate and unforgiving setting.
After a quick safety briefing and history lesson, as well as some bird watching, we head down the river. Outside temp was about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and rising. Water temp is a steady 57 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. It felt great!
This is a gentle float ride, not a whitewater rafting trip. You are outside for several hours, in nature, with no luxuries. Everybody kind of finds their best spot to sit either on the bench seats or on the tubes. We chose the tubes!
Steve is piloting, talking, pointing out some of the geological features, explaining how this all got here while scanning for and spotting wildlife. He pulls in close to some hot springs letting us sample the heat of the water as we rest on the shoreline. Telling us how the cool rain water from millions of years ago ends up steaming out and down the side of a rock today.
Offering us one of several opportunities to get into the water and cool off while meeting our boat mates. Very relaxed and informal. Nice to be away from city and the modern world. Seeing some amazing sights and not one of them is a Casino, a roadway or a building of any kind.
Lunch is served on an island – A nice box lunch and we get to keep the insulated box/bag. On the island we get another chance to dip in the cool clear water, sit on the shore and marvel at the scenery. (did I mention SPF 50 Sun Screen can keep a Minnesota boy from getting burned?)
I have to hand it to Steve, our pilot/guide. We had a couple of young kids on the tour and he was able to keep their attention, entertain them, and keep them and us cooled off as the temperature started climbing.
Mother Nature and a boat guide beat out an X-Box! Gotta love Mother Nature.
The great thing about this tour is that it is not set in stone as how it will go or what you will see. You find something that catches your attention and want a better look? See some wildlife? Big Horn Sheep on the side of a cliff? Not a problem, Steve stops what we are doing and slowly, quietly moves the boat in for a better look and gives you more information about what we are looking at or experiencing.
After a few hours of gawking, photographing, playing in the water and just soaking it all in, we turn a bend in the river… and Wa la!! Civilization. Or as close to it as we’ve seen since leaving the Dam. Willow Beach is where it ends. A chance to get our land legs back, get some souvenirs, maybe something to snack on before catching the shuttle back to the Hacienda. Total Time of 5 hours.
If you are looking for something different to do, this is different. It’s Family Friendly
Check their website for more details