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Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Las Vegas: Discover Serene Waterscapes & Adventure

guide to kayaking in las vegas

Discover the best kayak trips Las Vegas has to offer with our essential guide. Navigate the serene waters of Lake Mead or embark on an outdoor adventure down the Colorado River. We’ll help you choose the perfect kayaking trip that fits your skills and expectations without spoiling the wonders you’ll encounter on the water.

Key Takeaways

  • Desert Adventures offers a range of kayak tours in Las Vegas, catering to a variety of skill levels and interests. Our tours include a full-day Black Canyon paddling trip, a 3-hour Emerald Cave Teaser, and a Sunset Kayak Tour at Lake Mead.

  • Kayakers are provided with all necessary paddling gear, whether for a day trip or a multi-day adventure, including high-quality kayaks, safety equipment, and even camping gear for longer expeditions.

  • Our guided kayak tours at Desert Adventures ensure safety and provide all necessary kayaking equipment. Additionally, we offer educational insights and access to hidden destinations, enhancing your overall kayaking experience in Las Vegas.

Paddle Trips Near Vegas: The Best Kayak Tours

The Best Kayak Tours

When it comes to exploring the waters around the Las Vegas desert, the options are as varied as they are exciting. At Desert Adventures, we ensure that whether you’re an amateur kayaker or a seasoned pro, there’s a journey perfectly suited to your sense of adventure.

From the mighty Colorado River to serene Lake Mead, each tour promises an unparalleled experience for the whole family.

Black Canyon Kayaking Trip

The Black Canyon excursion is not just a kayaking tour; it’s a true full-day adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Our flagship tour is the most popular trip we offer, and for good reason. Whether you choose to spend just a day or several, the canyon calls to spirited explorers and the curious alike. Beginner paddlers are welcome with all our guided tours, with the minimum age being 6 years old. This 12-mile river trip is sure to get your muscles burning and your heart pumping, as it is action packed and rated as one of our more strenuous outdoor adventures. (Hint: Plan your spa and massage for the next day).

If you are new to kayaking, we recommend two paddlers per kayak (think two motors in a boat) to make the miles fade away with ease.  Kayakers wishing to paddle their own boat must be at least 14 years of age and 100 lbs, for the safety of the group.  Group sizes are often small, and participants are urged to keep their phone cameras handy for wildlife sightings.

Priced at $229 per person, this excursion offers:

  • A 12-mile river trip on the Colorado River

  • Launch from the base of the Hoover Dam, end at Willow Beach

  • Surrounded by the grandeur of towering slot canyons

  • Short hikes to hidden canyons

  • Vibrant photo opportunities

  • Wildlife sightings may include bighorn sheep, lizards, coyotes, and bald eagles

  • Stops at many historical sites

  • Unwind in the natural warmth of geothermal hot springs

  • Kayaking into caves and past waterfalls

river trip on the Colorado River

In addition to the stunning scenery and wildlife, the Black Canyon Kayaking provides an enriching experience filled with educational insights. Our knowledgeable guides share fascinating facts about the region's geology, important history, and strained ecosystem throughout the journey. You'll gain a deeper appreciation for the Colorado River and its role in shaping the landscape of North America over millennia. This excursion is perfect for adventurers seeking both excitement and knowledge in one unforgettable day on the water.

NOTE:  This trip has limited access due to federal permit restraints.  Reservations may be made up to six months in advance, and often sell out quickly on holidays and weekends.  Call Desert Adventures at 702-293-5026 to help secure your launch permits from the National Park Service. Our friendly staff can help you find dates that work with your group.

Emerald Cave Kayak Tour

The Emerald Cave Kayak Tour beckons kayakers with the allure of hidden gems and the promise of a 4-mile round trip journey into the middle of the National Water Trail. If you love vibrant photos, and short journeys to amazing views - this tour is for you.

The crisp, cool water of the Colorado River is clean and clear, coming from the base of the Hoover Dam.  This is partly due to the sediment settling in Lake Mead, and partly because of the aquatic invasive species found in the water, which eat algae and plankton. The absence of this algae allows the sunlight to filter deep into the crystal water, presenting kayakers with vibrant greens and blues, painted against rugged iron cliffs of basalt and andesite. Ready your cameras.

Emerald Cave Kayak Tour

The Emerald Cave tour is a “teaser” option for anyone on a time constraint or people looking for a shorter tour. Participants will meet at Willow Beach Marina, just 20 minutes past the Hoover Dam in Arizona. Willow Beach marina is equipped with services like fuel, fishing and tackle, convenience store, ice, restrooms, and parking. A campground sits atop the hill, overlooking the river. The trip unfolds over 3 to 4 hours, kayaking to the radiant Emerald Cave and providing ample opportunities to encounter the local fauna, including the majestic bald eagle.

Participants will be given a drybag for essentials, and snacks and bottled water are provided to keep your energy levels high. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen.

It is not only a scenic outdoor river adventure but an affordable addition to your Las Vegas itinerary. It is perfect for beginners,  families, small children, and those seeking a more relaxing experience. 

Priced at $139 / person, this tour includes:

  • Kayaking tour (3 hours) departing from Willow Beach

  • Vibrant photo opportunities

  • Wildlife sightings may include bald eagles, fish, osprey

  • Meeting point:  Willow Beach

Kayaking tour (3 hours) departing from Willow Beach

As you paddle through the tranquil waters, the tour guides ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, sharing stories of the river’s rich history and guiding you to the most picturesque spots. The Emerald Cave itself, with its shimmering green waters, becomes an unforgettable highlight of your kayaking journey.

Sunset Serenity on Lake Mead

As the sun begins its descent, the Sunset Serenity tour on Lake Mead offers a unique way to experience the beauty of the Colorado River and the surrounding landscape. Priced at $169 per person and lasting approximately 4 hours, this tour is designed to showcase the splendor of the sunset against the backdrop of the desert. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, the calm and expansive waters of Lake Mead provide the perfect canvas for a serene paddle.

sunset serenity on lake mead
Paddle as the sky transforms, offering a unique and tranquil experience that's perfect for unwinding.

In addition to the dusky hues of pink, purple, and orange you might see fish jumping during this active time of day. Be sure to have your camera ready for magical lighting during the golden hour.

Our fully guided sunset kayak tour is a great way to spend an evening with family or friends. A double kayak is a great option for couples or an adventure date. We will leisurely paddle to some nearby islands and stop to stretch our legs, or take a quick swim before heading back to shore.

During this breathtaking tour, kayakers can expect to:

  • Be bathed in golden light as they glide through the water.

  • See the changing hues of the sunset painting a stunning scene.

  • Conclude a day in Las Vegas in an idyllic way.

  • Experience the stillness of Lake Mead in the evening.

  • Enjoy a short stop at the Boulder Islands, where you can swim in the moonlight.

  • Create memories with friends, family, or a loved one.

during this breathtaking tour, kayakers

This beginner friendly tour creates a truly memorable experience. 

Gear Up for Your Kayak Adventure

Embarking on a kayaking tour with Desert Adventures means you’re in for a treat not just in terms of the experience, but also the gear provided. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day adventure, you’ll be equipped with the necessary accessories to ensure your experience is safe, comfortable, and enjoyable. From high-quality kayaks to camping gear, we've got you covered, so all you need to do is paddle and enjoy the ride.

Some of the gear provided includes:

  • High-quality kayaks

  • Paddles

  • Life jackets / PFDs

  • Dry bags

  • Camping gear 

  • Navigational lights

With all of these essentials taken care of, you can focus on exploring and enjoying your kayaking adventure, even for amateur kayakers.

Day Trip Essentials

On day trips, expect to be outfitted with all the kayaking essentials. You’ll be properly fit with a touring kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device (PFD), along with basic paddling instruction to get you started on your journey. But that’s not all – to keep you fueled and hydrated, lunch, snacks, and bottled water are also included, ensuring that you have everything you need for a day of adventure on the water.

This thorough attention to detail means you can leave your worries on the shore and immerse yourself in the experience, whether you’re skimming across the calm surface of Lake Mead or navigating the twists and turns of the Colorado River. With every logistical aspect taken care of, you’re free to focus on the fun and the beauty that surrounds you.

Multi-Day Adventure Gear

For those who choose to indulge in a multi-day kayaking trip, Desert Adventures ensures you’re well-equipped for the great outdoors. Not only will you have access to top-notch kayaking gear, but you’ll also be provided with all the camping essentials, including:

  • Tents

  • Sleeping bags

  • Sleeping pads

  • Pillows

  • Stoves with fuel

  • Cooking sets and kitchen equipment

  • Firepans / firewood

  • Folding chairs

  • Coolers

  • Menu planning and meal prep

multi-day adventure gear
A group of paddlers sets up their accommodations for the evening.

These amenities make your nights under the stars as enjoyable as your days on the water.

Moreover, meals are a highlight of these trips, with fresh ingredients and campfire cooking adding a delicious dimension to your adventure. Desert Adventures guides are proficient with a knife and cutting board as well as a paddle.  You can expect local deli prepared lunches on most day trips, as well as snacks.  Multi-day expeditions will feature more indulgent meals for dinner and breakfast, with light lunches. 

meals for dinner and breakfast, with light lunches.

Imagine starting your day with a hearty breakfast cooked over an open flame, paddling through the day, and then winding down with a satisfying meal as the sun sets. It’s an experience that elevates kayaking to an art form, blending the thrill of exploration with the comforts of home.

Exclusive Look at Multi-Day Kayak Trips

The very mention of multi-day kayaking tours conjures images of winding waterways, geothermal hot springs, and breathtaking slot canyons. These excursions, often designed for small groups, go beyond the paddle, offering a comprehensive adventure that includes hikes to picturesque waterfalls, exploration of sauna caves, and intimate encounters with the local wildlife.

With Desert Adventures, your multi-day journey will be one for the books, replete with catered meals and all necessary paddling gear.

Ringbolt Run Kayak Camping

Ringbolt Run Kayak Camping

The Ringbolt Run Kayak Camping is a stellar 2-day odyssey that includes:

  • Kayaking

  • Camping in the wilderness

  • Paddling

  • Visiting hot springs

  • Exploring slot canyons

  • Swimming

  • Spotting wildlife

  • Delving into caves

  • Capturing the beauty of the outdoors through photography

At $499 per person, it’s an all-inclusive adventure that offers a plethora of activities.

While this trip is accessible to beginners, it does require a reasonable level of fitness, as the activities can be strenuous. It’s an ideal choice for those looking to push their boundaries and experience the great outdoors in a new and exciting way, making it a perfect addition to your bucket list. As night falls, you’ll find yourself camping under a canopy of stars, sharing stories by the campfire, and preparing for another day of adventure.

Eldorado Gold Kayak Trip

This 4-day multisport expedition packs the best parts of the National Water Trail into one adventure. Your guide will lead your group to places such as Gold Strike Canyon, Lone Palm Canyon, Arizona Hot Springs, Monkey Hole, and the Chalk Cliffs. Spend several days gliding along the river, camping under the stars, and enjoying healthy meals riverside.

Eldorado Gold Kayak Trip
Our most extensive tour, the 4-day Eldorado Gold, takes you through hidden canyons and historic waterways. It's a deep dive into both adventure and the history of the region.

Launch at the Hoover Dam and spend the first day exploring slot canyons and relaxing in natural hot springs. Scramble up boulders as you hike to ancient rock art left by the indigenous Mojave tribes who inhabited the area. You may see Desert Bighorn sheep, bald eagles, coyotes, and turkey vultures. Anglers can bring a rod & reel, and try their hand at some world-class striped bass fishing.

The lower section of the water trail is more remote and paddlers are less likely to encounter other kayakers while camping. If you are seeking solitude and a break from the crowds, this is it. 

Fresh meals will be enjoyed around the campfire, and evenings are free to relax, read, hike, or explore on your own. Enjoy the sounds of the river as it lulls you to sleep, embers popping from the campfire.

At Eldorado Canyon, explore the inner workings of the most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. Visit 3 different shafts, which descend over 900 feet.

For an extended escapade, the 4-day Eldorado Gold Kayak Trip invites you to:

  • Explore the depths of hidden canyons

  • Travel historic waterways

  • Discover oneself

  • Discover nature’s hidden treasures

  • Discover stories etched into the landscape

As you paddle along, each bend in the river reveals something new and exhilarating, making this trip an unmatched adventure for those with a thirst for the extraordinary.

The Eldorado Gold Kayak Trip offers:

  • A blend of physical challenge and awe-inspiring vistas

  • An experience that transcends the ordinary

  • A journey that will linger in your memory long after the kayaks have been stored away.

Planning Your Kayak Trip: Tips and Tricks

As you prepare for your kayaking adventure, a few tips and tricks can make all the difference. Dressing in layers is a great start, as it allows you to adapt to changing weather conditions; quick-drying fabrics are especially useful for staying comfortable throughout the day. Additionally, choosing the right tour for your skill level and interests is crucial, whether it’s a peaceful paddle at Emerald Cave or an action-packed excursion down the Colorado River.

Don’t forget to ensure your photography gear is ready to capture those memorable moments. With the stunning landscapes and wildlife you’ll encounter, you’ll want to have your camera to document your journey.

Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Camera

  • Lenses

  • Tripod

  • Extra batteries

  • Memory cards

  • Lens cleaning kit

  • Camera bag

  • Dry bag to keep your equipment safe from water

With these items, you can snap away without worry, enjoy snacks, and capture all the amazing sights during your journey.

Kayaking with a Guide: Why It's Worth It

Opting for professional guided kayak tours can greatly enhance your paddling adventure, and for good reason. Safety is paramount, and professional guides are not only knowledgeable about kayaking techniques but also about the local waterways and weather conditions. These experts are equipped to handle any situation that may arise, giving you peace of mind as you focus on enjoying the journey.

Beyond safety, local guides offer:

  • An educational perspective, sharing insights about the ecosystem, history, and wildlife in the area

  • Access to scenic locations and wildlife observation spots that might otherwise go unnoticed

  • Support for the local economy

  • An enriched overall experience, making your adventure as rewarding for the community as it is for you.

Booking Your Las Vegas Kayak Experience

Ready to take the plunge and book your Las Vegas kayak experience? We at Desert Adventures make it simple and stress-free. Call our reservation line at +1 (702) 293-5026 today to inquire about our various tours and secure your spot effortlessly. Our knowledgeable reservation staff is here to assist you in selecting the tour that best fits your desires and skill level.

Whether you’re intrigued by the adventure of the Ringbolt Run Kayak Camping or captivated by the allure of the Eldorado Gold Kayak Trip, we provide all the details you need to make an informed decision. Don’t hesitate—make the call now and get ready for an experience that promises to be one of your most unforgettable adventures yet.

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