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Our family just got home from a two-week road trip to the west coast. We tried lots of new and fun things while we were away. But we unanimously agree that the 3-hour rafting trip we took with Black Canyon River Adventures was the high point of our vacation.
The trip began at the base of Hoover Dam. This vantage point afforded us some wonderful views of both the dam (which we later toured) and Bypass Bridge. We took amazing photos of both from restricted areas we would not otherwise have been allowed to access.
From there, we continued 12 miles down the Colorado River in the Black Canyon National Water Trail. The water was remarkably smooth and crystal clear through most of the trip.
We technically traveled through some “white water rapids” toward the end of our tour. But the ride never seemed the least bit treacherous (despite all the requisite waivers we had to sign to participate).
We saw some lovely waterfalls and hidden coves. And lots of wild life, including Desert Big Horn sheep, Great Blue Heron, a red tailed hawk, even a crayfish.
Best of all, we didn’t just observe all these geological wonders from the raft. We docked a couple of times and got out of the boat long enough to touch the hot springs or stroll along the sandy beaches.
Leslie, our river guide, was a veritable fount of information. She’s been giving these tours for 28 years. So we learned a lot from her about the history of the area and the construction of the dam in the three hours we were together.
Our Black Canyon River Adventure included a delicious lunch in a keepsake cooler with a re-useable water bottle. They even offered vegetarian options for those who prefer to follow a plant-based diet (like our Gabbers).
The meal was filling, with plenty of ice cold water to quench our thirst and keep us hydrated and feeling refreshed.
After lunch, our guide set aside time for us to splash in the river. I wish we’d thought to bring our swimsuits, as some of our fellow passengers did.
In the end we opted to wade in fully clothed. The warm sun dried our clothes quickly once we were back in the boat.
In addition to swimwear, I’d recommend wearing sunglasses, a hat, and some good sunscreen (Doug found me some that was 100SPF. I didn’t get the least bit burned, despite spending the hottest part of the day outside in direct sunlight).
You’ll also want to bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet — preferably a style you can slip off easily. It’s fun (and encouraged) to straddle the side of the raft and drag one foot in the water.
And don’t forget your camera, either. Shutterbugs will be rewarded with lots of great shots of the canyon and the wildlife that inhabits it.
Alternatively, you can just lie back and soak up some rays. The tour guide will even provide a cool rag for your neck or head to help you stay cold.
The river tour ultimately deposited us at the Willow Beach Marina, where vans were waiting to drive us back up to our starting point.
We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent on our Black Canyon River Adventure. It was a fun experience for the whole family!
Please note: My husband and I were allowed to take this tour for free as part of a US Family Guide blogger promotion, but we paid full fare for our kids to join us. The experience was worth every penny! Looking for more family-friendly things to do in Vegas? Follow this link. And for smart travel tips that will make any family vacation more memorable, buy a copy of my book.