Black Canyon Water Trail
The Black Canyon Water Trail is located along a rugged and remote portion of the Colorado River of Arizona and Nevada. The trail follows the Colorado River through Black Canyon for approximately 30 miles, terminating at the historic mining area known as Eldorado Canyon on Lake Mohave.
Loop Trail? No
Type: National Water Trails System
Entry Fee? $25.00
Launching at Hoover Dam requires a permit, shuttle service and payment of a fee to enter the security zone, which totals approximately $32. Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon will only require the payment of park entrance fees of $10. Due to the location
Parking Fee? No Allowed Uses:
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Boating, non-motorized: Rafting
Heritage and History
Location: The trail is located on the Colorado River beginning at the Hoover Dam Security Zone and extending south for approximately 30 miles to Eldorado Canyon, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
State(s): Nevada, Arizona
Counties: Clark, Mohave
The 30-mile water trail is assessable at three points: Hoover Dam, Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon.
Hoover Dam 36 00' 58.26" 114 44' 13.62"
Willow Beach 35 52' 10.63" 114 39' 38.48"
Eldorado Canyon 35 42' 27.30" 114 42' 28.30"
The Black Canyon Water Trail is located within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park System. The trip begins, as the river flows, at the base of Hoover Dam, one of the engineering marvels of the world and meanders through 30 miles of the Colorado River where it enters Lake Mohave. This spectacular river setting provides unique paddling and rafting opportunities that are not matched in the southwestern United States. There are flowing hot springs in some of the side canyons and a great deal of history associated with the construction of and research connected to Hoover Dam including a sauna cave, gauging stations, catwalks, trails and foundations of early inhabitants.
Approximately 12 miles downstream from Hoover Dam, you arrive at Willow Beach, a developed area which is the only road accessible portion of the 30 mile stretch of river. Willow Beach is a historic river access site and is developed with all the amenities one would associate with a National Park Service development site. Rental craft are available at Willow Beach for those who would like to access the river from this location.
The river, in the next segment, transitions into a lake but maintains the canyon environment with small bays and beaches appearing as you continue down stream. The setting is extreme and remote with designated wilderness on the Nevada side of the river and proposed wilderness on the Arizona side. As you approach Eldorado Canyon, the main canyon opens so that the size of Lake Mohave begins to be realized. The Edorado Canyon is known for its mineral history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, gold and silver mines were active in the mountains that form the horizon in Nevada. Steamboats would transport the ore from Eldorado Canyon down to the Gulf of California and on to mills in southern California.
Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: Rock, boulders
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 2014
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: Trail information
Website: National Park Service
Website: Black Canyon National Water Trail
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
National Park Service
601 Nevada Way
Boulder City, NV 89005
Deputy Area Manager
Bureau of Reclamation
Lower Colorado Dams Office
P.O. Box 60400
Boulder City, NV 89006 -0400
We hired an outfitter to rent our kayaks, get our permit and they dropped us off and picked us back up 3 days later. Launched at Hoover Dam (OMG, WOW) and camped/kayaked to Willow Beach. Amazing camping (wild skunks), kayaking and a ton of hot springs every quarter mile in the slot canyons. AMAZING experience!
January 12, 2023
Submit an Edit
Trail Managers: please use the official NRT update form to update your trail for any of the following changes:
- Change in trail mileage through trail extension
- Change in trail mileage through trail retraction
- Change in trail mileage through significant trail reroute
- Change to trail name
- Change in trail description or use
- Undesignation of trail (removal of NRT designation status)
- Other significant updates
>> Download the official NRT update form.
All other edits can be submitted via the below form: