NOTICE: We are suspending rafting tour until Labor Day weekend.

​Kayaking vs. River Rafting at Hoover Dam: What Should I Do?

The Hoover Dam is one of the most photo-worthy spots in the Southwest. Standing at 726 feet tall, it’s America’s largest concrete gravity-arch dam and the most visited dam in the world. While many of the 7 million annual visitors here opt to take the Power Plant Tour, the Colorado River below boasts an even more impressive view.

Located just minutes from Hoover Dam and within easy driving distance from Las Vegas, Black Canyon River Adventures offers several tour options for travelers. Rent a canoe or kayak for the day and enjoy paddling down the river at your own pace. Or, hop on a motorized river raft and take off for a 1.5- or 3-hour scenic tour of the Black Canyon River Trail, which flows about 30 miles downstream inside Lake Mead Recreation Area.

How do you know which option is right for you? Take the quiz below to find out if river rafting or kayaking is the ultimate way for you to see Hoover Dam and the award-winning Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

1. How large is the group you’re traveling with?
a)    1-2 people
b)    3-4 people
c)     5 or more

2. What is your fitness level?
a)    Above average: We exercise regularly and enjoy hiking or sport activities.
b)    Average: We participate in active pursuits occasionally, or my group includes mixed ability levels.
c)     Below average: My group has members with physical limitations, or we prefer more sedentary pursuits.

3. What would you rather see at the Hoover Dam?
a)    Everything! I want to visit every nook and cranny.
b)    Wildlife at play.
c)     Major sites like the dam, bridge and sauna cave.

3. How good is your camera (and/or your camera skills)?
a)    Not great. I can take decent selfies, but have difficulty capturing movement or action.
b)    Not bad. I’m handy with a smartphone.
c)     Very good. I can easily get motion shots and stills with my smartphone or digital camera.

4. How solid is your balance?
a)    Awesome. I could balance on one foot all day long (or at least for five minutes).
b)    Pretty good. I’m no Shannon Miller, but I can walk a straight line.
c)     Leaning towards shaky. I’m most comfortable with two feet firmly on the ground, thanks.

5. Do you prefer going it alone or being in a group?
a)    I’m definitely a lone wolf.
b)    I’m happy alone or as part of a team.
c)     I love being with other people. Group events are more fun!

6. How much do you know about Hoover Dam?
a)    I’m a treasure trove of historic dam facts.
b)    I know a little, but I’d like to learn more.
c)     It holds back water??

7. Have you ever ridden in a canoe or kayak before?
a)    Sure! I’m a natural on the water.
b)    Once or twice.
c)     Never. I have no idea what to do.

8. Would you take a dip in a cold river?
a)    I’d be the first to jump in.
b)    Maybe, if the rest of my group went swimming.
c)     No way! I don’t mind a little water, but I’m not going overboard for it.

SCORING: GIVE YOURSELF FIVE (5) POINTS FOR EACH A, THREE (3) POINTS FOR EACH B, AND ONE (1) POINT FOR EACH C YOU ANSWERED. ADD UP YOUR TOTAL POINTS. 

8-19 points: RIVER RAFTER. Considering your skill level and interests, our motorized raft tours are the best way for your group to see Hoover Dam and the Black Canyon Water Trail without getting (too) wet. You’ll also get plenty of local history and facts from our helpful guides.

20-27 points: EXPLORER. You might not have the experience, but you’re willing to test the waters with something new. You and your group could easily do either activity, so choose the experience that most interests you. Contact Black Canyon River Adventures at 800-455-3490 or book your Hoover Dam adventure online.

28-40 points: KAYAK KING. Your spirit of adventure and comfortability on the water make kayaking a natural fit. With a solo or tandem kayak, you set your own schedule. Click here for information on daily and hourly kayak rentals at Willow Beach Marina.

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