Author Topic: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River  (Read 10459 times)

levity

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Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« on: April 22, 2013, 09:21:51 AM »
Upper Black Canyon from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach is only 12 miles, but exploring side canyons and hot springs along the way can occupy the better part of a day.  Mrs. levity and I decided to paddle straight thru the upper section so we could continue thru Lower Black Canyon and the next take-out at El Dorado Canyon (another 12 miles).  Conditions on April 18 looked perfect: irrigation water release from the dam for a good current and north winds for some added push.  (There are more pics of the upper canyon here www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=18028.0)


Here’s a view from Hoover Dam showing the launch site below, just beyond the boom that extends across the river.   For scale the bridge is ~850’ above the river.




The new arch bridge (2010) spanning the canyon allows Hwy 93 to bypass the dam.




Entering the upper canyon -




A nice beach along the way -




After a lunch stop at the Willow Beach Marina we headed off into the lower secion.  A couple views of the start -







Proceeding down canyon -







Checking out “Monkey Rock” -




Then the canyon narrows up again…







before opening up into the reaches of upper Lake Mojave and the El Dorado Canyon take-out.


« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 09:31:01 AM by levity »

SteamboatBORN

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 10:59:09 AM »
What would you recommend as best time of the year to go to avoid people, and heat?

levity

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 08:14:22 PM »
Hi Steamboat,

October -> March is probably best with cooler temps and fewer visitors. Summers are hot and get crowded with powercraft.
Fall is especially nice, but water levels and current flow are higher in spring (to provide water for irrigation downstream).
Fewer folks mid week. Sundays and Mondays in upper Black Cyn are nice because Power boats and PWCs are not allowed.

Be aware that permits are required to put in at Hoover Dam due to security, and you have to employ a registered Outfitter service to take your boat/board down.  Launch times are restricted to 7, 8 and 9 AM only.  Permits are limited and sell out in advance on weekends and during busy seasons.  Permits are not required to launch from Willow Beach.

You can stay at the Hacienda Motel/Casino near the dam where the launches are staged - it's cheap if you book in advance.  Alternatively, you can camp at Willow Beach and get a morning shuttle to the Hacienda from the Outfitter.

Main thing to watch for any time of year is the wind direction. South winds, common in spring and summer, can be pretty strong making paddling very difficult as waves push up against the river current; launches can be cancelled.  North winds tend to be weaker in the canyon than reported by weather stations and make for fun downwinders in any case.  We schedule our trips based on weather.com and windfinder.com predictions.

It may sound complicated, but it's really pretty simple and well worth the trip!

Have fun, Larry

SteamboatBORN

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 07:42:27 AM »
Sounds amazing! Great pics!!! I think we are going to try to get down there in October when it starts to get colder here in Steamboat. Do a road trip from here to Moab, Black Canyon, etc. Thanks for the advice!

tallguy

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 07:46:55 PM »
Hey all, I know this is an old post but had to revive it.  WOW!!  One really beautiful spot, Great flatwater paddle!!  Just did this last week with my 72 yr old bro, who is 6 months off of major knee surgery.  After months of major rehab it was his first attempt at SUP, and it was a major uplift to his tired soul.  He rented a crossover plastic board with a flip up kayak style seat from the outfitter (Desert River Outfitters..Bullhead City...Helen was great to work with!) we used for the shuttle, which was perfect for his condition.  We launched from the Dam, and he managed to stand for about half the trip down to Willow Beach.  The best kind of rehab...
Anyway, this is an easy must do bucket list-er, for those who like flatwater paddlin in deep, dark desert canyons.

Who doesn't??

We had glass for most of the trip, but the canyon got the last laugh in the last 1/2 mile, wind came on strong upriver in our face in about 10 mins, gusting to 30.  Felt good to be in the desert, warm, and out of snow. 

Do this trip if you get a chance....Aloha



Larry2c

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 05:34:42 PM »
Hey Tall Guy - thanks for reviving the thread! I've been looking for a winter trip I can do where I can take our trailer and let the wife kick back with the dogs all day while I go paddling. This looks like a great option. I read the entire thread and did some searches for the campground levity mentioned but came up dry - maybe it's not under the same name anymore? Anyway, if anyone knows a good campground on the river that would give access for this trip, I'm interested!

levity

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 06:44:01 PM »
Just received notification of these replies to this "old" thread.   8)

Willow Beach Marina
25804 Willow Beach Rd,
Willow Beach, AZ 86445

1-800-455-3490

http://www.willowbeachharbor.com


A few more pics of the marina area and the canyon can be found here -

http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=22362.0


If you're traveling a distance you might also consider visiting Topock Gorge, a short ways down river.  Here are a couple of threads describing that section.

http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=18013.0

http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=20171.0


Both sections provide nice flatwater paddling and some sweet scenery.
Strong south winds can make it tough going - be sure to check windfinder.com and the weather prediction.

Have fun!

Night Wing

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 08:12:10 PM »
@levity

I'm like a cat. My curiosity always gets me.

If you don't mind me asking, the board Mrs Levity is paddling. What make and model is it along with it's length, width, thickness and liters?
SUP Sports Hammer: 8'11" x 31" x 4" @ 140 Liters
SUP Sports One World: 11'1" x 30" x 4.5" @ 173 Liters

levity

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 08:40:19 PM »
The gray/blue inflatable in this thread and some of the others is an one-off Uli that Jim made around 2010/11.

It's 12'6" x 26" x 4" - just enough volume for her 115 lb. and some gear.

She's since added a Uli "wiki-rail" to the tail which gives it a bit more float and glide.

Uli does some custom boards, so you can spec length, width, shape, thickness and fabric.

Night Wing

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 08:56:06 PM »
@levity

Thank you for the quick reply. I've file that info for future reference which might come in handy one day.
SUP Sports Hammer: 8'11" x 31" x 4" @ 140 Liters
SUP Sports One World: 11'1" x 30" x 4.5" @ 173 Liters

wilder

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Re: Black Canyon: Hoover Dam to El Dorado on the Colorado River
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2017, 09:50:33 AM »
Great shots! My Friend Ryan and I sup'd the upper section last winter and it was awesome. Spent a lot of time exploring and chilling in the hot springs, would love to go back and do an overnighter!