Explore the BLACK CANYON on a Standup Paddle Board
Running the Arizona-Nevada border on the Black Canyon with the Tahoe SUP EXPLORE Team
It seemed impossible that this translucent green, vibrant ribbon of cold water could exist in such a hot and arid landscape. But there it was. A river, deep and full of life. Sculpting its way through towering desert canyon walls, cutting into the stone heart of this land for the last 5 million years.
only recently introduced.
Our mission in the Black Canyon along the Colorado River was not as noble as my daydreaming would suggest. We were there to have fun. 3 days of fun. And in the first mile on the river the reality of how I got here was washing away
Not exactly roughing it
We spent the next 2 days pretty much like kids during recess. Paddling our way further upstream and drifting back down to camp, exploring and looking for rocks to jump off. Someone would duck into a cave and yell, “hey check this out!”, or come across another hot spring. There were spots where you could literally stand on your board in the river and take a hot shower under water geothermally heated by the Earth’s crust. Boy Scout Canyon seemed to invite us in and we pulled the boards out of the water and climbed up to have some lunch to the soothing sounds of hot spring water cascading off the cliffs.
Small herds of desert bighorn sheep peered curiously from precarious outcroppings, either because they don’t see people standing on the river much or because of the presence of Stella, an Aussie/Boarder Collie, perched on the nose of a board.
The appropriately named Sauna Cave sits just below the Hoover Dam and if you ask me, more fascinating. Rumor is, (fact actually) that the tunnel was drilled by miners working on Hoover Dam looking for a diversion route for the river. They drilled into the hot spring and aborted the location. The pitch black, narrow tunnel extends about 30 yards underground and creeping back there with only your hand on the wall to guide you was like the best haunted house with the addition of shin deep, 105 degree water. We had put a check on everything on the list and our little adventure was coming to an end. Between the desert heat and our excited, back and forth and up and down the river paddling for 3 days, it was time to call it good, raft the boards together and enjoy a nice drift back down the river.
Make your own secrets
The Black Canyon may not have many secrets left or areas left unmapped, but it serves an important purpose. Sure, it was a blast to have nothing but time on our hands. A perfect amphibious environment to play in and the perfect standup boards to do it on. But because the Black Canyon has an easy level of accessibility it exposes a wide audience of people to its beauty. So, it stands a good chance of instilling visitors with the importance of preserving natural lands for future generations.