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Kayaking & Canoeing Black Canyon
Black Canyon Expeditions
Description Itinerary Photos Reviews Questions Packing List


What kind of kayaks do you use?
Our guided trips are equipped with high performance touring kayaks made by top names such as SEDA, Jackson, Delta, Current Designs, and Necky, just to name a few. They are strong, fast, and lightweight. These top of the line boats have rudders to make steering easy, along with sealed hatches to keep your items protected. Our fleet contains these high performance boats, as well as recreational boats, sit-on-top kayaks, and canoes from Ocean Kayak, Bic Sports,and Old Town.

What is included on a guided trip?
Guided trips are all inclusive. You will get personalized service, great equipment, freshly prepared and tasty meals, and a professionally trained guide. Most kayaks will have a rudder for easy steering, and we will give you a dry bag to keep your essentials dry. Overnight trips include tents, sleeping bags, pillows, pads, and all kitchen and cooking equipment. A guided trip is the best value for your money. Your guide has knowledge of water currents, scenic spots to hike, wildlife patterns, and is equipped to deal with emergencies. If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable about kayaking, or are a first time paddler, we recommend a guided trip.

How much should I tip my guide?
Your guides work very hard to make sure your experience is rewarding and memorable. They often spend hours preparing before your trip to ensure your comfort and physical needs are met. During a trip, your guide is constantly on the lookout to minimize risks and maximize enjoyment. They appreciate your verbal praise and thanks, as well as monetary gratuities. Any cash tips can be given to the guide at the end of the trip. Gratuities generally range between 10%-20% of the total trip price, at your discretion.

I don't know how to swim. Can I still go?
Although it is extremely beneficial to know how to swim and will greatly aid in your safety, it is your choice. Swimming, in most cases, is optional. Nature can be unpredictable though, and there is always the possibility of capsizing. Cold water and swift currents present risks as well. Personal flotation devices are properly fitted to you, and are mandatory on all paddling trips. Our guides are trained in river rescue techniques, as well as First Aid and CPR. They know how to read currents, and can help get you back into your boat if the need arises. While we take every precaution to minimize risks and provide a safe, enjoyable experience, ultimately the decision to take this risk is up to you.

Is there white water? Will I tip over?
Most days, the river is moving flat water, with no rapids. Depending on wind, weather, and flow rates, there can be choppy water, rolling waves, and even large swells along the way. We use touring kayaks and most people make it through the day without an out-of-boat experience, (although there are no guarantees). This doesn't mean that you should take this river lightly. The Colorado is a big cold river, and there can be strong currents, eddies, hidden obstacles, and other unforeseen circumstances that may pose a threat. Our guides are prepared for this and will help steer you in the right direction for a memorable experience.

Will I get wet?
Yes. This is a river trip! You will definitely get wet at least up to your knees. Anything above that is considered a bonus. The river is 54F degrees year round. It is quite refreshing during the heat of summer, but unless you want to become part of the polar bear club, too cold for winter swimming. Bathing suits are recommended for the hot springs. We will give you a dry bag to keep your belongings dry.

What kind of experience do your guides have?
Our guides have been paddling personally and professionally for years. They possess a vast knowledge of the history of the area, wildlife, plants, weather patterns, and river currents. Before they can become trip leaders, they must undergo an intense training programs which includes group management, risk management, rescue techniques, wind and weather, river kayaking, towing, physical skills tests, and written tests. All guides are certified in CPR/AED, Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace, and all USDOT regulations. We carry satellite phones, marine radios, SPOT GPS trackers, or cell phones on our trips.

What should I bring/wear?
In summer: Shorts and a T-shirt, along with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Wear a bathing suit under layers of clothing. Some people prefer long sleeves to protect from sun exposure. Be sure to wear river sandals or old tennis shoes that can get wet. Flip flops are not suitable for the area; the algae and moss is very slippery and flip flops don't give enough support. You should definitely bring a camera or buy a waterproof disposable.
In winter: Bathing suit under long sleeves and pants (no cotton). Cotton tends to retain water, so fleece or synthetic material is best for cold weather. Nylon, polyester, capilene, and polypropylene work wonders. A light fleece jacket keeps you warm after soaking, and a pair of wool socks will warm your feet even when wet. A ski-type beanie or hat that covers your ears is oh-so-nice and a light pair of gloves will keep your digits warm and toasty. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen. Water shoes or river sandals will be fine. Don't forget the camera!

What if I am a beginner?
You may start as a beginner, but you will end the trip as a confident kayaker. Our guides are professionals and we introduce newcomers to the sport everyday. A high percentage of our trips consist of first-time paddlers or those who have tried it once or twice. Because of this, we use lightweight kayaks equipped with rudders for easy steering. All trips will receive a pre-trip orientation as well as basic paddling instructions. What better way to try a new sport?

Is there a minimum age requirement?
For guided trips, we recommend the child be at least 6 years old and paddle in a tandem kayak with an adult, or 14 years old if they wish to paddle their own kayak. Your guide may rearrange people throughout the day to balance the ability of the group. If you feel you can paddle for two, well we won't stop you. Just remember, the trip is almost 12 miles.

Are there any restrictions in the canyon?
There are no campsite restrictions in the canyon, as long as you pack out what you pack in, and practice Leave No Trace ethics. It is recommended that large groups bring a portable toilet or groover, although it is not required. Depending on spring rains and weather conditions, fire restrictions may be in effect; please inquire when planning your trip. There is absolutely no cutting or gathering of wood or downed vegetation. Fishing requires a license in either AZ or NV and a stamp from the other state. A trout stamp is required for trout fishing.

Do you rent or sell equipment?
Yes to both. We rent boats, paddles, coolers, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and camping equipment. Digital waterproof cameras can be rented for the day, and photos burned to a high resolution DVD for you to take home. In our retail shop you can find last minute items such as sunscreen, dry bags, waterproof cameras, batteries, film, squirt guns, etc. If you are looking for a new kayak, we can definitely set you up with everything you need. Want to save a few bucks? We sell used equipment as well.

When should I make a reservation?
Permits sell out quickly, sometimes up to six months in advance. You should make your reservations as early as possible to secure a permit. Holidays and weekends book up quickly, so be sure to call before making big plans.

Where do we meet and what time will I get back?
We will pick you up at your hotel between 6:00-6:15 a.m. We will be kayaking by 8am and off the river by 3:30 pm. Depending on traffic at the Hoover Dam, we should arrive back at your hotel between 5:30-6pm.

What is the best time of year to go?
Anytime! Our guides favor the fall and winter with calm, glassy waters, no motor boats, and fewer crowds. Daytime winter temperatures hover in the low 60s, making the hot springs inviting as steam rises above their surface. Springtime brings colorful wildflowers, newborn wildlife, and warmer temperatures. Winds can sometimes be brutal during March and April. Summer is just plain hot, but is still our busiest time of year. You are almost guaranteed to see bighorn sheep drinking from the river, and a good swim in the cold water is invigorating to say the least. We run trips year round, with a season for everyone!

Do you offer any discounts for children or locals?
For our guided day trips, we offer a $10 discount for children 14 years and younger. Locals receive $20 off any guided trip and $5 off any rental (must present a ID).

Is there a minimum number required for your trips?
The minimum # of people required for a guided kayak, hiking, or biking trip is two (2) people. Overnight camping trips and certain multi-sport trips may have different requirements.

Do you supply alcohol? May we bring our own?
No. Alcohol is not permitted, and you must not have any mind altering drugs in your system if you want to participate. For the safety of our guides, drivers, guests, and everyone involved - if we feel you are intoxicated we will refuse service, without a refund.

Should I buy travel insurance?
If you are concerned about the possibility of having to cancel, we strongly suggest you purchase trip cancellation insurance to protect your vacation investment. Our cancellation policy will apply in every instance, with no exceptions for any reason. Desert Adventures is not responsible for any expenses incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations, or illness. Desert Adventures assumes no financial responsibility for personal injury, emergency evacuation, or equipment lost or damaged in any way.

What if I have to cancel?
We have a 14 day cancellation policy. Cancellations made 2 weeks prior to departure date will receive a full refund, minus a 6% processing fee. Cancellations made within those dates will be issued a percentage of their refund, with absolutely no refunds or rescheduling within 48 hours. If you must reschedule, we require 48 hours notice and rescheduling fees will apply. Desert Adventures will not issue any refund for leaving a trip early. Trips run rain or shine. Desert Adventures reserves the right to cancel trips due to weather, road closures, or unsafe conditions. In this case, we will reschedule, issue a credit, or refund money, depending on individual circumstances. For more information see our Payment & Cancellation Policies section, or call our offices.


PERMITS:   NPS permits are limited and sell out quickly (up to 6 months in advance!)                     Call 702-293-5026 to reserve your permits today.


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