Explore the Southwest’s Only National Water Trail

Date: April 23, 2017
Category: Blog

Running through the Southwest desert lies the Black Canyon Water Trail, the first trail of its kind to be designated in the United States. The Black Canyon Water Trail includes over 30 miles of wilderness and serenity along the Colorado River. Selected as a National Water Trail in 2014 by the United States Secretary of the Interior, the trail became the first National Water Trail in the Southwest and remains the only National Water Trail in a desert climate.

What is a National Water Trail?
Thanks to a collaborative effort with local, state, regional, and federal organization, a number of unique waterways across the United States have been selected and set aside as National Water Trails. The National Water Trails System was established in 2012 to increase public access to recreation and support the conservation and restoration of our nation’s scenic rivers, lakes, and other waterways. Inclusion in the National Water Trail System is both recognition of a water trail’s scenic and historical significance and a commitment to maintain, conserve, and restore it.

Black Canyon Water Trail Highlights
Beginning at the base of the Hoover Dam and ending at Eldorado Canyon, the Black Canyon Water Trail offers breathtaking scenery. The sheer cliff walls, formed by the El Dorado Mountains to the West and the Black Mountains to the East, tower up to 2,000 feet above the water. All along the trail, there are amazing geological formations, including the precariously perched Balanced Rock and the volcanic barrier known as Dragon’s Back.

The natural beauty of the rock isn’t the only thing that draws visitors’ attention to the canyon’s walls. Desert Big Horn Sheep are often seen on the shores and mountains on either side of the river. The surrounding Lake Mead National Recreation Area is home to a wide variety of desert wildlife that rely on the Colorado River for survival. Osprey and Great Blue Heron are frequently seen fishing along the Black Canyon Water Trail.

Although the completion of the Davis Dam has calmed the waters, the Black Canyon Water Trail includes areas that at one time were home to some of the most difficult rapids on the Colorado River: Ringbolt Rapids. A massive iron ring once used to pull steamboats safely through these dangerous rapids is still embedded in the rock on the Arizona side of the canyon and can be seen from the water.

Come find out for yourself why the magnificent Black Canyon was selected as the Southwest’s first National Water Trail. Take in the spectacular views as you learn about the history of this section of the Colorado River with a guided river tour from Black Canyon River Adventures. Call us today to book your tour and embark on your next adventure.