Trip of the Week: Explore Colorado River on scenic rafting tour

The three Colorado River raft tours offered by Black Canyon River Adventures annually provide thousands of river runners with splendid scenery, glimpses of the past, views of wildlife and access to hot springs, waterfalls and other features.

The float trips are a gentle introduction to river rafting, on a portion of the Colorado that was tamed by Hoover Dam and no longer features white-water rapids.

Two of the three tours assemble each morning at the Black Canyon River Adventures desk in the Hacienda Hotel along U.S. Highway 93 between Boulder City and the turnoff to Hoover Dam. The third tour assembles at Railroad Pass.

The Hacienda Hotel, in the process of being sold, will be renamed the Hoover Dam Lodge and is expected to close for a week for renovations later this month. When that happens, the raft company desk and tour assembly area will be temporarily relocated. Call 702-294-4267 for details or check the website at blackcanyonadventures.com. Select a tour, reserve a date and pay in advance online, by phone or at the tour desk.

The most popular of the three tours is a half-day narrated float trip through Black Canyon to Willow Beach with a return trip by bus.

After being bused to the river, tour patrons board motorized pontoon rafts that carry about 20 passengers. From the raft, everyone gets unforgettable views of the dam and the bypass bridge downriver from it. The guides point out animals spotted along the way and explain the significance of the huge ringbolts in the cliffs, remnants from the 1800s, when steamboats plied the Colorado.

The tour includes stops for riverbank exploration. Drinking water and a box-lunch picnic on a beach are included.

Check in at the tour desk between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. This tour costs $87.95 for adults, $82.95 for ages 13 to 15 and $53.95 for ages 5 to 12. Children younger than 5 tour for free.

The company also offers the shorter Hoover Dam Postcard Tour, which takes about 1½ hours and includes a 30-minute raft trip. As the name implies, this tour provides plenty of opportunities for scenic photos.

Assemble at the tour desk for this tour between 10:15 and 10:30 a.m. It costs $33 for all passengers. Drinking water is provided.

The longest excursion, the eight-hour Colorado River Exploration Tour, assembles at Railroad Pass Casino on U.S. 93 between 8 and 9 a.m. Buses then head for historic Eldorado Canyon, where passengers step back into mining history at the famed Tehatticup Mine, Southern Nevada’s oldest and richest gold mine.

The tour continues along a scenic highway to meet the watercraft at Nelson’s Landing on the upper reaches of Lake Mohave. The rafts then head upriver toward Willow Beach. The return trip by bus includes a stop at the dam.

This tour costs $199 for adults, $194 for ages 13 to 15 and $101 for ages 5 to 12.

All three tours are offered daily.

Margo Bartlett Pesek’s column appears on Sundays.