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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Gang.
I live in Reno. I'm curious if anybody has ever floated, heard of somebody who has floated from Willow Beach to Laughlin Nevada on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam. I know there are other Dams but didn't know if there was a chute to get around it. I have a motor if I need as well.


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The book "River" by Colin Fletcher is a source to sea trip that covers that stretch, but the discussion on it is mostly social commentary.
 

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The section below Hover Dam was recently discussed here, http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f12/black-canyon-of-the-colorado-55901.html

Here is info on the NPS Water Trail, Black Canyon Water Trail - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)

Here is info from the "friends of" with a nice trip planning tab, http://blackcanyonwatertrail.org

Here is a map, http://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/upload/BlackCanyon_handout.pdf

If you go down there please post a trip report. It looks like a unique flat water trip.
 

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Lower coloraod River Below Hoover Dam.

Lake Mohave below Hoover Dam is 63 miles long. the lake actually extends all the way up to Hoover Dam from Davis Dam. When they release water from Hoover Dam to generate electricity there is the appearance of current in the lake but most of that is absorbed by the massive quantity of water in Lake Mohave ( 1/3 of a whole year of run off from the whole Colorado River System is stored in his lake) The lake moves with the wind but not from flow. In the winter the wind is commonly from the north so that if you are paddling you will be pushed down the lake. This can be a blessing or a curse. A gentle breeze will move you down the lake nicely. A strong wind will leave you fighting to keep your boat straight in the wind driven waves. I was part of a 3 person trip in November using traditional sea kayaks and we were constantly battling to keep our yaks going where we wanted to- we were fighting waves 2 and 3 feet tall and with the crests about 13-14 feet apart and all of us were in 17 -18 foot boats. The summer has mostly winds blowing from the south so if you are rowing, you are rowing or paddling into a head wind- it usually starts picking up strength around 11 A.M. as the rocks around the lake heat up and then gets strongest between 2 and 5 and then tapers off.Most people who take out at the lower end of the lake do it at Katherine Landing, a Marina 2 miles up from the dam. Below Davis Dam there is 83 miles before you hit Parker Dam. About 56 miles of that is river, with an average speed of 2 miles per hour in the upper section near Bullhead City and Laughlin and by the time it gets to the Topock Gorge is is about 1/2 mile per hour. Again. Wind is usually from the north here in the winter and from the south from March to October. All of Lake Mohave and the Colorado River until you hit Lake Havasu and to Parker Dam is in the Mohave Desert and the scenery is stark and for those of us who live here really lovely but there are no trees at all but what has come in as invasive species (tamarisk)and landscape plantings. Below Lake Havasu you are in the slightly wetter Sonoran Desert and you have palo verde, mesquite and a few other trees for shade. The section of the river from Parker Dam to Rock Head Gate Dam is about 12 miles, most of it urban. From Rock Head Gate Dam to Palo Verde Dam is 43 miles, some of it with riffles from debris in the water. From Palo Verde Dam just north of Blythe to Imperial Dam, just north of Yuma it is about 90 miles. This is flat water and the part between Walter's Camp about 40 miles south of Blythe of Imperial Dam is about the closest to the way the Colorado River used to be. It has not been dredged, diked, channelized or rip rapped from 2 miles below Walter's Camp to Imperial Dam. Below Imperial Dam there is not much water in the river- kjust enough to float a pack-raft or light kayak and you can paddle into downtown Yuma and a few more miles downstream to the Mexican border at Morales Dam where what is left gets put into canals and delivered to farming communities further south and into Tijuanna more questions about trips out here send me an email at [email protected]. It is a beautiful section of the river, but not perhaps what you thought it would be.
 

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I was about to reply to this thread until I saw Helen had already given you all the information you need. I was on that trip she took in November. The wind can get pretty tricky on Lake Mohave, especially South of Eldorado Canyon. The current is pretty much gone by the time you reach Willowbeach. Best place to go camping along the entire lower Colorado River is between Hoover and Davis Dam. Free camping wherever there's a good spot because is all national recreation area.
Below Davis is a mix of private or tribal land, wilderness refuges, and county parks run by private concessionaires. They'llThey'll all cost $$$ to camp there. There are a few boat in only sights on the AZ side of the river South of Blythe and on Ferguson Lake 11 miles north of Imperial Dam.
The stretch of river with the most variety of water conditions is the 40something miles between Parker and Palo Verde Diversion Dam, but there's almost no place to camp because its primarily reservation land. Also, the scenery through there blows.
Like Helen stated, the best stretch with great views and actual river that isn't dredged is above Yuma through Imperial Wildlife Refuge and Picacho State Rec Area.

BTW, howdy Helen.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm super stoked by this beta I have received. This trip is exactly what I am looking for. I'm planning for a March launch date. Thanks for everything!


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Traveling on Lake Mohave Black Canyon to Katherine Landing

If you want to launch at Hoover Dam you will need to get a permit to do so from one of the outfitters who have the license to launch people at the base of Hoover Dam. They will meet you and take you and your rig to the base of Hoover Dam and get you launched - this is a private Bureau of Reclamation Road and is only used for maintenance on the dam and paddlecraft launch. At least one of the outfitters can also shuttle your vehicle down or make arrangements to shuttle you and your rig from the bottom up to Hoover Dam for the launch if you don't know anyone in the area who can do it for you. If you don't mind skipping the hot springs you can self launch at Willow Beach and just do the section from there to Katherine Landing- 51 miles, but the hot springs are one of the reasons that people like to do this trip. If you want a map of the lake with all the mile markers on it try the Fish N Map of Lake Mohave. It is the most accurate and the most usable. If you have any questions get in touch.
 
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