In the Victorian era, extreme sports were limited to teatime without doilies, writing witty satires about earnestness, and riding a pennyfarthing down a mild incline. Today's Groupon would shock such staid sensibilities: for $15, you get a Hoover Dam rafting tour from Black Canyon River Adventures (a $33 value). The tour departs daily at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. inside the Hacienda Hotel and Casino, located about 32 miles from downtown Las Vegas.
Transportation from the Hacienda will drop each party at the launch pad in the base of the Hoover Dam for a 90-minute tour de aqua. Like a trilobite developing a pair of sturdy human legs, slither aboard the large and comfortable raft, which resembles a giant stack of four bananas and is snugly furnished with all required safety equipment. The knowledgeable and friendly guide injects adventurers with nuggets of knowledge about the area's history while they snap scrapbook-worthy photos of big-horn sheep, osprey, great-blue heron, and perhaps the rare sight of a cloud in the sky. Stretch out stiff neck muscles with breath-stealing views up and down the canyon of the Hoover Dam, Bypass Bridge, and the humbling canyon walls.
After the rafting experience is finished, guests have the choice to return to the Hacienda and from there drive to the Hoover Dam parking lot and enjoy a guided tour of the dam itself. Like getting a free pizza or spotting a Mexican grizzly bear, the Hoover Dam rafting tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be sure to wear hiking or walking shoes and sunscreen and consider bringing sunglasses, and a camera. Lunch is not included, so be sure to pack a sustaining loaf of elven flatbread.
Black Canyon River Adventures
The year 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of guided rafting tours through the Colorado River's Black Canyon. Created by volcanic activity over the course of millennia, its walls rise more than 2,000 feet above the Colorado River’s edge. Rafters glide between these walls on the company’s assorted rafting tours, which also incorporate visits to sites such as the Hoover Dam or the Techatticup Mine, where they learn about area mining history.