Viva Las Vegas baby! Located in southern Nevada, Las Vegas is an indulgent oasis in the desert. Look past the shimmering promise of The Strip and you will discover even more beauty and wonder in the place. Venture off the Las Vegas Strip of mirages and discover the spectacular surrounding scenery, complete with lakes and rivers perfect for paddle boarding!
Yes, you heard us right. Paddle boarding in the desert of Las Vegas is a thing. And we are going to share with you all the best places to go.
From vast glimmering lakes to twisting bends on the Colorado River, there are a lot of SUP opportunities and hidden gems to be had in Vegas. So step out from the bright lights and discover the peaceful waters, because they really do exist in this dusty landscape.
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The mighty Colorado River is a welcome escape from the glitz and lights of Vegas. A trip here gives you a glimpse into the raw and powerful beauty of the American Southwest.
Aiming to paddle the Colorado River in its entirety may be a lifetime dream-worthy adventure. Why not just start small and build it up from there? Here are two spots on the Colorado River that are within reach of Las Vegas for you to tick off.
Emerald Cave (sometimes called Emerald Cove on maps) is a natural rock formation that is best explored by paddle board or kayak. The cave is relatively small, so it is important you time your paddle right to avoid the crowds. We recommend getting out on the water early with your SUP. This will also give you the best lighting to see all the shades of green reflecting throughout the cave.
To get to Emerald Cave, you have to be prepared to paddle from either the Hoover Dam launch site or Willow Beach. If you are a novice paddle boarder, we do recommend you join a certified tour group to ensure your safety.
Top tip: the morning gives you the most dramatic colors in the Emerald Cave, so head early to avoid disappointment.
Willow Beach is a 1-hour drive from Las Vegas and is located on the Colorado River. Surrounded by steep and dramatic cliffs, Willow Beach is a paddle boarder's dream. It can be worked into an expedition route from the Hoover Dam including a stop off at Emerald Cove along the way. Or paddlers can simply enjoy the calm waters and find their balance, perhaps in a downward facing dog on the SUP.
Along with the peace and serenity of the Nevada desert, this area of the Colorado River offers a glimpse into the local wildlife. There are secret hot springs, waterfalls, and hidden coves all within paddle distance of the beach.
The Hoover Dam is one of America’s most iconic landmarks. So to say that you have paddle-boarded the Hoover Dam is a pretty damn cool thing to say in our opinion!
Of course, the Dam is a high-security zone so therefore a permit is required to enter these waters. There are a number of outfitters in the area that can assist with this. The launch site is on the south side of the Dam so you can continue to paddle down to Emerald Cave and Willow Beach if you wanted a bit more of an adventure.
If you are a social paddler then Lake Jacqueline is the place for you! Located in the Desert Shores Community of Las Vegas, this lake is surrounded by attractive houses and a friendly community. The waters here are generally always calm making it a great place for beginners to pick up the paddle.
Lake Jacqueline is a welcome change to the lights of the Vegas strip. Fishing is also permitted on a catch-and-release basis. So make sure you pack your fishing rod and tackle box, SUP fishing is on!
Lake Las Vegas is a 320-acre reservoir that offers a great day out in Vegas. From paddle boarding and kayaking to hiking and golf, this lake has everything! The lake is a popular vacation spot with holiday homes on the shores, resorts, an abundance of hiking trails, and an 18-hole golf course.
Best enjoyed with a good group of friends, Lake Las Vegas is the perfect place to try out the GILI Manta Ray Multi-Person SUP! The enormous amount of water available means you will never feel crowded as well.
Lake Mead has so much potential for paddle boarders to launch, explore, and enjoy the waters of Las Vegas. Surrounded by lush trees and beautiful nature, this reservoir is formed by the Colorado River by the iconic Hoover Dam.
Boating, sailing, swimming, canoeing, and paddle boarding are all super popular on Lake Mead. It is just half an hour from Las Vegas and gives you a complete escape from the glitz and glam. Some key highlights of Lake Mead include:
These waters are suitable for every experience level. However, beginner paddle boarders should be cautious of winds picking up on this enormous lake. Always be sure to check weather conditions before heading out on a SUP.
South of Willow Beach, heading towards Bullhead City, is Lake Mohave. This is the place to go if you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush to go along with your SUP experience. This scenic reservoir offers a huge range of activities including swimming, jet skiing, scuba diving, boating, and fishing.
As it is further out from Las Vegas, Lake Mohave is often a quieter location. So if you want some peace and quiet, paddle away from the jet skis and enjoy the serenity of the raw landscape.
Paddle boarding in Las Vegas, as with anywhere, requires a level of safety when out on the water. From life jackets to weather conditions, safe practice is always a good idea on a SUP.
The best time to visit Las Vegas with a SUP is in May, June, and September. These months have a slightly cooler desert sun meaning you can spend more time during the day outside. Winter months get cooler and also offer pleasant conditions to go paddle boarding in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas has a selection of places to go paddle boarding. Lake Mead and Lake Las Vegas are two of the most popular spots in the area to go out on a SUP. There are a number of outfitters offering SUP rental, but you can also take your own equipment if you wish.
There are several reservoirs in Las Vegas where you can stand up paddle board, including Lake Jacqueline and Lake Mead. From Las Vegas, you can also easily access the Colorado River which has some cool spots to explore by SUP.
Lake Las Vegas does allow people to bring their own SUP equipment, however, there is a daily launch fee of $30. Season passes are available for purchase that offer unlimited launches which allow the option to bring your own stand-up paddle board whenever you please. If you do not have your own SUP, there are a large number of rental stores in the area.
Lake Mead is one of the most popular places in Las Vegas to SUP and enjoys other watersports. There is a selection of launch sites on the lake allowing you to explore different parts of the water and expand your excursion. The lake is only a 30-minute drive out of Las Vegas which makes it a top choice for people to stand up paddle board.
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