This April 14, 2013 photo shows a kayak in the Black Canyon on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. The location is about a mile before the end of a guided trip on the river that begins with a guide company picking you up at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip first thing in the morning and putting in near the Hoover Dam in a federal security zone that requires escort by an authorized livery service. ) Photo: Karen Schwartz
BOULDER CITY, Nev. — It's easy to trade the wild ways of Las Vegas for the wilds of the nearby Colorado River: All it takes is a call to a boating outfitter and a federally-approved form of ID.
That's because the overnight float trips in the Black Canyon put in just below the Hoover Dam, 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas. The massive power plant, which produces enough electricity for 1.3 million people, is located in a security zone enforced by its own federal police force.
Those wanting to paddle this stretch of river must have a launch permit, and traffic is limited to 30 boats per day. The permits are available up to six months in advance and are generally obtained through a government-approved outfitter.
That was fine with me, since for about $350 per person, the operator also provided transportation, a guide