Lake Mead / Black Canyon in January

I posted this one in “BWCA and Beyond” but it didn’t get any play. Anyone here have anything?

My wife and I are looking for flat water and some solitude in January. 8 to 10 days of paddling and hiking. Some things I have heard:

  • Temperatures are in the 40s and 50s in the Black Canyon during January. (Compared to Chicago, this is great)

  • Wind

  • Low water on Lake Mead exposes more beaches and this is good (?)

  • Mice are prolific along the Colorado River

  • Launch below Hoover Dam is closed. Willow Beach is next best

  • Black Canyon is shaded most of the time

    Does anyone else have thoughts? Cool places to see. Places to avoid. Etc.

Black Canyon thoughts

– Last Updated: Dec-14-06 8:34 PM EST –

January is a great time to explore the desert. if you are not bringing your own boats, call Desert Adventures, they rent composite kayaks & camping gear as well offering guided trips ( They'll also have lots more info on the area. If you can hit the Black Canyon mid-week, you'll miss all of the weekenders and have the place to yourself.

+ Temperatures: Think cold at night, reasonable in sun, nippy in shadows. But, the Colorado is COLD, of course the hot springs somewhat help offset that.

+ Wind: calm in morning, cover lake miles early, afternoon winds typical and brisk.

+ Low water on Lake Mead exposes more beaches. Nice for lunch stops, it's a national park so camping is controlled somewhat. It also has dampened the full-throttle motor boaters since the charts are off.

+ Mice are prolific along the Colorado River. Sort of, haven't had super big issues in past. Good housekeeping or luck, not sure.

+ Launch below Hoover Dam has been for permitted outfitters, not private folks. Closed anyway still I think due to the flood.

+ Willow Beach is fine, but also torn up after recent floods, don't expect supplies there. Paddling up river you fight the wind. very easy paddle up to Arizona Hot Springs camp, and then dam is short paddle trip. With hot spring stops it's a day up, day to dam/return, and day back for the quick trip.

+ Black Canyon is shaded: morning/evening you'll notice especially in winter, but it's the overcast days that are chilly ones.

+ Cool places to see. hit all the hot springs in the canyon, there are maps out on the web for where they are, plan some time to hang around. Lake is quite empty and the sunsets/sunrise is amazing on a glassy lake.

+ Places to avoid. ah, that would be Vegas...

Colorado River
We took a great day trip in some nice Eddylines with

We paddled from Willow Beach up the river for about three hours and then back down. Very well worth it!

I am curious as to why/how Willow Beach flooded if the river levels are controlled by the Hoover Dam upstream. Did they have to release a lot of water?

As we did not camp-stayed at a nice historic hotel in Boulder City-we can’t help with other logistics but you will have short days in Jan. But if you are like us six hours of paddling was about all our out of paddling shape winter bodies could handle. We were there in mid week and saw only three other kayakers and one tourist raft and this was the first week of April.

It sounds like a dumb answer, but I think it was very heavy rain downstream from the Hoover dam. The road at Willow beach was washed out by water coming down into the canyon, not down the river.

Thank you.
That is all very helpful.