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Colorado River Day Trips from Las Vegas

A few hours from Las Vegas awaits a landscape hailed as one of the wonders of the world: the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

11 min read

Colorado River Day Trips from Las Vegas

Estructuras rocosas en medio de Rio Colorado| ©Vincent Gerbouin

The force of the Colorado River has given rise to the incredible rock formation of the Grand Canyon, which is one of the best things to see and do in Las Vegas, while taking a break from the lights of the city.

There are many ways to get to know the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon: take a dip in Willow Beach or take a VIP helicopter flight; go to its unforgettable viewpoints on the west, south and north sides or tour the river by boat, kayak or hydrobike; walk along the Skyline glass walkway overlooking the canyon floor; or simply hike to enjoy every nook and cranny.

1. Cruise down the Colorado River after flying over the Grand Canyon by helicopter.

two girls in a boat on the lake| ©vegasstek
two girls in a boat on the lake| ©vegasstek

An original recommendation to get to know the Colorado River is to get on a helicopter to fly over the Grand Canyon and land on the Colorado River to travel its waters by kayak or raft. This full-day tour isn't cheap, but it's worth every minute.

The aerial tour assures you phenomenal views of the Hoover Dam, the west side of the Grand Canyon or West Rim and Lake Mead, among other places. You can choose to raft or kayak, and if you opt for one or the other, the navigation will be before or after the helicopter tour.

The flight over the Grand Canyon takes about an hour and a half. You can take this tour any day, and go with children over 2 years old. At all times you will have a specialized guide who will explain everything about the most important sites.

This tour usually includes pick up at your hotel or meeting point to take you to the Boulder City airport, where you will board the helicopter. It also includes bottled water, and lunch if you choose to raft.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 600€
  • Duration: 11 hours approximately
  • Means of transportation: van, helicopter and kayak or float.
  • Advantages: you will be able to appreciate the west side of the Grand Canyon from a breathtaking aerial view and navigate the waters of the Colorado River.
  • Disadvantages: it has a high price. If you choose to kayak, lunch is not included.

Sail on the Colorado River and fly in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon

2. Van tour of the Colorado River and Hoover Dam

BLACK VAN| ©Seclusive Nature
BLACK VAN| ©Seclusive Nature

One of the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon and Colorado River is to tour it by van with up to 14 people. On this full day tour you will see the west side of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead and have the option to walk the Skywalk glass walkway, although the entrance fee is usually purchased separately.

During the whole trip you will have a specialized guide who will tell you all about this unique geographic formation. You can take this tour any day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays, starting early in the morning. It is also suitable for children, usually over 5 years old, but I recommend that you consult before traveling.

As it is a small group van, you will travel comfortably throughout the transfer and you will be able to listen to the guide without interruptions. The tour also includes pick up and drop off at hotels and meeting points, bottled water and lunch, but I recommend that you also bring your own snacks as the tour is a full day tour.

During this tour you will usually stop for 3 hours on the west side of the Grand Canyon so you can take in the incredible views at your own pace. Before returning you will pass by Skywalk, a glass walkway at 1200 meters above sea level from where you can see the Grand Canyon at your feet. It has an approximate price of 40 EUR.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 200 EUR
  • Duration: approximately 9 hours
  • Means of transportation: van for 14 people
  • Advantages: you will be able to see the west side of the Grand Canyon, one of the 7 wonders of the world, and the Hoover Dam. Lunch included.
  • Disadvantages: does not include entrance to Skywalk, which is a glass walkway to observe the Grand Canyon. Its purchase is optional and costs around 40 EUR.

Sign up for a tour of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

3. Get to know the Colorado River and its incredible National Park by bus

people sitting on the bus| ©SY Huang
people sitting on the bus| ©SY Huang

One of the best National Park tours from Las Vegas is a visit to the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim, the south side of the Grand Canyon. The tour is done by bus with a specialized guide who will tell you all about its formation, and the animals and plants that live there.

This full day tour can be done any day, even on weekends, at any time of the year. You can do it as a family, with children and it is one of the best things to see and do in Las Vegas in 2 days.

This bus tour consists of a tour of the south side of the Grand Canyon, with entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, where you will find some of the best viewpoints: Bright Angel Point and Mather Point. You can also visit the Hopi House, a great place to pick up some original souvenirs.

The tour includes breaks for lunch and dinner at the best restaurants and bars, which is usually not included in the tour price. On the way back, you can enjoy the view of Las Vegas illuminated, something that surprises many people.

Details of interest

  • Price: starting at 100€
  • Duration: approximately 15 hours
  • Means of transportation: bus up to 56 passengers
  • Advantages: you will see the southern part of the Grand Canyon and its National Park
  • Disadvantages: you will need to bring extra money to buy drinks and food.

Visit the Colorado River and Grand Canyon National Park

4. Take a whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River with a helicopter ride

people at the helm of a red boat| ©Thomas Gorman
people at the helm of a red boat| ©Thomas Gorman

One of the most interesting ways to tour the Colorado River is rafting down its rough waters in a boat with a few people.

In addition, the tour includes a helicopter ascent to an elevation of over 1000 meters, from where you will have the best panoramic views of the Grand Canyon.

During the tour you will travel 65 km through the rapids of the Colorado River, where you will have privileged views of the Grand Canyon and you will see hidden corners and waterfalls, such as the Travertine waterfall.

The excursion is done with a small group of people along with an expert guide in the air so you can learn everything about the place. The transfer to the rafting site is done by bus. This tour can be done any day of the week and children over 8 years old can participate.

Details of interest

  • Price: starting at 650€
  • Duration: approximately 15 hours
  • Means of transportation: bus, boat and helicopter
  • Advantages: you will be able to see hidden places of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and also have fun in one of the best rafting tours on the Colorado River.
  • Disadvantages: not available in winter. Good physical condition is required.
  • Recommendations: bring a bathing suit, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat with strap, extra change of clothes and waterproof protection for your phone and cameras.
  • When is the best time to do the tour: The best time to do it is in summer, being the best months March, April and May. If you go to Las Vegas in winter, you should check availability before booking.

5. Get to know the Colorado River with a spectacular kayak tour

girl in an orange boat on the river| ©Frank Gunn
girl in an orange boat on the river| ©Frank Gunn

This excursion is one of the best kayak tours in Las Vegas. It consists of a tour on the Colorado River aboard a single or double canoe with paddles. You will navigate about 8 km through the Black Canyon, between Nevada and Arizona, you will visit Willow Beach and impressive caves and waterfalls.

The excursion has a guide specialized in the sport, who will provide you with the necessary safety for you to enjoy it to the fullest. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner, because before you start you will receive a short course with the best instructor. In addition, you will be provided with all the necessary equipment.

These tours include rest stops and include drinks, food or fruit to recover your energy. The best time to do it is in summer, from March to May, and it is delayed for another day if there is bad weather.

One of the best sites you will see is the Emerald Cave, known for the beautiful color of its waters that look that color due to the effect of light.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 100€
  • Duration: approximately 6 hours
  • Means of transportation: bus and kayak
  • Advantages: you will be able to know and navigate the Colorado River in Kayak
  • Disadvantages: Good physical condition required.
  • Recommendations: bring sunglasses, sunscreen, swimsuit and water shoes, waterproof case for phones and cameras.

Book a kayaking excursion on the Colorado River

6. Hop on an ATV and ride the Colorado River from Las Vegas

group of people on an ATV in the mountains| ©Las Vegas Outdoor Adventures
group of people on an ATV in the mountains| ©Las Vegas Outdoor Adventures

This is one of the best tours to visit the west side of Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The tour starts at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead where you will get on the ATV, a 4-wheel all-terrain motorcycle to take a ride down to the Colorado River.

The terrain set aside for the ATV is a recreational area of Lake Mead and the Colorado River. It is safe for beginners and you will have all the protective gear you need. In addition, you can take spectacular photos and videos from the Hoover Dam Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River near the Hoover Dam.

Throughout the excursion, a specialized guide will provide you with interesting information to learn more about the place, and will give you safety recommendations. This activity can be done by the whole family, including children. Everyone will love riding in a large Monster Truck limousine to and from Lake Mead.

The best time to do this tour is in summer, as you will be able to swim for a while and relax while enjoying the best natural environment. This off-road tour in Las Vegas includes bottled water, soft drinks and lunch during the tour to make the best use of your time.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 250€
  • Duration: approximately 7 hours
  • Means of transportation: Limousine Monster truck and quad
  • Advantages: you will enjoy an off-road sport on the banks of the Colorado River
  • Disadvantages: you need to be in good physical condition
  • Recommendations: you should wear comfortable sportswear, sneakers, sunscreen and sunglasses

7. Experience hiking the Black Canyon from Las Vegas

person seeing the mountains| ©Radha Patel
person seeing the mountains| ©Radha Patel

If you are a hiking enthusiast, you will love hiking through Black Canyon, the Mojave Desert, discovering the petroglyphs of the ancient Mohave and Paiute civilizations, and enjoying a relaxing hot springs bath. This tour is among the best options to do in Las Vegas in 7 days.

During the tour you will be accompanied by an experienced guide who will make the tour more interesting by telling stories and giving you information about the places you are visiting. It is not a tour suitable for children as it has a moderately difficult difficulty. It is done with a small group of 10 people.

The best time of the year to do this tour is in spring. In winter it is not available and in summer temperatures can be extreme.

During the tour you will hike the magnificent Black Canyon nature trail and swim in the natural healing hot springs in the desert. You will love the fascinating views of White Rock Canyon and relax on the beach.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 150€
  • Duration: about 6 hours
  • Means of transportation: bus and on foot
  • Advantages: you will get to know the Black Canyon, the Mojave Desert and enjoy an excellent thermal bath
  • Disadvantages: the hike has a moderately difficult difficulty.
  • Recommendations: wear appropriate footwear, comfortable walking clothes, sunscreen and sunglasses.

8. Walk along the waters of the Colorado River with the hydrobikes

two children and a man bathing in the river.| ©OakleyOriginals
two children and a man bathing in the river.| ©OakleyOriginals

Believe it or not, it is possible to "walk the waters of the Colorado River". This tour proposes a bicycle/rafting tour along the river from Willow Beach and one of its destinations is the amazing Emerald Cave, which stands out because its waters seem to be that color.

It is ideal to take this tour in the summer, so you can enjoy a dip in the waters of the Colorado River. The hydrobikes have a height restriction: they are designed for people of at least 1.52 meters. Before launching into the water, you will receive a safety course and instructions on how to use the water bike.

This is an ideal tour for you to stop and observe the local wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, bald eagles and other birds. Throughout the tour you will have a specialized guide who will teach you all about the places you visit.

This tour also includes pick up and drop off at selected hotels. Groups of up to 14 people.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 150€
  • Duration: about 4 hours
  • Means of transportation: 14-person van and hydrobike
  • Advantages: you will get to know the Colorado River, caves and amazing waterfalls while enjoying a ride on a water bike
  • Disadvantages: only available in summer. Water bikes are designed for people at least 1.52 m tall.

9. Travel by bus to the Hoover Dam and spend an unforgettable day

yellow bus on track| ©Michael Kemper
yellow bus on track| ©Michael Kemper

Something very interesting that you can't miss is to take a half-day excursion to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas. On the tour you will be able to see the dam's power plant, visit the Visitor Exhibition Center, the Hoover Dam Museum and the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, from where you will be able to take the best pictures of the dam and the Colorado River.

In addition, you will be able to walk for 45 minutes on top of the Hoover Dam and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the dam and the Colorado River.

The tour has a professional guide who will tell you the history of the Hoover Dam and interesting facts about its operation. The tour is done by bus with a small group of people and is a visit that you can do any day, even on weekends, both in summer and winter.

These tours usually include lunch at the Omelet House, a renowned restaurant with a varied menu. Another extra that is usually included is a ticket to see a Comedy Club show at The Strat, one of the best shows in Las Vegas.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 100€
  • Duration: about 7 hours
  • Means of transportation: bus
  • Advantages: you will learn all about the Hoover Dam and the inside of the power plant.
  • Disadvantages: entrance to the power plant and the visitor center is not guaranteed, as there may be maintenance work on the day of the tour.

Book a tour to Hoover Dam