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5 things you didn’t know about Boulder City

Written by: Burton Miller (Blazin’ Paddles Tour Guide)

Famous Guests Have Stayed at the Hotel

The Boulder Dam Hotel is a historic and charming colonial revival style inn built in 1933. Over the years it has seen many famous guests. Classic Hollywood stars loved retreating to the quiet Boulder Dam Hotel for leisure and lodging while filming. Notable celebrity visitors have been Bette Davis, Shirley Temple, Henry Fonda and Will Rogers. Influential business people have also spent the night including Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Pepperdine (founder of Pepperdine University) and Howard Hughes after his plane crash at Lake Mead in 1946. The hotel has seen political and world leaders including senator Robert Taft and Pope Pius XII when he was still Cardinal.

Staying Cool at the Movie Theater

The movie theater on Arizona Street was the first air conditioned building in town. Dam workers and families would pay admission – regardless of the movie – just to cool off! In the 1990’s the movie theater, still in operation at the time, was forced to shut its doors due to competition from the more technologically advanced theaters in Henderson and Las Vegas. At risk of falling into total disrepair, the empty theater was purchased in 1997 by Desi Arnaz, Jr. and renovated into a dance studio and performance hall.

The Big “BC”

If your Blazin’ Paddles tour passes through Boulder City, chance are we’ll point out the big BC painted on the side of the hill. This ironically doesn’t stand for Boulder City. It’s for Bootleg Canyon. Since Boulder City was a federal reservation, there was no alcohol or gambling allowed, even after federal prohibition ended in 1933. They wanted the federal workmen fully focused on their task of constructing Hoover Dam. Even after the dam was completed, BC was federally regulated until it was chartered as it’s own city in 1960 and the prohibition was later repealed in 1969.

Bighorn Sheep Love Boulder City

On the river we are always on the lookout for the Desert Bighorn Sheep. It is not uncommon to see at least one sheep on tour, as they visit the river to drink water in the hotter months when there is no water elsewhere or when rain is scarce. However, Hemenway Park in Boulder City is home to an entire herd of sheep! They spend hours at the park keeping cool in the shade of the trees and eating the grass. The herd at Hemenway Park is a big draw for wildlife lovers, just make sure to keep a safe distance and do not disturb them while watching or taking pictures.

So Long, Boulder City

For film buffs, Boulder City plays an important role in the Oscar-winning La La Land. Emma Stone’s character Mia Dolan grew up in Boulder City, and in the film she creates and performs a one-woman show called So Long, Boulder City. Her character’s love of film started because her aunt worked at the library and she would walk there as a child to watch classics. “Del Prado Library” in the movie is not a real library, but Del Prado is a real housing development in Boulder City. Nothing was actually filmed in Boulder City but director Damien Chazelle chose it for the story because he liked the name and it was feasible that Mia could drive there within a day from Los Angeles.


Facts About the Hoover Dam that You Didn’t Know

Facts About the Hovver Dam


If you’ve ever been kayaking or dream of kayaking near the Hoover Dam, you know what an awe-inspiring structure this engineering marvel is. Full of mystery and intrigue, the dam attracts approximately a million visitors every year. Aside from being the world’s largest source of hydroelectric power, consider these Hoover Dam facts that you may not know.

Construction of the dam started in 1931 and lasted for five years.

It took a team of more than 10,000 people to construct the dam. Miles of streets were paved and buildings were constructed to accommodate these workers and their families. Thus, the community of Boulder City was born and is still standing today.

The great arch of the dam contains 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete and the power plant and additional facilities contain 1.11 million cubic yards. This is enough concrete to build a full-sized highway from one end of the United States to the other.

The power generated by the dam supports Nevada, Arizona, and California. It produces approximately 4.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The Hoover Dam forms the Lake Mead reservoir, which is the largest reservoir by volume in the United States.

Hoover Dam stands an impressive 726-feet high and is 650-feet thick at the bottom and 45-feet thick at the top.

The dam was named after the wildly unpopular President Herbert Hoover during a publicity stunt. Secretary of the Interior Wilbur traveled to the area in 1930 to the official opening of the project and gave the structure its name. His successor changed the name to the Boulder Dam in 1933. In 1947, President Truman changed the name back to the Hoover Dam, stating Hoover was the one who brought the project to life.

Today, one of the most important of the Hoover dam facts is the dam helps minimize the risk of floods in the area, helps with irrigation of crops, provides water for nearby cities and towns and serves as a recreational area for boating, fishing, kayaking and other water sports.

Contact Blazin’ Paddles to schedule your next Hoover Dam kayaking adventure.

How to Launch a Kayak from the Hoover Dam

Hot To Launch A Kayak at the Hoover Dam


The Black Canyon of the Colorado River is a marvel of geology, carved over millions of years by the Colorado River’s patient flow. Meanwhile, Hoover Dam, which impounds the river in the canyon to form Lake Mead, is a marvel of engineering, the product of several years of construction during the Great Depression (and decades of planning prior).

Hoover Dam kayaking—launching at the dam and paddling down into the steep-walled gorge—shows off both the manmade and geological wonders of the Black Canyon.

Hoover Dam Kayaking: The Nuts & Bolts

Because Hoover Dam is a security zone, the Bureau of Reclamation requires boaters launching here to obtain a permit, a limited quantity of which are issued for a given day. A number of area outfitters provide those permits.

Furthermore, only authorized vehicles can access the Hoover Dam launch site, so if you’re doing an independent paddle here you’ll have to use a designated livery service to get your boat in the water.

Black Canyon Kayaking at its Easiest & Best: A Trip With Blazin’ Paddles

You can avoid the hassle of obtaining paddlecraft launch permit and arranging transportation by signing on to a guided kayak tour from Hoover Dam along the Black Canyon Water Trail with us here at Blazin’ Paddles.

We’re one of the select vendors authorized to launch at Hoover Dam, and we’ll bring you to the launch site in our super-comfy Mercedes Sprinter shuttles. We’ve taken care of the launch permits, so you don’t need to worry about any of the logistics.

And our expert guides are happy to lead experienced kayakers and total newbies alike, so beginner paddlers who might otherwise balk at a Black Canyon exploration can rest easy with the Blazin’ Paddles team! With our topnotch services, you can admire the grandeur of Hoover Dam, the rugged glory of the Black Canyon, and the beauty of native wildlife, from bald eagles to desert bighorns.

Get in touch with us today to join one of our Hoover Dam kayaking tours through the Black Canyon of the Colorado!

Kayaking & Boating Restrictions and Rules in the Black Canyon

Black Canyon Kayaking and Boating Restrictions


The Black Canyon Water Trail is a notable Las Vegas attraction that takes you on an awe-inspiring trip that includes memorable views of the Hoover dam along with the chance to spot desert wildlife such as an eagle soaring overhead. While this is one of the most sought after places for boating enthusiasts, the National Park Service has enacted some rules and restrictions to help preserve the wilderness experience that makes this waterway so unique. As you plan your kayaking adventure, keep these Black Canyon boating restrictions in mind so that everyone in your group enjoys the natural beauty of this part of the Colorado River.

Year Round Restrictions

This section of the Colorado River is too narrow to waterski, wakeboard or takes a houseboat on safely so these activities are restricted throughout the year. Every Sunday and Monday of the year is also a time when the area between the Hoover Dam and Willow Beach are designated as a primitive zone where only motor-less recreational vehicles are allowed. For this reason, this is a prime time when kayakers tend to enjoy taking tours where they can soak up the beauty of the desert climate in peaceful silence.

Seasonal Regulations

There are also some Black Canyon boating restrictions that occur seasonally. Starting on Labor Day and continuing through to the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, this area is a semi-private zone where boats with 65-horsepower or less are allowed to also share the Black Canyon waterway with kayakers. During the other portion of the year, you may encounter motorized vehicles on the trailway, but they must continue to respect the natural environment while maintaining safety for non-motorized tours.

Launching Restrictions

Many people are surprised to discover that there are also launching restrictions in place at the Hoover Dam. To support more non-motorized visits to the Black Canyon, the National Park Service issues commercial-use permits to vendors in Nevada and Arizona so that tour groups can have the special opportunity to launch at the Hoover Dam. While this can only be done during set times, it is an amazing way to kick off your kayaking adventure tour.

Blazin’ Paddles has everything you need to comply with the boating rules in the Black Canyon including the opportunity to launch at the Hoover Dam so simplify your vacation by scheduling a tour today.

Common Misconceptions About Kayaking

Hoover Dam Kayaking

Are you itching to get out on the Colorado River and bask in the beauty of its Black Canyon, but you’re hesitating because you’ve never kayaked before?

Well, here’s the good news right off the bat: Here at Blazin’ Paddles, we offer Colorado River kayaking adventures that even complete novices can enjoy.

Kayaking is the kind of accessible outdoor activity that can become a lifelong pleasure. So, let’s dispel a few common misconceptions that otherwise might prevent you from ever giving it a try.

Is Kayaking Difficult?

Even to a non-paddler, the operation of a canoe can seem pretty straightforward. A kayak, by contrast, may look intimidatingly narrow and low-riding, and the double-bladed paddle might appear unwieldy.

Actually, kayaking is a beautifully simple and efficient way to glide through water. Sure, you hone your skill and expand your techniques over time, but any reasonably fit person can quickly figure out how to propel themselves in a kayak. And at Blazin’ Paddles, you’ve got an expert guide along at all times who’s there to help out.

The Colorado River kayaking we lead is not hardcore or technically daunting: It’s more about communing with the river and taking in canyon scenery and wildlife while enjoying a low-grade workout. Our full-day tours can be aerobically demanding, especially when the wind kicks up, but you don’t need to be an expert to join by any means. (And meanwhile our half-day paddles are significantly less strenuous and nearly as fantastic.)

I Need to Know How to Swim…Right?

Knowing how to swim is an important life skill, for sure, but it’s not mandatory for kayaking with Blazin’ Paddles. You’ll be wearing a lifejacket during our Black Canyon journey (a common-sense safety measure, and also required by the National Park Service), and this river reach isn’t raging whitewater by any means, so you don’t need to know how to swim to join our tours.

But Kayaks Flip Easily, Don’t They?

No! Kayaks are much more stable in the water than they appear. That’s not to say flipping doesn’t happen in the Black Canyon, but your Blazin’ Paddles guide is here to attend to any and all upsets quickly. If you’re especially concerned, consider paddling in a double kayak, that much less likely to flip than a single one; you’ll always have a choice with Blazin’ Paddles.

More likely than not, your first time kayaking will not be your last: Once you experience the joy of paddling a kayak, it’s hard to go back. And what better way to try it out than with Blazin’ Paddles: guiding beginner, expert, and in-between paddlers alike through the utterly sublime Black Canyon of the Colorado River?

Book a Colorado River kayaking adventure with Blazin’ Paddles, and you’ll have the introduction of a lifetime to an ancient and supremely elegant form of on-the-water locomotion!

Top Things to Do at the Hoover Dam 

Hoover dam kayak tours

A visit to the Hoover Dam is an experience that you never forget. On top of learning more about the rich history of the dam, you can also plan experiences such as Hoover dam kayak tours that let you truly experience the natural beauty of Nevada. As you get ready for your trip to the Hoover Dam, consider adding these experiences to your itinerary that will change your perspective on what it means to visit Las Vegas.

Visit the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge 

Sitting at 900 feet above the Colorado River, this bridge has earned the distinction of being the second highest in the United States. It is also the first bridge in the U.S. to be built using a concrete-steel composite arch design. As you enjoy your trip over this bridge, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Colorado River and Hoover Dam, so make sure to bring your camera.

Take a Kayak Tour Through the Colorado River

Hoover dam kayak tours allow you to hit several major sites along the Colorado River. From the moment that you launch your kayak into the water at the base of the Hoover Dam until you enjoy your final stop at Willow Beach, your guide will point out numerous historical artifacts as you keep an eye out for Nevada wildlife such as bighorn sheep grazing along the side of the river.

Tour the Hoover Dam

There are several different tours that you can take of the Hoover Dam that are open to the public, but it’s best to plan ahead because the availability fills up fast. During your tour, you can enjoy films and photo displays that explain more about the process of building the dam. You can also step out onto the observation deck and take in views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River.

Enjoy a Hike Through a Desert Landscape

There are two maintained hiking trails that are located near the Hoover Dam, and these are the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail and the River Mountains Loop Trail. Both provide spectacular opportunities to spot wildlife such as owls and bighorn sheep.

Blazin’ Paddles offers kayak tours that give you an up-close view of the Hoover Dam so schedule your adventure online today!

Clothing for Kayaking in Cooler Weather 

Las Vegas Colorado river tour

As days get shorter and temperatures start to drop, it’s important to know what to wear while out on the water in order to stay comfortable. Before you schedule your next Las Vegas Colorado River tour, check out these tips and tricks on how to dress for the weather.

Wet Suits

The overall-style wetsuit is a popular choice for paddlers because it allows for freedom of movement. Wetsuits hold heat close to the body and leave plenty of room on top for adding extra layers. They work by allowing a small amount of water to seep in between your skin and the neoprene material.


Layering is the most popular way to stay warm in cooler weather when paddling. Basically, you want to wear enough layers that you can remove or add as the weather changes. Start with an inner layer made of wicking material, like synthetic wool, to draw moisture away from the skin. A second insulating layer, like fleece wool, provides increased warmth. Choose an outer layer for protection against the elements. Avoid cotton and other fabrics that absorb moisture.


Keep your feet warm with a pair of wetsuit booties in cooler weather. They also provide excellent traction when walking your kayak into the water or keep the feet warm any time you slip out of the boat. Your feet won’t stay completely dry, but they will stay warmer than with wearing other types of shoes.

Because your hands are constantly exposed to the cold air while paddling, they are bound to get cold when you are on the water. Regular gloves can work but once they are wet, the fingertips can get very cold. The more waterproof they are, the better. Additionally, waterproof hats keep your hair and head warm and dry if it rains or when water sprays into the boat.

When dressing for a Las Vegas Colorado River tour, try to find a balance between maintaining the ability to move easily and staying comfortably warm in the cooler temperatures. Looking for a Colorado River adventure? Schedule a tour with Blazin’ Paddles online!

Awesome Birds You May See in When Kayaking the Black Canyon 

kayaking the Black Canyon birds

The Black Canyon is a paradise for a variety of wildlife, including some amazing bird species. When kayaking the Black Canyon, there are five species you are likely to see while on your trip.

Peregrine Falcon

Also referred to as the duck hawk, the Peregrine Falcon is a majestic blue-gray bird with an impressive wingspan of up to four feet in length and a flying speed of up to 240 miles per hour. They like to sit high in the cliffs and dive down swiftly to catch their prey.

Bald Eagle

Contrary to their name, bald eagles aren’t actually bald. In fact, they have a thick plumage of white features on top of their heads. Young bald eagles have mostly brown heads. When flying, they emit a high-pitched giggle or a slight scream. Eagles are easily noted spotted by their wingspan in flight, which creates a straight line.

Cactus Wren 

The cactus wren is a small bird with a white stripe located behind each eye. They are mostly spotted with dark brown and black feathers, and they typically live in the foothills and other low-lying areas. They enjoy meals of fruit pulp, seeds, and small insects, and they make a sound similar to a car trying to start.

American Coot

At first, you may mistake the coot for a duck as it floats lazily on the water. These dark grey birds have a white bill and are commonly known as the mud hen. They tend to gather in flocks, and they make a funny grunting or croaking noise as they take off in flight.


The Osprey is sometimes referred to as a seahawk. They like to dive into the water to catch fish. They may also prey on rabbits and small reptiles. Ospreys make high-pitched whistling noises or a series of chirps to communicate. Although similar to a bald eagle, the Osprey has a much larger beak and a smaller wingspan.

To experience these spectacular birds and other creatures, schedule a trip kayaking the Black Canyon with Blazin’ Paddles. Sign up online!

Tandem Kayak vs Single Kayak 

kayaking in Las Vegas

When you go kayaking in Las Vegas, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether you prefer a tandem or single kayak for your adventure. While every kayaker has their preference, it is important to know that both options have benefits that you can use to enhance your experience. As you get ready for your trip, keep these factors in mind to determine which one is best for your tour.

Understand the Main Differences

The main difference between the two types of kayaks is fairly obvious since a tandem kayak has two seats. However, this also means that a tandem kayak is slightly heavier than a single kayak. As long as you plan to have two people in the tandem kayak, this should not be an issue. While you will use the same paddling technique in both boats, riding tandem requires synchronizing your movements to keep full control over the boat.

Define Your Purpose

Experienced kayakers tend to develop their own style. While some people love the companionship and bonding that tandem kayaks provide, others prefer to be able to control their experience by paddling in a single kayak. If you will be kayaking in Las Vegas with a close friend or spouse, then a tandem kayak allows you to share the experience together. However, you may prefer a single kayak if you enjoy a little more freedom to explore.

Consider Your Skill Level

Beginners often prefer to start out in a tandem kayak because this allows a guide to teach them the basics of paddling. Tandem kayaks also tend to go slower, and it allows one person to take a short break if they get tired while paddling. Single kayaks can still be used by beginners because it only takes a few minutes to learn the basics of paddling down the river. You might also prefer a single kayak if you want a lightweight boat that goes faster in the water.

At Blazin’ Paddles, we have both tandem and single kayaks available so choose your adventure today. Book one of our Las Vegas kayak tours online today!

Your Brain on Nature and the Importance of Getting Outside 

Colorado river kayaking

According to a recent study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend close to 90 percent of their lives indoors. Unfortunately, the concentration of indoor pollutants is two to five times higher indoors. For this reason alone, it’s important to find ways to get some fresh air as often as possible. One way to do this is with Colorado River kayaking. There are other reasons why fresh air is beneficial to both the mind and the body. Let’s take a look:

Brighten Your Mood

Exercise releases endorphins, which can put you in a better mood. In fact, just five to ten minutes of outdoor physical activity every day can improve your self-esteem and bring overall feelings of positivity. Occasional outdoor light exposure also reduces winter depression or seasonal anxiety disorder.

Boosts Vitamin D Production

Supplements can help you get the nutrients needed to keep your body healthy and to stave off disease, but the best way to assist your body with Vitamin D production is to get some sun. Just 10 minutes of exposure to the midday sun gives your body enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of Vitamin D.

Improves Eyesight

Staring at a computer screen every day can cause Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which results in blurred vision, red eyes, double vision, and headaches. Even those who are overexposed to artificial light for long periods of time are more likely to become nearsighted. According to a 2007 study at Ohio State University, individuals who spend at least two hours a day outside are less likely to feel the effects.

Heals the Body

Exposure to natural light helps keep the body running as it should. People who spend more time outdoors often have less pain, sleep more soundly, and experience less functional decline as they carry out daily tasks than those who sit inside all day. In one study of surgical patients, those who spent a few hours outside each day required 22 percent fewer pain medications than those who stayed in bed.

Just 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor activity provides a wealth of both physical and emotional benefits. Imagine what a half-day or a full day of Colorado River kayaking can do for you. Schedule a tour with us on our Blazin’ Paddles website!


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