FAQ

High Heat

Summers on the river can easily be over 110 degrees. Luckily the water is a crisp, refreshing 52 degrees which makes your time on the water very enjoyable with options to swim in the crystal clear waters and mess around with squirt guns. Due to this beautiful cold water we will never cancel our tours because it’s too hot. You are more than welcome to cancel before the 48 hour hours. (Please see our cancellation policy for full details) However, we do not cancel tours because of heat. This is exactly where you should be when the weather’s hot!

What's included in your tour?

At Blazin’ Paddles we try to make sure that the price you see includes everything for almost all people: all your kayaking equipment (Kayak, paddles & Lifejacket), guides, water, snacks and complimentary shuttles. Lunch is also included on the full-day tour. However, there are certain restrictions or exclusions. We do not provide personal gear like shorts, shoes, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses or suntan lotion. However, if you’ve forgotten anything, all of that is available at the office for sale. We only pick up from certain downtown and Strip hotels as well as from our office.  Please see the pickup location page for details on all of these locations. So, if you need to travel to one of those pickup points, that is not included in your price. Similarly, if you meet us at Willow Beach, the Park Service will charge you $25 to park your car and that is also not included in your price, nor will it be refunded to you. If you have any specific questions about what is included in the price, please feel free to email us.

Booking a Tour the same Day as your Flight

Please do not book a tour on the day your flight arrives in Las Vegas. If there is any problem with your flight and you have to cancel, we cannot issue a refund because your cancellation will be within 48 hours of departure. Similarly, please do not book a tour if your flight departs from Las Vegas before 8pm on the evening of your tour. Although, we can almost always get you back to our office before 6pm, there is never a guarantee because of accidents or traffic.

Live Inventory

The inventory on our website is live and is integrated with our reservation system.  It is updated automatically and immediately as soon as someone makes a reservation. We would love to talk to you about booking future dates if you’d like to call us, but we really are going to be looking at the same availability you are.

Do I pay per person or per boat?

All Blazin’ Paddles prices are per person. We do ask you as a courtesy whether you would be more comfortable in a single kayak or a double kayak. If you are bringing younger children we may require them to be in a tandem kayak with a parent, but all prices for all tours are per person.

Should I do the full-day tour or the half-day tour?

The full day tour is simply amazing. It may well be a once in a lifetime paddle. However, although the river is not technically difficult, there is often an upstream breeze that makes paddling a good workout. Remember, the Colorado River at this point is also known as Upper Mojave Lake because there is a dam at both ends. This means that, unless there is a water release from the dam, there is no downstream flow to help you paddle. So, the full-day tour is going to be a 6-7 hour, 13-mile paddle, often against a prevailing wind. It is an aerobic workout. Beginner paddlers ought to consider the half-day tour first, as should anyone who is in doubt about their athletic ability. The half-day tour is a round trip, so if you encounter any difficulty, one of our guides can always turn around early with you and help you out. However, the full-day tour is a one-way trip and there is no going back. The put-in for the full-day tour is access controlled by Homeland Security. We are required to move away from the launch site and continue downstream. There are no easy exits. Once you start, you must continue, so please be confident of your athletic ability before you book the full-day tour. The half-day tour is a fun 3 hour paddle that gives you a great taste of the Black Canyon and includes many of the highlights of the full-day tour including the Emerald Cave and many historic sites. The half-day tour is also suitable for younger guests. Once again, please take this caution seriously, if you are in any way concerned about your athletic ability, please choose the half-day tour.

Single or Double Kayak?

You are going to be asked several times whether you want to be in a single or a double kayak. Unlike some other tour operators, Blazin’ Paddles will never require an adult to be in a double kayak if they don’t want to. We have enough single and tandem kayaks for everyone to have their choice of kayak. Having said that, if you are a couple or a family and have never been kayaking OR it’s been a while since you’ve hit the gym, we thoroughly recommend that you consider using a double kayak. If you have booked the tour on your own, you are welcome to join a guide in a double. Not only are double kayaks easier to paddle, they are less likely to flip. The more chance there is of wind on your tour, the more you ought to consider using a double. If you weigh less than 120lbs and do not regularly work on upper body strength, you may also want to consider a double kayak.

When I sign up for a 7am, 10:30 am or 12:30pm tour what does that time mean?

The times you reserved are what we call “water times.” That is the time the tour is scheduled to be on the water. On the full day tour, for example, the tour time, or water time is 7am. However, we have to meet our escort who accompanies us through the secure zone of the dam, by 6:20 am. In order to make this escort meet time, we have to leave from our head office (the last courtesy shuttle stop) by 6:00 am. Some pickups for this tour, especially those on the north end of the Strip or Downtown may be as early as 5:15 am. When you make your reservation and select a pick-up spot, you will receive a message telling you the approximate time for your pick-up. If you have provided us with a cell phone, we will call you or text you the afternoon before the tour to confirm the exact time and pick-up location for your tour. We will also update you on the weather forecast and discuss whether you want to reserve a double or a single kayak. For our overseas guests, if we do not have a working cell number, we will send you an email reminder with your pickup details the night before the tour.

I have never been kayaking before, should I go?

Whether this is your first time in a kayak, or a seasoned veteran, we invite all skill levels to enjoy the beautiful Black Canyon! The crystal clear water of the Colorado River is quite tame in this area, since you will be paddling between two dams. However, we do ask that you consider your athletic ability on the full-day tour, because this will be a very active 12-mile paddle without a downstream current to assist you and often against the prevailing upstream winds. If you are concerned about the distance and your athletic ability, we do offer a half-day tour with almost all of the beauty and fun of the full day!

Do we encounter wind?

It is always a possibility that we will encounter some wind on the tour. Your guide will give you a brief before the start of the day on what to expect and how to deal with it if it happens. Sadly sometimes we have to cancel our tours because of bad weather conditions. We know that you have been looking forward to this for a long time, but we pride ourselves on your safety and would never sacrifice that to take you out in dangerous weather. Of course all cancellations on our part is a full money back guarantee or a reschedule to a safer day.

Children

Although we do not offer child rates, children of certain ages and abilities are welcome on our tours. We do not have hard and fast rules, but we like to discuss these issues with parents before booking. On the full-day tour, children 16 years and older are usually fine in a single kayak, provided that they either have previous kayak experience or are very athletic. The full-day tour may not be technically difficult, but it is a long strenuous day. Children less than 16 years old should be in a double kayak with a parent for the full-day tour. The full-day tour is not suitable for kids under 14. Similar policies apply for the Twilight Paddle, not because it is strenuous, but just because it is a tour designed for adults. The half-day tour is where kids have the most fun. Kids 14 and up, who are athletic, have been very successful on their own in a single kayak on the half-day tour unless the wind comes up. We’ve had children as young as 8 on the half-day tour, but children under 14 should be in a double kayak with a parent. If the weather report calls for any wind during your tour, we strongly advise families to use double kayaks for all of their children. Unaccompanied kids 16 & older may be booked on our half-day tour with the prior approval of the Blazin’ Paddle Head Guide.

Vouchers & Promo Codes

From time to time, Blazin’ Paddles will have promotions that use Promo Codes or Vouchers. All of these promotions require online booking. The difference between a voucher and a promo code is that the voucher will have a unique redemption code, whereas the Promo Code can typically be used more than once. However, whether it is a Promo Code or a Voucher, the code will need to be entered in the “VOUCHER” section when you book.

Can I be picked up at locations other than those listed?

If you or your group would like to be picked up at a location other than one of the locations listed on the booking form, please email Blazin’ Paddles by replying to your confirmation email. Our dispatch will let you know whether or not we can confirm your pickup location. Otherwise, please arrange to get to one of our many pickup points. Please remember, that although we provide complimentary shuttles for designated pickup points, you will not be reimbursed for the cost of getting to a designated pickup point. Similarly, if you decide to drive to Willow Beach, the Park Service will charge you $25 to park your car and this fee will not be reimbursed by Blazin’ Paddles.

Will there be time for swimming?

Both the full day and half day tours will take you to beaches where you can enjoy the beautiful crystal clear waters of the Colorado River!

How many people will be on my tour?

We are a small group operator. There will rarely be more than 14 people on a tour and usually 12.

Your wonderful pets!

We love all of our pets and we know you do, too. However, that may not be the case for all of our guests, so please leave your pets at home. It is our policy not to allow pets on our kayak tours.

How much stuff should I bring?

Our recommendation is that you bring as little as possible. On the full-day tour you will need a government-issued picture ID. You might also want to bring a little cash to spend at the Marina store after your trip or for gratuities. Feel free to dress in what you will wear on the river. Otherwise, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is all you need. Although there are dry hatches in the kayak, they are only as dry as how well you fit the lid on. If you tip your kayak and the dry hatch is not tightly secured, you will lose everything to the bottom of the river! We sell dry bags and dry phone cases if you don’t have any. Please try to leave purses and handbags and other bulky items at home or in your hotel or car. Unfortunately you will not be able to leave items on the bus as it makes multiple trips throughout the day.

Will I be able to make last minute purchases?

Yes, after we pick everyone up, we stop at our office to fill out liability waivers and use the restrooms before we head to the river. You will have the opportunity to grab a water or coffee and purchase any last minute merchandise at that time.

What should I wear?

During the summer months it is going to be HOT, but don’t worry you have a river that is 55 degrees to cool you down! You are going to want to wear clothes that dry easily and please stay away from cotton. It is always advisable to dress in layers so that you can take off or keep on layers depending on the weather. Hat, sunglasses and water shoes are always a good choice! Avoid flip-flops; they don’t go backwards and they don’t protect the soles of your feet from sharp rocks. If you do not have the proper gear for the trip, you can purchase essentials at our shop before you head to the river.

How long does it take to get to the river?

For the half-day tour it will take about 45 minutes from the last pick up at our office to get to the river. For the full-day tour it will only be about 25 minutes. Our office is about 15 minutes from the Strip, depending on traffic on the route to the river. The total length of time, of course, depends on how many hotel pickups there are and what Strip traffic is like, but can be as much as 90 minutes.

I cannot swim, should I go?

If you are willing to face your fears of the water, we are willing to take you. It is the law enforced by the National Park Rangers to be wearing your life jacket when on the water at all times. In fact you would be fined $200 if you are not wearing it. So those who cannot swim will have no problem on this kayak trip!

Do I need to bring water or snacks?

We provide you with enough water and snacks on all of our tours, but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

Do you have a weight limit? I’m concerned I won’t fit in the kayak.

We don’t have a set weight limit because fitting in a kayak has more to do with your body shape than your weight. Similarly, being able to handle the full-day tour has more to do with your athletic ability and upper body strength than your weight. In fact, smaller guests with little arm strength might have more of a challenge than large guests with good upper body strength. If you have a pear-shaped body (upward triangle), we generally find that the upper weight limit for a guest to safely paddle a kayak is around 250 lbs. If you have a rectangular body shape or an apple body shape (downward triangle), we generally find that the upper weight limit for a guest to safely paddle a kayak is around 280 lbs. If you are concerned, please let us know and we will discretely help you make your go or no-go decision.

Are we going to see wildlife?

The keyword to that statement is “wild,” and although we cannot promise any wildlife, there are many species that we will be keeping our eyes peeled for such as big horn sheep grazing on tamarisk, or a bald eagle soaring above. Just make sure you do not step on any rattlesnakes!

Is a camera worth bringing?

Absolutely! You will have breathtaking scenic views all day, no matter which tour you decide to go on. You will have compartments on your kayak that will be able to store your personal belongings. However, these compartments only work as well as you fit the cap on correctly. If you are worried about ruining your camera please bring a dry bag, or purchase a waterproof phone case at our store before embarkation.

What is the best type of footwear?

You will definitely be getting your feet wet on this tour! Closed-toe water shoes are thoroughly recommended. The rocks can be sharp and slippery on some of the short hikes we will be taking you on, so make sure your footware has good padding. Try not to wear flip-flops or thongs. Old sneakers work well. If water shoes just won’t fit in your suitcase, don’t worry, you can purchase them before the tour begins at our office.

Will I be getting wet?

The answer to this one is easy, YES! Best-case scenario you will be getting at least knee deep in water! Please dress accordingly with bathing suits and non-cotton t-shirts. The full-day tour visits amazing 100-degree hot spring pools, and there will be plenty of opportunities to swim.

Do the kayaks flip?

We provide you with top of the line 15 -17 foot touring kayaks that glide on the water. You are sacrificing stability that you would normally get with smaller 12-foot recreational kayaks. Flipping, although rare, does happen from time to time. All of our guides are trained to get you back into your boats safely, and in a timely fashion. Don’t worry; the water is too cold for the rattlesnakes! If you are concerned about flipping, please consider using a double kayak, which are much harder to flip. Always ensure that the waterproof caps on the dry holes are snug and securely fastened to avoid losing your valuables if you do flip!

Do I need to tip my guide? 

Although tipping is not required, it is a great way to show appreciation to your guide if you think they did a great job! If you have two guides on your tour they will always equally share the tips!