The cold season allows us to discover a more magical side of nature, something we can never experience during hot, crowded summer months. This winter, head to the road less traveled for a more exciting nature adventure! Emerald Cove, just an hour from Las Vegas, is an amazing winter kayaking destination you can explore while enjoying the chilly weather and winter wonderland-like views.
Where is Emerald Cove?
Emerald Cove, also called Emerald Cave, is carved within the remote canyon walls along the Colorado River's Black Canyon Water Trail. Despite its secluded location, it still draws more than 25,000 visitors yearly because of its bright green waters and surrounding attractions.
But great scenery comes with great challenges. Due to the cave's tight opening and passageways, only kayaks and other small boats can fit inside. Moreover, navigating toward the cave is considered a time-sensitive tour, as the spectacular waters sparkle best when the sun shines at a specific angle.
Emerald Cave is still a great place to visit any time of the year. The thing is, not everyone enjoys the scorching hot temperatures of the Las Vegas summers. So, schedule your tour during winter for more manageable weather conditions.
Las Vegas' cold season is usually mild. However, December temperatures still range from 38°F to 58°F, so prepare for the risks and challenges of winter kayaking.
How to Dress for Your Emerald Cove Winter Kayaking Tour
Starting to pack winter kayaking clothes? Some paddlers follow the 120-degree rule to determine when it's safe to head to the waters without thermal protection.
This rule states that when the sum of the water and air temperature exceeds 120°F, there's no need to wear a drysuit or wetsuit. Although the 120-degree rule can serve as your guide, it's always best to pack layers for extreme cold, wet conditions.
The weather can change without much warning, and with a comfortable outfit, you can keep your body warm and easily paddle in the right direction inside Emerald Cave's tight passageways. Consider wearing a dry suit, a thermal base, and mid-layers underneath to keep you warm. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon dry quicker than cotton and other natural fibers.
From a quality thermal hat to kayaking shoes, let the best winter accessories protect you from the chilly weather. Pogies are also essential for warmth and maximum dexterity when paddling in cold weather.
Remember to bring a personal flotation device to help stay afloat in case you fall into the water. Wear it throughout the trip, especially if you're going on an extended trip or exploring an unfamiliar location.
What to Bring With You
A dry bag can protect your belongings from dirt and water damage. This type of bag is waterproof and has an airtight seal, making it your most versatile companion when engaging in water activities! They come in various styles and sizes. The right choice depends on your preferences, the length of your Las Vegas kayaking trip, and the things you want to bring.
Make sure to choose a dry bag that provides secure storage and easy gear access. For example, a five- to 10-liter dry bag is enough for a short excursion along the Colorado River to the Emerald Cave.
Aside from extra clothes and water, bring energy-boosting snacks, sunscreen (yes, even in the winter), camera, and a wallet. Moreover, bring your permits and reliable signaling and safety communication devices.
Your phone is considered an emergency tool, but more equipment is necessary for a multi-day trip in secluded locations. Prepare an emergency kit with safety lights, flares, whistles, and flags. In addition, communication devices like a VHF radio or satellite radio are indispensable for long trips.
Winter Kayaking General Safety Tips
Paddling towards Emerald Cave during winter is different from kayaking in sweltering summer conditions. You're good to go during the hot season as long as you're well-hydrated and have sunscreen and a life vest. An accidental fall in cold waters and other unexpected events can put you at huge risk.
It's best to kayak with a friend or a large group of people to immediately get the help you need in times of emergency. If your loved ones are too busy to travel with you, then we encourage you to take a guided Las Vegas kayak tour led by an experienced tour guide.
Tour guides, like the ones at Evolution Expeditions, carry their own communication devices and are experts in implementing rescue techniques. Plus, we’ll secure any necessary permits. With our team, you can have the safest and most fulfilling kayaking experience possible.
Even though you’re kayaking with a professional, create a float plan to let your loved ones know your whereabouts. This should include the planned route, destination, and expected return date. Then, send a copy to a friend or a family member.
What to Expect on a Guided Kayaking Tour
Evolution Expeditions offers two Emerald Cave guided tours. The Deluxe tour is a four-hour journey from the Willow Beach Marina. It allows you to paddle through the Colorado River’s most scenic spots and, at the same time, explore breathtaking sites by foot.
A short trek uphill gives travelers a good view of the canyons. There’s a catered lunch that your group can enjoy as you relax on a remote beach along the Nevada and Arizona shorelines and take photographs of the plants and animals around.
The Express tour is shorter than the Deluxe one. It’s only a three-hour, four-mile adventure, perfect for people who want a quick escape from the busy city. It launches from Willow Beach and paddles through the Colorado River multiple times.
Like the Deluxe tour, it features historical sites around the Black Canyon, including the ones that played a massive role in the Hoover Dam’s construction. This is a short tour, yet it still comes with complimentary snacks to keep you energized while paddling and sightseeing.
Kayak Emerald Cave This Winter
The Emerald Cove is just one of the highlights of several kayaking trips along the Black Canyon and Colorado River. It’s beautiful all year round, yet nothing beats exploring it during winter, with cool weather, glassy waters, and fewer people around.
Ready to get paddling? Book your guided kayaking tour in Las Vegas with Evolution Expeditions today!