Oct 1, 2021

The Emerald Cave, a Las Vegas Treasure

Las Vegas: We argue that this is the real city that never sleeps. When you think about a trip to Las Vegas, the first things that come to mind are scenes of casinos with their bright neon lights, luxurious world-class resorts, and over-the-top entertainment shows and attractions.

However, what many people don’t know is that there’s another side of Las Vegas — one that is more peaceful and serene. If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowds and take a break from all the glitz and glamour of city life, you might want to explore the various outdoor activities that the city has to offer.

One of the best things to do in Las Vegas that is perfect for all ages is to enjoy the beauty of nature through a guided kayak tour. About an hour from Las Vegas, in the Black Canyon, lies the Emerald Cave. In this blog, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about this enchanting geological formation and why it could be one of the highlights of your Las Vegas adventure!

Where Can I Find the Emerald Cave?

Just outside of Las Vegas is the Lake Mead Recreation Area, which was the first national recreation area designated in the US. 

Here, you won’t just find Lake Mead, which is known for boating activities. It also covers parts of the Colorado River below the Hoover Dam, including the Black Canyon National Water Trail. Along this 26-mile trail, you’ll witness amazing canyons and cliffs, natural hot springs, and a crowd favorite: the Emerald Cave. 

As the name suggests, the water in this shallow cave sparkles like a spectacular emerald gem when the sun hits it at the right angle. Every year, about 25,000 people kayak, canoe, or raft this part of the Colorado River for an unforgettable experience, and of course, to take some Instagram-worthy photos.

What Makes the Emerald Cave Light Up Green?

Why exactly does the magnificent Emerald Cave light up green? It’s because of algae and the specific way the light hits it. The emerald green sparkle is produced when the sun’s rays shoot through the 900-foot canyon walls and reflect off of the clear waters of the Colorado River.

As the light plays together with the brownish-yellow walls of the cave — combined with the green algae on the bottom of the river — a mesmerizing, ethereal glow is produced in this otherwise shadowy cave, enveloping visitors in a natural emerald green radiance.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

While you can visit the Emerald Cave at any time of the year, it’s important to note that this is part of a desert where temperatures can rise over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. So, if you want to enjoy your tour in this dazzling cave and soak in a few hot springs, it’s best to plan your trip during the autumn, winter, or spring.

While paddling your way across the Colorado River’s glassy waters during the winter is relaxing, the heat of the summer can also make the cool water all the more enticing and refreshing. In the end, it all boils down to your personal preferences, what you’re planning to do during the trip, and your family’s availability.

Why Join a Guided Kayak Tour to Emerald Cave?

The only way to check out this hidden treasure in Las Vegas is by paddling along the Black Canyon Water Trail. Going on your own is not recommended because it could be a hit or miss. 

From the outside, the Emerald Cave is easy to miss, not to mention that it only lights up green at certain times of the day. Therefore, the best possible approach is to join a guided kayak tour to Emerald Cave.

Evolution Expeditions is one of the most reliable tour operators with expert guides who don’t only know the ins and outs of Emerald Cave and the Black Canyon Water Trail, but can also acquaint you with the history of this awe-inspiring area. What’s great about our kayak tours is that we perfectly time the departures so you’ll reach the cave while the water sparkles bright green.

Although your ultimate destination is the cave, joining the tour also gives you an excellent opportunity to view the scenic beauty of the Black Canyon. Along the trail, you’ll find geological features, spectacular wildlife (like desert bighorn sheep, osprey, falcons, bald eagles, and great blue heron), hidden beaches, hot springs, and historic buildings and structures from building the Hoover Dam.


Whether you’re an experienced or a first-time paddler, Evolution Expeditions offers a fun-filled kayak adventure. Plus, you won’t have to worry about going hungry, as the package includes delicious snacks and a catered lunch on a remote beach where you can swim and bond with your family and friends.

Are you itching to go on an exciting adventure after a long period of being stuck at home? Why not explore all that Las Vegas has to offer?

With all the available outdoor activities, nature trips, entertainment venues, casinos, resorts, and educational spots, the city is an ideal destination for the whole family.

And while you’re planning your trip, don’t forget to add in a guided kayak tour to your list of things to do in Las Vegas and discover the breathtaking Emerald Cave. It’s a delightfully unique experience that will undoubtedly change your view of the city as just a spot for gambling, nightclubs, and luxury.

Ready to plan your outing? Contact us today for help or book your kayak tour of the Emerald Cave online.

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