Hoover Dam to London Bridge

A little more than 100 miles on the lower Colorado.


Spring break, 2000. Some party, some stay at home. I decided that a real kayak trip was called for. With my red Folbot I navigated the Colorado River from Hoover Dam (near Las Vegas on the Arizona - Nevada border) down-river more than 100 miles to London Bridge, which is a tourist attraction on Lake Havasu, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This all occurred from Saturday, March 18th to Saturday, March 25th, 2000.

For anyone interested in doing the same, it is well worth doing. Mainly, I'd suggest making the trip in winter or early spring. Late spring brings out the motor boats, and summer is too hot for normal human beings.

I wish to thank Dennis Laforge for his assitance making me a kayak carrier for the Davis Dam portage, which otherwise would have been the Davis DAMN *&%$^# portage, and Ralph Lucas for help on the kayak carrier and especially for shuttling me to the put-in point.

Hoover Dam. I p u t in at Willow Beach landing, about ten miles downstream of Hoover Dam, Saturday afternoon. I had to paddle upstream against a sometimes pretty strong current, and didn't get there 'till noon the next day. At that point the trip began for real and I turned her downstream.

Just below Hoover Dam, several small caves beckon for exploration.

Lunch break in Black Canyon, the wild stretch of the river between Hoover Dam and Willow Beach. I saw plenty of birds, like I think Osprey (I'm no great naturalist), and I saw bighorn sheep on the Nevada side on Saturday. No telephoto lens for the sheep!

Also a short distance downstream of Hoover, this waterfall and palm tree seemed like the only beaucolic sight amid the desert and the black jagged canyon walls.

They had a guaging station on the river here, and to reach it they apparently needed this catwalk. No, thanks.

Monday I was on Lk. Mohave, which begins about at Willow Beach and extends about 50 more miles south to Davis Dam. There was a cold front coming through Monday, and the winds were too blustery to use the sail safely. The sail actually opens up to twice this size, to form an upside-down kite shape.

Monday night's camp at Lonesome Wash, or so my map called it.

After a long, enjoyable day of sailing before a north wind down most of the Lake, I made camp about 12 miles from Davis Dam, here on the west shore. Note my tent at lower right. I could have sailed the whole lake in a day, but the winds got stronger in the afternoon and generated huge waves that made going further unsafe.

Evening relaxing in camp, sunset light on the mountains to the east.

Wednesday morning, the wind continued from the north. This is Cottonwood Island, looking astern as I was under sail.

As I approached Davis Dam Wednesday, the wind occasionally blew so hard that my bow "submarined" into the wave in front, spilling water in the cockpit. I tried to get a picture of this, but the digital camera isn't good for split-second timing. Seems like you push the shutter release, and it takes the picture at some time when it feels like it. Not like a mechanical shutter. So this is the best I got.

Now the trick was to get around Davis Dam.

The Colorado River below Davis Dam.

The kayak carrier is quickly assembled ...

... and off I go.

It's about a 3/4 mile road trip down to the river.

Ready to put in the Colorado and go with the current all the way to Lake Havasu.

To be continued ...

Last updated on 04-12-2000

Thanks for coming, be sure to email me at jbruton@northlink.com