As local communities continue to update Covid-19 regulations, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for the latest information.

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Nevada

By April Horning

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Nevada


While most people know that Nevada is generally warm and full of desert landscape, there are some breathtaking waterways to be enjoyed as well. One of the best ways to enjoy the lakes and rivers in Nevada is by taking up the wonderful sport of kayaking. Not only are there some amazing waterways to be explore, many of them are pretty easy to travel so they make for great beginners' trips. If you’re really new to the sport, take a safety course before heading out. Explore one of our top five choices for beginning kayaking in Nevada for your next trip! 

1. Black Canyon

This is the perfect combination of breathtaking scenery and mild enough waters for the whole family. Start your journey with Desert Adventures, who offer guided tours of the area. Part of the Colorado River, this trip is a little different since the water is moving, but it’s significantly flat. There are no rapids or rock sections that may be a hazard for those new to the sport. The access point to start this trek is Lower Portal Road at the base of Hoover Dam. The guides are also really great about pointing out key sites along the way you may not notice otherwise. Having a team to support new paddlers is also great in the event someone falls out of their vessel. The kids will love the time learning to paddle and the parents love the bonus waiting at the end of this trip. The natural hot springs are wonderful to calm well used muscles! 

2. Lake Mead

Lake Mead is a family-friendly place to learn to paddle or to build newly emerging skills. The location is central enough so you do not need to worry about an accident somewhere too isolated to get help. There are also a full range of rental options with Kayak Lake Mead if you do not own your own equipment or want to test something new. Lessons with Kayak Lead Mead offer some great tips for those wanting to get into the sport as a hobby. They take the time to match each participant with the best fit as far as equipment goes. The lake itself is also relatively easy to maneuver! 

3. Truckee River Whitewater Park

The Truckee River runs through downtown Reno and offers something unique to all skills levels, a river that has been sculpted into a park for skill practice. There are rapids to test skills, from those just starting out to the experts. The best part about the park is the ease of use. Everything is user-friendly and you know exactly what you are getting into before you try each part of the park. The park is also a fun spot to try your hand at water activities including races for all skills and the yearly festival. Many visitors enjoy being able to grab some outdoor adventure without the unpredictability of other rapids.  

4. Willow Beach

Willow Beach is located on the border of Nevada and Arizona. The calm waters are a fun place to try out a new skill. This can be done from a camping spot along the beach or via a tour. Organized by Blazin’ Paddles, this is a unique family trip if you go the tour option as they offer a moonlight kayaking trip. The after dark vision of shore wildlife and the sites gives the whole family a different view of the world. This option is also great during the summer months for younger family members who may not handle the sun well. The heat after dark is much more manageable. The kids will love paddling with glow sticks and quietly watching for the elusive night creatures taking a break on the shore. 

5. Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

While this area is known for the wildlife, the waterways are very user friendly for those new to the sport. The connecting waterways of the refuge gives families a glimpse into much of the wildlife you just can't see from a hiking trail. Because this area is on the migration path of many local waterfowl, this is a fun trip to plan for those times. This is not just a location to hit in the summer, fall trips can also be pretty amazing. The park is just over 5,000 acres so there is a lot to explore. This quickly becomes the go-to destination for many families because there is always something new to see along the way.

As local communities continue to update Covid-19 regulations, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for the latest information.