Nevada’s dry, arid landscape might not sound like a suitable destination for SUP, but you might be surprised by some of the gems hiding here. There are dozens of excellent lakes and rivers to paddle on. Check out these five spots next time you’re in the state.
Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe
Incline Village might be a more popular spot on Lake Tahoe for paddlers, but Sand Harbor offers arguably more bang for your buck, so to speak. The 55-acre recreational area boasts calm waters with enough room to maneuver around the swarm of families that descend upon Tahoe in the summer. Sweeping views, beautiful weather, and a variety of activities make it a great option for a weekend SUP getaway. Who doesn’t love a place with a dedicated Shakespeare stage all throughout the summer?
Colorado River, Black Canyon Water Trail
The Black Canyon Water Trail on the Colorado River provides some of the most awe-inspiring views in Nevada. The 12-mile stretch of water begins just below the Hoover Dam and is only a short drive from Las Vegas. You’ll paddle through narrow slot canyons, volcanic dikes, and even swing by a few hot springs along the way. The waters here are a bit more dramatic than a lake, but still passable for anyone with a little experience with SUP. However, depending on the weather the winds gusts can turn beastly. Be sure to check your route ahead of time.
Near Reno, where the Truckee River flows out of Lake Tahoe, lies a body of water known as Pyramid Lake. The lake rests in a natural depression that becomes flooded with water from the nearby mountain rain and snowmelt. Pyramid Lake is one of the largest natural bodies of water in Nevada and showcases some truly wonderful scenery. It rests among a backdrop of mountainous skylines and a rugged desert terrain of unique stone structures. The waters here seemingly turn from blue to gray depending on the weather, and are calm enough that you won’t get worn out after an hour.
The Amargosa River in southern Nevada flows from the Oasis Valley of Nye County all the way into Death Valley in California. The 185-mile stretch of water passes through some of the country’s harshest climates, but the Nevada section of the river is a must for paddlers. Spectacular scenery and wildlife are in abundance along the waterway, and much of the river is calm enough to allow paddlers to pass. You’ll even find rare areas of dense, riparian greenery along the way. Make it a weeklong trip just to reach the Amargosa Canyon in California, if you can, just for the beautiful waterfalls alone.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge only receives 6.4 inches of rainfall annually, yet still boasts 580 acres of open water to explore thanks to the Crystal and Ash Springs. It’s one of the most diverse regions in the state with a mixture of marshes, lakes, riparian habitats, meadows and desert tundra spread across a total of 5,382 acres. As you can probably imagine, it offers loads of great opportunities for adventure. Paddling is allowed on the Upper Pahranagat, though you’ll need to seek out permission and follow the rules to a T. The wildlife refuge contains numerous species of animal and plant that are susceptible to damage; explore, but be kind.