When most people think of the state of Arizona, they think of towering cactus, red rocks, and ghost towns. Arizona is also home to a few lovely waterfalls, iconic swimming pools, and hidden bodies of water. Emerald Cove is a small cove tucked away near a relatively secluded stretch of the Colorado River that features sparkling water with a brilliant green hue that truly lives up to its name.
One of the primary reasons that Emerald Cove is still relatively obscure is that it can only be reached by canoe, kayak, or boat. Most travelers choose to travel via canoe or kayak, as Emerald Cove is relatively small. The journey to Emerald Cove includes paddling through a quiet, picturesque red rock canyon. Most visitors start at the Willow Beach Marina. It takes approximately 2 hours to paddle from the Willow Beach Marina to Emerald Cove. It is important to pack snacks, sunscreen, and plenty of water so that you can enjoy your day out on the water without succumbing to hunger, dehydration, or heat exhaustion.
Depending on the time of year, visitors may spot a waterfall or a herd of bighorn sleep grazing in the distance. Travelers almost always spot several ducks floating on the water. Emerald Cove is home to a large colony of bats, so don’t be surprised if you hear fluttering and squeaking if you visit early in the morning or close to dusk.
Emerald Cove is quite small, but seeing water that is the same vibrant green as the northern lights is certainly worth the trip. The Black Canyon Wilderness area—where Emerald Cove is located—is less than an hour from bustling Las Vegas. If your nerves are frayed from gambling, dining and drinking in Sin City, a day trip to Emerald Cove is an excellent place to regroup and recharge.
If a rugged kayaking trip up the Colorado River leaves you thirsting for more adventure, consider visiting the nearby Arizona Hot Springs. The Arizona Hot Springs can be accessed via kayak or boat on the Colorado River, or via car just off of State Route 93. It is important to note that the Arizona Hot Springs are closed during the hottest months of the year. It is vital to check local listings before planning your trip.
There are a few different trails that will take you to the Arizona Hot Springs. The hot springs are tucked away in a towering red rock canyon. Much like Emerald Cove, the canyon walls that surround the Arizona Hot Springs are conductive to serenity and solitude.
If you know where to look, Arizona isn’t all red rocks and sagebrush. The austere beauty of the desert is punctuated by mesmerizing green water and clear thermal pools that could easily put the French Riviera to shame. If you’re in the mood for a relaxing day on the water, you don’t have to travel all the way to California or Florida. Arizona’s hidden bodies of water are as rejuvenating as any popular Atlantic or Pacific beach.