WILLOW BEACH — There is a cave with sparkling green water right here in Arizona!
Welcome to the Emerald Cave at Emerald Cove in Willow Beach, Arizona. This glowing green spectacle is only accessible by boat...unless you take a virtual tour.
You have never seen mystical green Jello-looking waters like these! When the sun shines at the right angle, reflections off the sediment on the cave walls make the river water look bright green.
Watch the video above to take the virtual tour of this cave filled with sparkling green waves!
There is a brilliant natural hideaway nestled two miles from Willow Beach on the Colorado River near Hoover Dam. The waters inside a small cave turn a brilliant emerald green at certain times of the day and year.
Emerald Cave is a natural phenomenon that occurs on the Colorado River border between Nevada and Arizona, on the Arizona side. The Emerald Cave sits on the mouth of the Emerald Cove on the Black Canyon portion of the winding 12-mile stretch.
"The Hoover Dam was built at the top of Black Canyon. The first five miles [of the Colorado River] are full of geothermal hot springs that dump fresh mineral water into the rushing river waters," explained Latham. "This section of the Colorado River is the cleanest, which makes it the clearest. The Colorado River is notoriously muddy because of the snow runoff that feeds into the stream."
"The water in Emerald Cove pools the deepest, cleanest water from Lake Mead. Additionally, the hot springs dump hot mineral water into the river. This hot mineral water is 2,000- to 4,000-year-old trapped rain water that falls all throughout the Great Basin, thus creating the hot springs. The hot springs are activated by volcanic activity beneath the surface, evaporating [into water vapor] that then condenses into rain water which gives us the crystal clear Colorado River waters. This combination gives us the crystal clear water. The water is so clean that it is 94-96% pure drinkable water."
The outdoor adventure sherpa shares that the cave's green waters shine the brightest during the spring and summer months. The canyon walls lining Emerald Cove are 5,000 to 7,000 ft. high.
"When the sun is high enough in the sky is when you get the most glow -- beginning around March or early April."
The expert elaborates, "[The green effect] is based on the sun's position in the sky. In the summer, the sun is directly over the water. The light from the sun pierces down to the bottom of the river, reflects off the bottom of the river and reflects into Emerald Cave -- illuminating the otherwise dark cave in a shade of emerald green. [When you are inside Emerald Cave,] the light breaks through the water and bathes your skin in bright green. The sunlight also reflects off of the surface of the water, creating a disco ball effect!"
As the world navigates the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are not encouraging travel. This article is meant to be informative and fun -- a way to learn about our beautiful state from the comfort of your home.