Lower Canyon trips begin at the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village with a 7.5-9.5 mile hike down the Bright Angel Trail to begin your river trip. There are 3 different starting points depending on the itinerary of the outfitter: Pipe Creek Beach, Boat Beach or Bright Angel Beach near Phantom Ranch (river mile 88). After meeting your river guides and settling into your raft, you will begin rafting the lower canyon of the Colorado river. Within just a few miles, you will experience some exciting waters: Horn Creek, Granite and Hermit Rapids. Serpentine, Crystal, Havasu Canyon and Lava Falls Rapids will await you. This is white water river rafting at its finest, including 39 rated rapids! You’ll explore between miles of pristine natural beauty through canyon walls towering over 4,500 feet, including waterfalls, Indian ruins, and wildlife ranging from canyon wrens to bighorn sheep. Some more notable attractions include Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, Tapeats Creek, Matkatamiba Canyon, Havasu Canyon and Granite Narrows. Rest assured, River Guides provide expert river skills, gourmet meals, canyon lore, emergency skills and supplies and information about geology and wildlife.
As the days pass you’ll get more comfortable in the Grand Canyon, arriving at a new campsite each late afternoon and dining river-side. Delicious food that will amaze, the most incredible views and sleeping under the stars are just a precursor to waking up to one of the most magnificent sunrises you’ll ever see. Not only will your qualified and talented river guides prepare gourmet meals, but they are also well versed in geology, wildlife, canyon lore and trained in first aid for emergency situations.
Each morning you will enjoy waking up to freshly brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast. After camp has been taken down and boats loaded, you will spend several hours on and off of the river with one or two side canyon hikes each day. Depending on your location on the river, some days you will hike more and travel less, and others travel more and hike less. Your guides, who each have their own specialty be it geology, history, canyon lore, etc. will entertain you with endless knowledge while you enjoy the views of the million year old rock walls surrounding you.
All of the meals are prepared for you, and all camping gear is included. While at camp you have your choice either sleeping inside a tent or under the stars on a comfortable cot or sleeping pad, with a warm sleeping bag & sheet. Dry bags are also supplied so you can protect your items from water.
Hiking from Lower Canyon Rim to River
At the beginning of your lower canyon adventure, you will with hike down the canyon via the bright angel trail. The trail is well maintained and has water stations at mile 1.5, mile 3, mile 4.8 and mile 9. On average, descent time from rim to river is 4-6 hours.
This is a strenuous hike, especially during the summer months between June-August, and should be considered only by those who are fit and healthy as you will be carrying all of your gear with you on your hike up. Please note that some outfitters’ itineraries can accommodate the “inbound” duffel service, a service which can transport your gear for a fee.
Depending on the particular operator and trip you choose, there are multiple take out points, with no hike-out responsibility. The Whitmore Wash (Helipad) at river mile 188, the Diamond Creek Road at river mile 225, a take-out via jetboat ride across Lake Mead beginning just below Separation Canyon at river mile 240, to the take out point at river mile 280. Trips that end at Whitmore Wash end in a short helicopter ride to Bar 10 Ranch. From there a charter plane will take you back to either the South Rim (your starting point) or Las Vegas. Once you’ve selected your trip, all of these details will be presented.
Meeting locations depend on itineraries which vary from one outfitter to the next. Return transportation also depends as some trips return you to the South Rim, while others back to Flagstaff or Las Vegas.
Getting to South Rim, you may arrive at:
Las Vegas NV – Trip may start here or you may use as a hub and take a charter flight to the South Rim or travel by car or shuttle service (4-6 hours)
Phoenix, AZ – You may travel by car or shuttle service to Flagstaff (2-4 hours) or to South Rim (4-6 hours)
Flagstaff AZ – Fly into Flagstaff, or drive from Phoenix via car or shuttle service (2-4 hours) or from Las Vegas via car or shuttle service (4-6 hours)