3 - 5 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

3 day Grand Canyon rafting trips are the shortest offered, and are among the most popular motor trip options offered in the upper and western canyon routes.Upper canyon motor trips are 3-4 days in length, begin at Lees Ferry river mile 0, and end with a hike out via the Bright Angel Trail.Lower canyon raft trips are offered in 5-6 day trip lengths and begin at river mile 88 with a hike into the canyon.Western canyon raft trips are 3-5 days in length and do not require any hiking in or out as you'll be transported into the canyon via helicopter.

3 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips in Upper Canyon

Upper Canyon Map

3-4 Day Upper Canyon
Motor Rafting Trips:

  • Cost Range: $1,080 – $1,500
  • Raft: Motor
  • Meet: Las Vegas NV, Flagstaff AZ, Page AZ or Marble Canyon AZ
  • Route Begins: Lees Ferry – Mile 0
  • Route Ends: Bright Angel Trail – South Rim, Grand Canyon Village – Mile 88
  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5-mile ascent via Bright Angel Trail at trip’s end
Lower Grand Canyon Map

Lower Canyon Map

5-6 Day Lower Canyon
Motor Rafting Trips:

  • Cost Range: $1,323 – $2,140
  • Raft: Motor
  • Meet: South Rim, Grand Canyon Village
  • Route Begins: Bright Angel Trail – South Rim, Grand Canyon Village – Mile 88
  • Route Ends: 3 options – Whitmore Wash – Mile 188, Diamond Creek – Mile 225, Lake Mead –Mile 280
  • Rapids: 19-28 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5 descent via Bright Angel Trail at trip’s start
Western Grand Canyon Map

Western Canyon Map

3-5 Day Western Canyon
Motor Rafting Trips:

  • Cost Range: $1,247 – $2,314
  • Raft: Motor/Oar/Dory
  • Route Begins: Whitmore Wash – Mile 188
  • Route Ends: Lake Mead – Mile 280
  • Rapids: 5 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Required Hike: None at start or end

A 3-day to 5-day Grand Canyon rafting tour is one of the most time-effective ways to explore the Grand Canyon and its accompanying river systems. Our Grand Canyon rafting outfitters currently offer a wide range of multi-day trips. If you don't have time for a full trip, you can tour one of three separate sections of the Grand Canyon National Park: The Upper Canyon, the Lower Canyon, or the Western Canyon.

What to Expect on an Upper Grand Canyon Trip?

Touring the Upper Grand Canyon necessitates either a 3-day or 4-day trip. Beginning at Lees Ferry, 204 miles from Las Vegas, an Upper Canyon trip offers adventurers access to 19 major whitewater rapids. River rapids in the Upper Canyon are all 5+ rated and include the House Rock Rapid, the Zoroaster Rapid, and the Sockdolager rapid.

What to Expect on a Lower Grand Canyon Trip?

Lower Canyon motor rafting expeditions are available for 5-6 day trips and begin at river mile 88 with a hike down to your put-in point. Lower Grand Canyon trips have three ending point options: Whitmore Wash, Diamond Creek, and Lake Mead. If you end your trip at Diamond Creek or Lake Mead, you'll exit the Grand Canyon river system by taking an exhilarating jet boat ride across the lake. After crossing Lake Mead, you can take a charter flight or helicopter ride back to Las Vegas. If you have time, we recommend booking a scenic air tour that returns to Las Vegas via the Upper and Lower Grand Canyon.

What to Expect on a Western Grand Canyon River Trip?

A Western Canyon raft trip offers 3 days to 5 days on the river and, because you're dropped in via a helicopter out of Las Vegas, it doesn't require any hiking in or out of the canyon. Beginning at Whitmore Wash, western river expeditions in the Grand Canyon will take you past Diamond Creek and Separation Canyon, eventually ending up in Lake Mead, a man-made water reservoir only 24 miles away from Las Vegas, NV. In addition to supplying water to Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV, Lake Mead also doubles as a recreational center, giving you the chance to try out horseback riding, jet boating, or skeet shooting.

FAQ: 3-Day to 5-Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips


The cost of a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon will depend on a wide range of factors, including outfitter preference, route trip selection, and raft type choice. Remember, outfitter costs will vary according to seasonal demand; the price ranges listed below are only estimates. For a formal trip quote, get in touch with our friendly team at 888-244-2224 / 928-351-7711 or send us an email at info@advantagegrandcanyon.com. For 3-4 day motor trips in the Upper Canyon, you can expect to pay between $1,080 and $1,500. For 5-6 day trips in the Lower Canyon, the average cost is between $1,320 and $2,140. Finally, for 3-day to 5-day trips in the Western Canyon, you should budget between $1,250 and $2,320.

A day in the Grand Canyon typically begins with a wakeup call from your tour guides. After rousing yourself from sleep, you’ll be greeted with a plate of freshly prepared breakfast and a refreshing mug of coffee, tea, or fruit juice. Over breakfast, your river guides will give your tour group a brief rundown on the day’s itinerary. After the day's briefing, all that's left to do is work together to pack up camp and get back on the Colorado River. Once you’re back on your raft, get ready for a full day traversing the Grand Canyon's thrilling whitewater rapids. Between rapids, you'll have the opportunity to rest and talk with your rafting mates as you float serenely along the Colorado River. Depending on what section of the Grand Canyon you’re touring, you’ll usually spend between 4 and 5 hours on the water every day. When you’re not experiencing the thrill of whitewater rafting, your trip through the Colorado River can be spent in several different ways. If you’re looking to relax, simply lean back and observe your raft's journey as it snakes between the towering river walls of the Grand Canyon National Park. If you want to learn more about the Grand Canyon, you can chat with your raft guide and ask them any questions about the geology, culture, and wildlife of the Grand Canyon National Park. Over the course of a typical day, you'll have the opportunity to stretch your legs and explore the canyon system via one or more elective side hikes. Some side hikes lead to breathtaking natural viewing platforms over the Grand Canyon National Park and Colorado River, others lead to historic Havasupai or Hualapai Indian cultural sites.

Once you've booked your trip, we’ll make sure you receive a comprehensive checklist of required clothing, toiletries, and accessories. Remember, your rafting outfitter will be responsible for bringing all the relevant camping and rafting equipment. While your outfitter will also take care of food, you may choose to bring some extra trail snacks. If you’d like to bring beer or wine (for consumption at the campsite only), most outfitters are happy to receive and pack your order in your raft ahead of time.

The last thing anyone wants after a long day of river rafting is tasteless or small portion meals. To avoid such an outcome, our Grand Canyon river outfitters devote a lot of their trip preparation time to designing delicious, full-size menus. For breakfast, you can expect fan-favorite cereals, sizzling bacon and eggs, and freshly cooked pancakes. When you stop for lunch, your tour guide will usually set-up a build-your-own deli-style sandwich board. After setting up camp, your tour guides will get to work preparing a mouth-watering dinner. Outfitter dinner options cater to a diverse range of eating preferences and dietary requirements, from grilled ribeye steaks with buttery potatoes to bulging bean and vegetable burritos. If you’re hungry between meals, your tour guides will happily tide you over with their supply of sweet and salty snacks, fresh fruit, and electrolyte replacement drinks. When your raft group pulls up to camp, your guides will set-up a duffel shuffle to quickly and efficiently unpack the camping, kitchen, and bathroom gear from your raft. In addition to an ultra-comfortable fold-out cot or sleeping bag, rafting outfitters also provide camping chairs and spacious two-person tents. In the cooler months, outfitters come prepared with fleece-lined sleeping bags and extra blankets. If you’ve never been camping before, you can rest easy knowing that all our camping equipment is designed for quick, stress-free set-up and pack-down. While you’re preparing your sleeping area, your tour guides will scout out a suitable location for your group’s toilet system. In addition to being private and sanitary, outfitter bathroom systems also include an occupied sign and an external hand wash station. If you need to go to the bathroom while on the Colorado River, your guide can direct you to a private area where you can safely pee into the river from the rear of the raft.

Yes, if you’re planning to raft the Upper or Lower Canyon, you'll need to be prepared for a mandatory hike on the world-famous Bright Angel Trail. Depending on where you start, the Bright Angel Trail is between 7.5 miles and 9.5 miles long. As a popular corridor trail, the Grand Canyon National Park Service carefully maintains the Bright Angel Trail, clearing any dangerous obstacles and installing water stations at four different mile markers. With an average grade of 10 percent, the Bright Angel Trail is accessible to anyone with a moderate level of fitness. For Upper Canyon expeditions, the Bright Angel Trail is the terminus point for your river adventure, taking you from your exit point near Phantom Ranch and ascending up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. According to the Grand Canyon National Park Service, the canyon ascent up the Bright Angel Trail generally takes between 6 and 8 hours. For Lower Canyon tours, you’ll begin your adventure by descending down the Bright Angel Trail to your put-in point at Phantom Ranch. The average adventurer spends between 4 hours and 6 hours descending to the canyon floor. While less physically taxing, most hikers agree that descending the Bright Angel Trail is considerably more strenuous on your knee and ankle joints.

Regardless of raft type (motor, non-motor) these raft trips are active and include daily side canyon hikes (elective). On these hikes, you will often cross streams, have to step up onto larger rocks, so Ideally getting some exercise prior is recommended. Break-in your new shoes, walk around in your new river sandals a hand full of times to avoid blisters. Walk around your neighborhood and perhaps an elliptical machine or stair master for a couple of weeks prior. If, however, you are planning a partial canyon trip (upper or lower canyon route) which requires a strenuous 7.5-9.5 mile hike in or out of the canyon, a more serious workout program must be adopted at least 2 months in advance of your trip. Contact us and we can provide additional information.