3 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Contrary to popular belief, a full Grand Canyon rafting experience doesn’t require weeks of hiking and riverside camping. For those that have the time and inclination, that sounds like an awesome trip! But we understand that many people may only be able to devote a few days to rafting when visiting the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, a short 3 day tour will give you more than enough time to experience the beating heart of the Grand Canyon, from its thrilling white water rapids to its towering vermillion walls.

Why Choose a 3 Day Trip?

The first and most obvious benefit of a 3 day rafting trip is that it’s one of the most time-effective ways to experience the Grand Canyon. With convenient return transportation options, you can be relaxing back at your hotel in Las Vegas or checking in to your flight at McCarran Airport by 2:00 pm on the final day.

Despite only running over a handful of days, 3 day canyon rafting trips manage to pack a lot of activities in over this time. This means there’s something to suit every adventurer, from family horseback riding at Bar 10 Ranch to exhilarating rapids rafting at the mouth of Lake Mead.

When it comes to 3 day trips, there’s simply no time to spare for trekking in and out of the Grand Canyon National Park on foot. While we do offer optional side canyon hikes, you won’t need to worry about any mandatory trail hikes. What’s more, if you’re a traveler who likes to holiday in style, you’ll be happy to know that our 3 day trip transportation options include both a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon near Whitmore Wash and a jetboat ride out of the Grand Canyon via Lake Mead.

In addition to being a convenient way for families and working professionals to visit the Grand Canyon, 3 day white water rafting trips are also a fantastic option for thrill-seeking adventurers who are looking for a quick yet affordable long weekend holiday. While spending your day on the river, you’ll traverse no less than 5 major rapid systems, each of which is rated at least 5+ on the Grand Canyon rapids rating system. This is to say nothing for the breathtaking Lake Mead jetboat ride that awaits you at the end of your route.

3 Day Trips in the Western Grand Canyon

At this point in time, the only 3 day outfitter-run raft Grand Canyon trips on offer are located in the westernmost section of the Grand Canyon. However, if you want to raft between Lees Ferry and Phantom Ranch or Lees Ferry and Whitmore Wash, check out our trip options for the Upper Canyon and full Grand Canyon routes.

In most cases, the group size for 3 day Western Canyon tours is between 12 and 14 passengers. Please note, due to time constraints on shorter trips, 3 day Western Canyon tours are only available via motorized raft.

Day 1: Beginning the Adventure

Our 3 day Grand Canyon rafting trips begin at 10:15 am with a quick briefing at Desert Rose Resort. From here, we take you and your raft mates via air-conditioned coach to Boulder Airport. After a quick flight, you'll land at Bar 10 Ranch, an old school family-run cattle lodge bordering the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. While at Bar 10 Ranch, you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with any other raft groups staying there before their adventure. However, when it’s time to depart in the morning, rafters will need to gather in their designated raft group.

After a local lunch, you and your raft mates will have an opportunity to explore the ranch, listen in on cowboy lore presentations, or try some activities. Please note, Bar 10's ATV ranch tours are not covered by the cost of outfitter-run trips. After a packed day of activities, you'll enjoy a hearty ranch dinner and settle in for a memorable night's sleep under the stars.

Day 2: Rafting the Colorado River

By far the most action-packed day in the trip, day 2 starts with a bang! After waking up to the comforting sounds of cattle on the ranch, you and your raft group will board a helicopter to be taken down to the Grand Canyon river. As the helicopter begins to descend towards the river, you'll be met with the stunning twin views of distant Las Vegas and the fast-approaching scenery of Grand Canyon National Park.

Upon disembarking the helicopter, the rafting stage of the trip will finally begin! Starting at Whitmore Wash and terminating at Lake Mead, the Western Canyon route stretches for approximately 92 river miles. Over the course of 2 days of rafting, passengers will encounter 13 distinct rapids systems, including at least five major 5+ rated rapids. When it’s time to maneuver through the rapids (don’t worry, our experienced guides will handle the steering of the raft), you and your raft mates will need to hold on tight as the raft bumps and sprays through the icy white water of the Colorado River.

In between the adrenaline rush of the rapids, passengers can relax as their raft gently floats downriver. During this time, our professional river guide will be happy to answer any questions about the canyon’s history, geography, geology, or ecology. Once all your questions are answered, some passengers use this moment to sit back and rest while admiring the stunning canyon scenery.

After traversing some of the most exciting rapids in Grand Canyon National Park, the tour will stop in at a suitable sandy beach and you and your raft mates will get ready for a delicious lunch. Prepared riverside by our professional guides, expect gourmet deli-style sandwiches, fresh salads, and delicious baked goods.

After lunch, it’s time to get back out on the river! Following a jam-packed afternoon of rapids, rafters can look forward to an optional side canyon hike and a mouth-watering campfire dinner.

Day 3: A Trip to Remember

On the final day of your trip, you and your raft mates will wake up to freshly brewed coffee, steaming hot tea, and ice-cold juice. After a scrumptious hot breakfast, you’ll spend the morning tackling more rapids and, if time allows, additional side canyon hikes. Early in the afternoon, 3 day Grand Canyon trips conclude with a scenic jet boat ride across the calm waters of Lake Mead. After crossing Lake Mead, we’ll have air-conditioned transportation ready to take you back to Las Vegas via Desert Rose Resort or McCarran Airport. Please note, if you're flying out from McCarran Airport on the final evening of your trip, make sure to only book flights that depart after 6:30 pm.

Top 5 FAQ: 3 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips