FAQ’s

CHOOSING A TRIP

WHICH OUTFITTER OFFERS THE BEST TRIPS?
There are 16 commercial outfitters, and they are all unique in their own way.  All of them have excellent safety records, very experienced guides, high quality rafts/gear and everything you need to ensure an amazing rafting experience. What varies is their individual itineraries: Where trips begin or end,  how many river miles they travel, how many days and raft type.  Some will offer sleeping cots, while others a self-inflating sleeping pad. Some will offer camp chairs while others do not. Some focus only on non-motor trips, while others offer motor as well as non-motor. These are some of the the main differences between one outfitter to the next. Our experts will help you raftthecanyon by matching you with the trip the best fits your needs .
UPPER CANYON OR LOWER CANYON, HOW DO I CHOOSE?
ASK YOURSELF 3 QUESTIONS

1. How much time do I have?
2. Would I prefer to hike out of the canyon or in?
3. What are some highlights on the river that I am hoping to experience ?

1. The Upper Canyon segment ranges from 3-7 days in length (3-4 days for motor trips – 6-7 days for non-motor trips), while the Lower Canyon segment ranges from 4-9 days in length (4-5 days for motor trips – 7-9 for non-motor trips). Some guests simply choose their trip by the amount of time they have to travel. If you have the flexibility to do either a 6 or 9 day trip, you will then want to ask yourself if you prefer to hike out of Grand Canyon or into Grand Canyon.

2. Hiking Grand Canyon is a strenuous and rewarding experience. The Bright Angel trail is 9.5 miles long, and has an elevation change of 4,500 feet. Guests who choose to hike the Canyon need to be prepared for the rigors presented on the trail, and in good physical condition to complete the hike. Upper Canyon trips require you to climb out of Grand Canyon, which is a demanding cardiovascular workout. Lower Canyon trips require you to hike down the Bright Angel trail, putting strain on the joints of the body; making it important to have strong knees, ankles and hips, to help minimize the impact on the body. If you are confident in your ability to either hike into or out of Grand Canyon, you will then want to consider the experience you are hoping to gain while on the river.

3. Both segments of the Grand Canyon offer rapids, geology, archeological sites, vista hikes and the opportunity to explore side canyons on day hikes. However, each segment has more prominent features associated with it. The Upper Canyon often times appeals most to those more interested in Archeology and Geology. With many natural flood planes, the Native Americans had the opportunity to harvest crops in areas of the Upper Canyon, presenting the opportunity to discover archeological sites while on your rafting adventure. In addition to archeological sites, the Upper Canyon also provides an intimate view of each rock layer. As you descend into the Canyon, the rock layers become exposed, creating the chance for your guides to take you on a walk through Grand Canyon’s geological timeline.
With over 100 rapids,the Lower Canyon offers an exciting adventure for thrill seekers hoping to experience big whitewater. This segment of the river has some of the most renown rapids in North America, such as Lava Falls, Crystal, Hermit and Horn Creek. This segment of whitewater is not for the faint of heart. In addition to big whitewater, the Lower Canyon offers more tributaries flowing into the Canyon, creating hidden oasis’ and beautiful waterfalls. Some of the more famous tributaries are Tapeats Creek, Deer Creek Falls, Elves Chasm and Havasupai Creek.

I THINK I WANT TO PADDLE, CAN I?
There are 4 types of non-motor raft types. Oar, Dory, All-Paddle and Hybrid (also referred to as Classic Adventure). The only option to paddle 100% of the time is an ALL-PADDLE TRIP. These trips are recommended for those who have previous multi-day paddle raft experience. It is not a matter of skill level as your guide will be leading/directing the team, it is more about conditioning as muscle fatigue/soreness can set in quickly if you not used to it/prepared. Dory boats and Oar rafts are powered by the guide (who may let you take the oars from time to time). Hybrid trips are a combination of Oar rafts and a Paddle raft to be used on rotation among the guests. This is a great way to experience paddling downs the Colorado river without committing to it 100% of the time as in an All Paddle trip.
IS THE MOTOR ON A MOTOR RAFT LOUD?
Over the years, quieter on-board 4-stroke engines have been adopted by the outfitters. These newer motors are quieter, and have minimized CO2 emissions leaving a smaller carbon footprint. The motor is not loud or annoying and will not disrupt your experience on the river. You are traveling between 8-9 mph during the calmer waters and will likely hear the wind whistling past your ears more than anything else.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO RAFT THE CANYON?
The rafting season is from April – October and each month has it’s own beauty. Spring and Fall trips feature more mild temperatures and cooler, more comfortable sleeping conditions.  June through August trips are the more popular months and often reach temperatures between 100-115 degrees during the day. The monsoon season begins on June 15 and ends on September 30, but the storms peak between mid-July and mid-August and during this time, you can anticipate occasional showers periodically.  These showers often come and go and are refreshing given the high temperatures.  If you’re looking for raft trips with extended hiking, outfitters offer these in spring and fall as the cooler temperatures allow for longer hikes.
HOW DO I BOOK MY TRIP?
We recommend you use our step by step “Build my trip” guide made to educate you on the different options. From there you can either search through actual trips using our “Trip Finder” or allow us to find options for you. Simply fill out our form, we will begin searching for your ideal trip one of our experts will email or call you within 1 business day, listing all available options within your travel window.
BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL-WHICH HIKE IS EASIER?
This depends on your fitness level and prior injuries/ailments. Upper Canyon trips/hiking up and out requires greater stamina/endurance and is more demanding on the heart and lungs. This route is easier on the joints but requires more muscular strength. An advantage is that you will already be acclimated to the dry canyon environment from your rafting adventure, and as you ascend you’ll be hiking out of the heat. The temperature at the rim is about 20 degrees cooler than at the bottom of the canyon. Trekking poles are highly recommended as they can significantly reduce the stress on your lower leg muscles/joints by distributing the weight to your upper body muscles. Lower canyon trips while less taxing with regards to cardio, is much more strenuous on the ankles/knees/hips and calf muscles. There is a significant amount of abuse that your joints endure due to constant downhill trekking, especially when you include the additional weight from your day or backpack. This descent should be attempted by those who do not have major joint issues which can cause potential problems during this hike. Note that you will be hiking into the heat. Depending on the time of year, the temperature at the rim can be in the upper 40’s and temperatures may reach 110 at the bottom. Trekking poles are highly recommended as they can significantly reduce the stress on your lower leg muscles/joints by distributing the weight to your upper body muscles. Focusing on strengthening your leg muscles (calves and quads) is a crucial part of a successful hike.

PREPARATION

DO I NEED TO PHYSICALLY PREPARE FOR MY TRIP?
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 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.
COMMON MISTAKES THAT I CAN AVOID?
1. Wearing brand new, not broken-in shoes or sandals which will cause blisters and other sores.
2. Not protecting your skin early on, and getting sunburned causing discomfort for days ahead.
3. Overpacking – pack less and plan on washing clothes at either lunch or camp as items will dry in minutes due to heat/low humidity.
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE TO BE ABLE TO RAFT THE GRAND CANYON?
 You’ll be happy to know that most trips need no previous experience necessary. 70% of our guests have no previous river rafting experience, let alone never have spent a night sleeping outdoors. The only exception (by a couple of outfitters strong recommendation) would be a lower canyon all-paddle trip as the first couple of rapids are among the largest of the river, and there is very little time to get comfortable in the raft prior to these rapids.  Just have an open mind,  a positive outlook, and exercise your adventurous side.   You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime. 
WHAT PERSONAL ARTICLES SHOULDN'T I BRING?
Do not bring:
1.Mobile telephones (no cell coverage – however trip leader has access to a satellite telephone for emergency use only)
2. No Firearms, sensitive electronics (laptop computers, electrical appliances) expensive jewelry or other prized possessions.

WHILE ON THE RIVER

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY?
While travel in any environment that is primitive and undeveloped presents inherent risk, situations can arise.  Please note that all river trips carry emergency communications gear in order to contact Grand Canyon National Park’s emergency services.  Also, rest assured that all licensed river guides have emergency medical and advanced first aid training. In an emergency, helicopter evacuations are possible. The passenger is responsible for the cost of the helicopter evacuation. We encourage passengers to ensure that their standard health insurance covers this emergency evacuation cost, OR to obtain vacation/trip insurance that does.  There are many independent providers that offer this at reasonable rates. For a quote click here.
I EAT A SPECIAL DIET, CAN IT BE ACCOMMODATED?
Yes! Outfitters can accommodate most dietary restrictions.  Be sure to clearly communicate any allergies/restrictions with us so that we can ensure the outfitters can accommodate.
HOW DO I PAY FOR MY TRIP?
A deposit is needed in order to reserve your space. If the trip departs sooner than the final payment due date, than payment in full is needed at the time of the reservation.  A reservation form with payment information (either check by mail or CC listed on form) would be faxed to Advantage Grand Canyon. We would ensure that the outfitter has everything needed in order to process the reservation.  You will then receive a confirmation email with an invoice reflecting payment.  We will be available to help and answer any questions you may have until your trip, and even after!
DO I NEED TO RENT CAMPING EQUIPMENT?
Most outfitters provide all the necessary equipment needed for your trip (sleeping bag, tent, sheet, tarp, dry bags, cot or sleeping pad etc.)  Some rent sleeping bags for a fee and some also include camp chairs while others do not.  Once you’ve narrowed down your search based on your preferences, our trip itinerary will have all of this information in it.
RESTROOMS - HOW, WHEN AND WHERE?
Whether docked for lunch or at camp, a toilet facility also known as the “Groover” is available. There is a hand wash station with an “OCCUPIED” sign leading down a path to the toilet. The restroom will have a white toilet seat just like what you have at home, and is much more comfortable than a port-a-potty.  It will be hidden away from the view of others as placement is carefully decided on by the trip leader (proximity to the kitchen – downwind and not too close, the river – for peeing purposes, and often will feature a gorgeous view of he river. While on the raft, there are ways to pee into the river, privately. Also, plenty of pit-stop opportunities, and disposable systems should you have to go #2. Just ask your guide and they will accommodate.
CAN I BRING BEER/WINE/LIQUOR?
Yes! You’re encouraged to bring beverages for you and your families personal use.  There are a few specifics:  No Glass, only cans. Getting your liquor down if hiking into the canyon can get heavy, therefore most outfitters will need a liquor order well in advance so that it can be awaiting you on the raft upon your hike in. For everyone’s safety, please drink responsibly.

MISCELLANEOUS

ARE MY YOUNG CHILDREN ALLOWED ON A RAFT TRIP?
It depends on their age. Each outfitter has it’s own policy regarding minimum age.  Most motor trips have a minimum age of 8 years while most non-motor trips have a minimum of 12 years.  After we provide you with trip options, this information will be listed.
WHAT IS THE DEPOSIT/PAYMENT/CANCELLATION POLICY?
These details vary from one outfitter to the next.  Typically, a deposit is needed in order to reserve your spaces. Deposits can vary from $250 – $600/person.  Final payment is typically due anywhere fro 60-120 days prior to trip’s start date.  Cancellation policies also vary as some outfitters offer a refund of the deposit less a handling charge as long as  written notice is provided prior to final payment due date.  Other outfitters do not offer refunds of deposits. We will provide these details to you.
IF I HAVE A LARGE ENOUGH GROUP, CAN WE CHARTER OUR OWN TRIP?
Yes, there minimums as far as number of guests needed in order for a trip to be chartered, and this depends on the raft type (motor is typically 24-28 ppl and non-motor typically 18-22 ppl).  Prices and reservation policies vary, but we an accommodate!
DOES IT COST ME MORE IF I USE YOUR SERVICES?
Absolutely not.  We are priced exactly the same as the operators who are selling the exact same river trip. We are a free service to you and get paid a commission from the outfitters for referrals. We do the leg work and contact every outfitter on your behalf.

 

 

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