4 Day Upper Canyon Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch ( 88 river miles)
  • Meet: Marble Canyon, AZ
  • Return: Not Included - Trip ends upon hike out at South Rim
  • Transportation: Optional flight from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon - Return from South Rim to Las Vegas or Marble Canyon available (not included)

  • Lodging: Cliff Dweller's Lodge (included in price based on 2 + occupancy) Will need to be in Marble Canyon the day prior to trip's start date

  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Group size: 12-14 passengers per raft. 2 raft maximum
  • Minimum Age: 9 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ chairs & sleeping cots & pillow
  • Duffel Service: Available
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: S-Rig
  • Price: $1379  Deposit: $500
  • *Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in either Las Vegas or Marble Canyon the day prior to your trip’s start date. Lodging in Marble Canyon is included in the price. If starting in Las Vegas, you will meet a representative on the afternoon prior to your trip's start date at McCarren airport at 1:45pm and you will be transported to the Boulder airport for a charter flight to Marble Canyon to meet your group. In some instances, there may be a flight available the morning of your trip. In this case, you will meet the group in front of the Marble Canyon trading post. There is a 8:30am orientation the next morning if front of the Cliff Dweller's Lodge before a short 15 minute drive to Lee’s Ferry to begin your adventure.On the morning of day 4, you will begin your guided hike up the Bright Angel Trail and your arrival at the south rim in Grand Canyon village will conclude your raft trip. There are shuttle options to Flagstaff and air/ground transport options to Phoenix and Las Vegas. See transportation section for more information. 

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel at Trip's Start in Marble Canyon, AZ: Cliff Dweller's Lodge, included in your trip fare (based on 2 + occupancy)

Hotel at trip’s end at South Rim, GC: A large percentage of guests choose to stay at the south rim the evening after the hike. This hotel is not included in the trip package and must be arranged separately. We highly recommend staying in Arizona the day you complete your raft trip and arranging outbound flights the following day. We recommend calling Xanterra at 888-297-2757 or 303-297-2757, immediately to secure a room reservation THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE. Please note that Xanterra accepts reservations up to 13 months in advance. If there is no availability at the South Rim, Tusayan village is a short 10 minute drive right outside the park. There is a complimentary shuttle which circulates from the South Rim to Tusayan Village every 20 minutes during the summer months (approximately between mid-May and early-September) from 8am - 9:30pm. You may also arrange for a Taxi between Tusayan Village and South Rim Grand Canyon through Xanterra 888-297-2757.

Transportation to Marble Canyon: You have three options to get to the starting point: 
1. Arrange your own transportation to Marble Canyon
2. Meet in Las Vegas and fly via charter plane to Marble Canyon Bar10Transport (800-582-4139)
3. Hire ground transport from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon Bar10Transport (800-582-4139)

Transportation From South Rim, GC:Your trip does not include optional transportation Las Vegas or Marble Canyon the afternoon you complete your hike.  If you decide to stay at the South Rim that evening, there is an optional flight from South Rim to Las Vegas is available (Bar10Transport) or ground shuttle to Las Vegas, NV (800-222-6966), or Phoenix/Flagstaff (Groome Transportation 928-350-8466). If you left your vehicle at the start of the trip, you have two options:

1. Drive and park your car at Less Ferry and have your car shuttled to the south rim while you're on your river trip to be awaiting you upon arrival www.rrshuttleservice.com.

2. Drive to Marble Canyon with the group the morning of your trip's start, park your vehicle there and at trip's end use trans-canyon shuttle to drive you back to Marble Canyon to retrieve your vehicle. Departure times are 8 am and 1:30pm so you would need to spend the night at the south rim this evening out and shuttle back the next day.

Duffel Service Out-bound: Your trip will end with a 9.5 mile hike out of the canyon via the Bright Angel Trail and it is recommended to use the Duffel Service so that you can avoid the extra weight of carrying your clothing/personal items during your hike.  You will receive your bag 5-10 days following the completion of the trip. You will also be charged for the UPS shipping costs. More information will follow as soon as your trip is booked.

Motor Raft Trip

Motor trips are the most popular of all trip types. There are more motor trip launches than any other combined, among all of the outfitters. Typical launches include 2 rafts, and group sizes between 24-28. There are upper, lower, western and full canyon trips offered on motor rafts. Some full canyon trips continue straight through with the same group of passengers, while others will make a pit-stop to let off upper canyon passengers, and allow for lower canyon trip passengers to join the group for the rest of the trip.

 

  • Most popular of all raft types, offered by 11 of 15 outfitters
  • Most comfortable seating positions of all raft types and great for guests who seek a sense of security with a larger raft type
  • Covers more distance per day compared to non-motor trips
  • Action packed trips – will see more in a day and get form one attraction to another more frequently compared to non-motor
  • Popular choice for those looking to see more of the canyon while having ample time for off raft exploration
  • Largest percentage of people choose this raft type
  • Popular choice for any age especially children/teens who seek more activities Minimum 8 years old 
  • Group sizes between 12-14 per raft, 2 raft maximum/trip
  • Rafts may vary slightly from sample image

Hiking from River to Rim

At the end of your Upper Canyon adventure, this trip will conclude with a mandatory hike out of the canyon via the bright angel trail up to the south rim. On average, ascent time from river is 6-8 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.

 

Google Earth Video

Click play for an actual look at the trail from a bird’s eye view. You will see where the hike will begin and end, as well as the location of toilets and drinking water facilities.

 

 

 

Elevation

The elevation from river to rim is 4,830ft and has an average grade of 10% along its entire length. The upper four miles of the trail has the steepest changes in elevation mostly due to the switch backs, however does flatten out considerably as it nears Indian Gardens. As the trail approaches Devil’s Corkscrew it will once again steepen, and due to the lack of shading at this part of the trail, can be very taxing especially during the summer months. This is one of the reasons that hikes begin very early in the morning, to pass this section before temperatures peaks. From the Pipe Creek/River Rest-house to Bright Angel Campground, (over 1 mile distance) the trail passes over sand dunes until reaching the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge (also known as silver bridge) which crosses over the Colorado River.

3-mile-rest-house

Water/Rest-houses

Be sure to take advantage of the water sources and rest-houses during your hike, as it is imperative to take breaks regularly. Between rim and river, there are three composting toilet locations (1.5 mile, Indian Gardens, river rest-house) and three water sources along the trail (1.5 mile, 3 mile, Indian Gardens). Please note there is never potable water at river rest-house and due to occasional pipeline breaks, these water sources are never guaranteed. For this reason, it is recommended that you carry enough water (3 quarts minimum) for the entire hike.

Ascending the Bright Angel Trail

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.

Hiking-Bright-Angel-Trail1

Preparation for hiking the Bright Angel Trail

At least 2 months prior to your trip’s start date, begin using the stair master and hiking or using the treadmill with a slight incline. Slowly begin adding weight to your backpack in order to simulate what it will actually feel like on the hike. Keep in mind that you are traveling 1 vertical mile or close to 5,000ft in elevation gain/loss. 500 flights of stairs is equivalent to approx. 5,000 ft.

Hiking Tips

  • Hydrate the night prior – drink 6 to 8 glasses
  • Drink plenty of water w/electrolytes during your hike – You will sweat ½ to 1qt per hour
  • Take breaks and elevate your legs – do this to avoid lactic acid build up
  • Wet your hat/bandana/shirt – cotton stays wet longer, evaporation will keep your body temperature cooler
  • Eat snacks/food even if not hungry – essential for energy
  • Foot care – Break in your shoes prior to hiking. Bring extra socks as keeping your feet dry is essential. Use moleskin on hot spots and bring corn pads for existing blisters.

Deposit, Payment and Cancellation Information

A deposit in the amount of $500/person is required in order to secure your space. Final payment is due 120 days prior to trip’s start. If you must cancel your reservation more than 120 days before your trip, you must notify us in writing. After we receive your written cancellation, you will then be refunded any amount you have paid less the $500 non-refundable deposit.  If you must cancel less than 120 days prior to your trip, no refunds will be made and you will forfeit any funds paid to Hatch River Expeditions.  This cancelation policy applies in every situation and there will be no exceptions made for any reason. We will not issue refunds for cancellations due to illness or late arrivals due to travel delays.

Additional Trip Dates

IconFirst Day

You will be driven to the launch point, Lees Ferry in Marble Canyon in the morning to meet your river guides. Sometimes the orientation meeting is the night before, earlier this morning or even at the launch point depending on your given itinerary. Guests will have dry bags provided as well as a life jacket, and shortly after you will be underway to begin your journey!

IconEvery Day

Each day you will be on and off the raft multiple times. Each itinerary regardless of the outfitter, includes daily side canyon hiking opportunities to some of the most beautiful scenery the Grand Canyon has to offer. In addition, you will see gorgeous waterfalls and streams rarely accessible outside of these multi-day raft trips. After enjoying the excitement of fun rapids, you will stop for lunch which is prepared river-side on a beautiful sandy beach. You will be entertained with fascinating information on the history, geology, and ecology of the canyon. Often, there is another stop after lunch before arriving at camp for the evening. Tents are always available however depending on the season, many opt to sleep under the stars each night.

IconLast Day

You will raft a short distance this final morning to the drop off point to begin your 7.5 - 9.5 mile hike ascent up the bright angel trail to the top of the south rim (view video of hike ascent at trip's end) . This trip ends at the conclusion of your hike out of the canyon. We strongly suggest not making any outbound flights the same day of your hike. Many guests choose to stay at the south rim this evening and travel the following morning.

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