*Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund
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 (trip’s start):
Hotel (trip’s end): South Rim, GC
Transportation (trip’s start):
Transportation (trip’s end): Trip ends after your hike out of the canyon at the South Rim
Out-bound Duffel Service:
See our transportation page for additional information
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Review payment and cancellation policies:
Purchase trip cancellation insurance - Highly Recommended
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!
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.
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.
"The careful planning of our trip was obvious because everything was perfect, BUT what makes this company extra special are the people. I cannot say enough about our trip leader, second boatman, and swampers. They absolutely "made" our rafting through the canyon in every way."
"Safety was their top concern. The rapids were high and exciting, but we were never concerned. Photographers--consider getting in the front boat (driven by the trip leader.) After we went through the rapids, we stopped and watched the second raft."
"This is MORE than an adventure, it is MORE than a drift through the center of the earth, it is MORE than amazing food and sharing, it is something way more. I feel it, I loved it and I cherish it. Your team will make sure you taken care of as well. We loved this adventure and the people who now feel like a part of us forever."
-Gig Harbor, WA
"Along with navigating the raft, preparing the meals, setting up camp spots and tending to blisters, aches & pains they were also very informative about the canyon history and geology of the area. This was all presented with a smile and kindness that made the group feel like a family trip."
"I think we picked the best company to enjoy this adventure. Our guides educated us, fed us, made us laugh until tears rolled down our faces, and truly cared that we had the most amazing experiences each and every day. I have never had a vacation that I thought about every day for at least one month after it was over until this one."