4 Day Upper Canyon Motor Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Lees Ferry to Whitmore Wash ( 88 river miles)
  • Meet: Las Vegas, NV
  • Return: Not Included - Trip ends upon hike out at South Rim
  • Transportation: Ground transportation from Las Vegas to Lees Ferry - Included.  Return from South Rim to Las Vegas available - not included

  • Lodging: Will need to be in Las Vegas the day prior to trip's start date (lodging not included in price)

  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Group size: 14 passengers per raft. 2 raft maximum
  • Minimum Age: 12 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ chairs & sleeping cots & pillow
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: S-Rig
  • Price: $1999  Deposit: $300
  • *Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in Las Vegas the night prior to your trip's start date for an orientation meeting. Lodging is not included in the price. You will meet a representative at the Best Western McCarran Inn early on the morning of day 1 for included ground transportation to Lees Ferry in Marble Canyon. On the final morning, 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 air/ground transport options to Phoenix and Las Vegas. A private shuttle can be arranged to take you back to Marble Canyon, AZ however if you drove a car, a more popular option is to have your car shuttled from Marble Canyon to the South rim while you are on your raft trip.

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel (trip’s start):

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Airport South

Hotel (trip’s end):

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Airport South

Transportation (trip’s start):

  • Arrive in Las Vegas a day before the trip's launch date. 
  • Meet in the lobby of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Airport South for ground transport to Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon (Included in price)

Transportation (trip’s end): 

  • Trip ends after your hike out of the canyon at the South Rim
  • Optional flight to Las Vegas is available (Bar10transport
  • Ground Shuttle to:
  • If you left the vehicle at the start of the trip you have three option:
    • Have your car shuttled from Marble Canyon, AZ to the South Rim while you’re on your river trip to be awaiting you upon arrival.
    • Use Trans-Canyon Shuttle: Shuttle service between South Rim and Marble Canyon 
      • Before your trip - Drive and park your car at the South Rim to be waiting for you upon your hike out, and shuttle to Marble Canyon the day before your trip starts.
    • After your trip - If you parked in Marble Canyon, you’ll need to spend the night at the South Rim the day you complete your hike out and shuttle back to Marble Canyon the next day.
  • Contact either Lake Powell Shuttle (928-614-4130) or Grand Canyon Shuttles (928-863-1239) for a ride back to Marble Canyon from the South Rim.

See our transportation page for additional information

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 22-28 depending on the outfitter. 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.

  • Motor Raft TripMost popular of all raft types, offered by 11 of 16 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.





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.

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.


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.

Payment and cancellation policies:

  • One-third (1/3) of the total amount or $300 deposit per person required  to reserve your space(s)
    • 50% of your deposit is refundable up to 120 days prior to trip start
    • Deposit forfeited if cancellation occurs within 90 days prior to trip start
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to trip start date and is non-refundable at this point, unless vacancies are able to be filled
  • In the event you have to cancel, you may consider:
    • Substituting members on your reservation
    • Change trip or type to another available trip in the same year
    • File your trip insurance claim with your personal provider more information below
  • The outfitter reserves the right to cancel, delay or reschedule any excursion do to:
    • Weather/river conditions/lack of sufficient reservations:
    • In this event deposits/payments will be totally refunded or applied to another trip according to your wishes    

Purchase trip cancellation Insurance Highly Recommended:

  • Insurance can help reimburse you in the event of illness or unforeseen circumstances
  • Most popular option listed below - click on link to view different levels of coverage with an immediate quote

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. You will have your orientation this morning at the launch point. 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 9.5 mile hike ascent up the bright angel trail to the top of the south rim. This trip ends with transportation from the south rim to Marble Canyon or Las Vegas. We strongly suggest not making any outbound flights the same day of your hike.

"WOW!!! If you are looking for an exciting, yet relaxing excursion in some of the most beautiful and remote wonders of the world.....LOOK...NO...FURTHER!!! They were top notch and won't leave you disappointed...unless you just aren't the adventurous type. The crew of always incredible - engaging, helpful, funny, accommodating, ..., the list goes on and on."
-Phoenix, AZ

"There is a reason this outfiter is family owned and operated since 1971.  Fantastic, personalized service....from initial contact to taking out of the river on the last day!  Took 9 day trip down the Grand in April 2019 and it was epic.  Can't really describe it, you need to experience it for yourself."
-Redwood City, CA

"The guides provided the right balance of geology, history, funny anecdotes and time to just take it all in. The food was very good, with fresh fruit and salads, chicken, steak, salmon, etc.  The trip was physically challenging with temperature extremes, but completely doable with an average fitness level and "can do" attitude.  To end each day on a cot under the stars, was a real treat.  At no time did we feel rushed, but we were always busy.  I don't remember the last time I was completely in the moment, and this trip forced that.  It was such a wonderful experience, and we are so happy"
-Tacoma, WA

"My wife and I just completed a 7 day raft trip down the Grand Canyon.  It was an incredible trip.  We're both geologists, so this was an experience of a lifetime, but it was made even more enjoyable by the professionalism of the crew.  The guides were friendly, fun, knowledgeable and experienced on the river. There were also passionate about their love of the Grand Canyon and about giving us the best experience possible.  It was clear this was more than just a job to them.  Wonderful trip."
-Denver, CO