5 Day Upper Canyon Motor Raft Trip - Hiker's Special

  • Canyon Route: Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch ( 88 river miles)
  • Meet: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Return: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Transportation: Ground transportation from Flagstaff to put-in point (Lees Ferry) and return from South Rim to Flagstaff is included

  • Lodging: Holiday Inn Express, Flagstaff, AZ (not included in price) - Will need to be in Flagstaff for an orientation meeting 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: 8 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ chairs & sleeping pads
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: C-Rig
  • Price: $1754  Deposit: $400
  • *Extended trip lengths provide ample time to explore remote, less-visited side canyons. Designed for hiking enthusiasts - anticipate daily multi-hour hikes
    **Price listed above reflects the 2022 rate, anticipate a potential 5% or more increase for 2023
    ***Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in Flagstaff, AZ the night prior to attend a 5:30pm orientation meeting at the Holiday Inn Express. Lodging is not included in the price. On the morning of day 1, you will enjoy a buffet breakfast and be ready to board a bus at 5:45amfor the 2.5 hour drive to the put in point at Lees Ferry. On the morning of day 4, you will begin your guided hike up the Bright Angel Trail. Return transportation to Flatstaff is inculuded, the bus will depart at 4:30pm.

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel (trip’s start):

  • There is a room block set up with a hotel in Flagstaff for guests. Additional information will be provided after your reservation.

Hotel (trip’s end):

  • Flying out after a day’s rest is highly recommended
  • Majority of guests stay at the South Rim after the hike. Lodging is not included and must be arranged separately. We recommend calling Xanterra 888-297-2757, as soon as your reservation is confirmed. They accept reservations up to 13 months in advance. 
  • If there is no availability at the South Rim, Tusayan Village is a 10 minute drive outside the park. Click here for options.
  • There is a complimentary shuttle that circulates from the South Rim to Tusayan Village every 20 minutes during summer (mid-May to early-September) from 8am - 9:30pm.
  • You can also arrange a Taxi between South Rim and Tusayan Village through Xanterra 888-297-2757.

Transportation (trip’s start): Flagstaff, AZ

  • Via commercial flight from Flagstaff Pullman Airport (FLG)
  • Via ground shuttle:

Transportation (trip’s end): Flagstaff (included)

  • Optional travel from Flagstaff:
    • Via commeciral fliht form Flagstaff Pullman Airport (FLG)
    • Via Groud shuttle to:
      • Las Vegas (Greyhound) or
      • Phoenix, AZ (Groome Transportation 928-350-8466)
  • Optional flight to Las Vegas is available (Bar10transport
    • Ground Shuttle to:
  • If your vehicle is parked in Flagstaff, you may have it shuttled to the South Rim ready for your arrival (River Runners Shuttle Service

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.

C-Rig Motor Raft 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.





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:

  • $400 deposit per person required to reserve your space(s):
    • 50% of your deposit is nonrefundable
    • $200 returned if cancellation occurs 120 days or more prior to trip start
    • If booking within 130 days prior to trip start, full payment is due
  • Final payment is due 130 days prior to trip start date:
    • Final payment to be made in the form of a check to Advantage Grand Canyon
    • A processing fee will be added for final payments paid via credit card
  • 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

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. 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 have camped near Phantom Ranch and will be near the trail head for the 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) . Your raft trip concludes upon the completion of this guided hike. We strongly suggest not making any outbound flights the same day of your hike. Return transportation to Flatstaff is inculuded, the bus will depart at 4:30pm.

"We had no idea how lucky we were.  Having gone down the river and seeing all the other boats, I feel really blessed to have gotten to travel with them. Given the comfort of the boat, the food, and the different hiking options at each stop, I can comfortably say that anyone, young or old can do this trip.  I'll never forget this trip and I'll definitely be back for another trip"
-Oak Park, IL

"WOW !!!  what a trip to take..... we did the whole river over a week. these people are wonderful to guide your trip. dont expect to lose any weight on this trip.. youll eat like a king(riverside) if you have the adventure bug in ya... i highly recommend this trip and outfit. its truly epic and life changing."
-Anchorage, AK

"I took the 7 day trip through the Grand Canyon. This company was exceptional.  The proffesionalism of the guides to the outstanding food, I have only great things to say. I highly reccomend this outfit."
-Pooler, GA

"They made everyone comfortable with camping, going to the bathroom, and riding class 10 rapids in the canyon while keeping the stories and humor flowing like the river.  We saw other companies and the way they camp, ride on the boat, and visit side attractions, and I think we had the best of it all"
-Gloucester, MA

"The rafting crew expertly negotiated the river as well as the many soakings we got going thru the rapids. They entertained us with canyon-lore from the past as well as educating us on geology and history"
-Seattle, WA