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: Courtyard by Marriott (not included in price in price) Will need to be in Flagstaff the night 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: 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: $1700  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 includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in Flagstaff the night prior to your trip's start date. Lodging is not included in the price. You will meet in the main lobby of the Courtyard at 6am for the 2.5 our ride to the put-in point, Lees Ferry.  An orientation meeting will commence upon arrival at Lees Ferry.  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. The included shuttle to Flagstaff, AZ will depart at 5pm and arrive approximately at 7pm in Flagstaff.  

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel (trip’s start): 

  • Courtyard by Marriott, Flagstaff

Hotel (trip’s end):

  • Flagstaff:
    • Courtyard by Marriott Flagstaff - your trip ends with transportation to Flagstaff
  • South Rim:
    • 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 to/from:

Transportation (trip’s end): Flagstaff or South Rim (included)

  • Outbound travel from Flagstaff:
    • Via commercial flight from Flagstaff pullman Airport (FLG)
    • Via ground shuttle to:
  • Outbound 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 (12-14 per raft), 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 Trip

  • Most 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:

  • $400 deposit per person required  to reserve your space(s)
    • If booking within 120 days prior to trip start, full payment is due
    • Cancellation 120 days or more  forfeits $200
    • Cancellation  119 - 61 days of the trip forfeits the deposit
    • Cancellation within 60 days of the trip forfeits the full fare
  • Final payment is due 120 days prior to trip start date
    • In the event you have to cancel you may wish to 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

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. 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 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 Flagstaff. We strongly suggest not making any outbound flights the same day of your hike. Many guests choose to stay in Flagstaff or even the south rim this evening and travel the following morning.

"Wonderful 3 day trip! Not only the spectacular Colorado River and the Grand Canyon sites, but also hiking in the Canyon. Got to hike 3 trails, including Travertine Waterfall! Food was plentiful, healthy and delicious. Something for everyone. Guides were helpful and had great knowledge of geology, history, etc. Can not imagine a better experience!"
-Brandon, SD

"I recently returned from an 8-day trip on the Colorado River with this outfitter, which was set up by Advantage Grand Canyon. I highly recommend both companies. Advantage Grand Canyon did a perfect job in all aspects of setting things up. And, they follow-up. Their video were extremely helpful in preparing and packing (although I did not use everything I had brought)."
-Tucson, AZ

"We have gone with this outfit on trips to Grand Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and Salmon River. Each time was a fantastic experience. Guides are fun, safe, knowledgeable, and respectful of the environment. The food is amazing (don't expect to loose weight on the trip). Highly recommend the trips and the company."
-Portland, OR

"I cannot speak highly enough about this outfit! We just completed our 8 day trip through the Grand Canyon and it was perfect. Our guides - now forever friends - are wonderful human beings! They did everything in their power to make sure we were all taken care of. Dave, Nate, Ryan and Danielle are the dream team! The river, the people, the food, the hikes, the rafts, the whole experience was exceptional and I will go with them again! My love for the Colorado River has grown even deeper because of this experience. Thank you, Friends!"
-Cary, NC