6 Day Upper Canyon Hybrid Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Lees Ferry to Pipe Creek ( 89 river miles)
  • Meet: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Return: Not Included - Trip ends upon hike out at South Rim
  • Transportation: Ground transportation from Flagstaff to put-in point (Lees Ferry) is included - Return from South Rim to Flagstaff, Phoenix or Las Vegas via shuttle service is not included

  • Lodging: Little America Hotel (not included in price) Will need to be in Flagstaff, AZ for an orientation meeting the night prior to trip's start date

  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Group size: 20 passengers
  • Minimum Age: 12 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ chairs & sleeping pads
  • Duffel Service: Possible PENDING AVAILABILITY
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 7.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: Oar Rafts & Paddle Raft - used on rotation among passengers
  • Price: $2625  Deposit: $418
  • *Price includes a $1/day suggested donation to the Grand Canyon fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive to Flagstaff, AZ the night prior to attend a 7pm orientation meeting at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. Lodging is not included in the price. At 7am on the morning of day 1, you will board a bus for the 3 hour drive to the put in point at Lees Ferry. On the morning of day 6, 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, AZ through Arizona Shuttle (not included) and they depart from the Maswik Lodge at 3:15 and 6:15pm. There are also air/ground transport options to Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel (trip's start): Flagstaff, AZ 

  • A room block is set up with Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. More information to be provided.

Hotel (trip's end): South Rim, GC

  • 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, AZ Puliam Airport (FLG)
  • Via ground shuttle from:

Transportation (trip’s end): Trip ends after your hike out of the canyon at the South Rim

Out-bound duffel service: (not included)

  • Mules carry your duffels out the canyon, so you can hike with a lighter bag - highly recommended (as are trekking poles)
  • Make reservations with Xanterra (888-297-2757) for bags to be taken out THE DAY AFTER your hike out of the canyon. We cannot guarantee that we can deliver your bags early enough in the morning to go out the same day.
  • You will have to spend the night at the South Rim this evening in order to retrieve your bags the next day between 3-4pm.
  • NOTE: On the morning of your hike out, you will be responsible to deliver & tag your bags (approximately a 1 mile hike 1 way) to the drop off at Phantom Ranch where your bags could be sitting unattended until picked up the next morning.
  • This bonus service is TIME SENSITIVE and not always available. If interested book NOW through Xanterra 888-297-2757.
  • In case this service is not available, everyone should be abel to hike Bright Angel Trail with their bag.
    • Xanterra can decide to suspend services at any time if trail conditions are unsafe for the mules, or if the mules become ill.
  • Booking Instructions: Please inform us if you have reserved the in-bound duffel service - we will need to note your file.
    • When making your reservation, schedule the Out-Bound Servicepick up for the day after your hike out of the canyon.
    • The outfitter can not guarantee arriving to Phantom Ranch early enough to make the cut off for same day delivery
  • Bags must be soft sided and no larger than 36x20x13 and weigh less than 30lbs

Hybrid Raft Trip

Hybrid raft trips are high in demand and low in supply as only 4 of 15 outfitters offer them. A typical hybrid trip will consist of 5-6 Oar raft and 1 Paddle raft to be used on rotation among the passengers. This trip makes for a great balance between relaxing in an Oar raft and digging into the water while in the Paddle raft. Hybrid trips travel at speed of the river 3-4 mph, more slowly and essentially doubling the trip duration when compared to a motorized trip. This slower pace offers a great opportunity for an intimate experience with the river while listening to your guide's extensive knowledge of the Grand Canyon. 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.


  • Limited rafting type option, offered by 4 of 15 outfitters
  • Usually 4 oar rafts and 1 paddle raft to be used on rotation among passengers. One outfitter includes inflatable kayaks
  • No motor rafts are part of the flotilla on a hybrid raft trip
  • Slower paced more intimate experience while on the raft in calmer waters
  • Popular choice for adventurous individuals and families alike
  • Popular option for those wanting a more physical experience while on raft
  • Great opportunity to listen to your guide’s extensive knowledge of the Grand Canyon while on raft
  • Minimum 12 years old - most outfitters
  • Group size between 18-24 dependent on what time of year
  • 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:

  • 15% non-refundable deposit per person required to reserve your space(s)
    • If booking within 130 days prior to trip start, full payment is due
  • Final payment is due 130 days prior to trip start date
    • Failure to pay on time will result in reservation being cancelled and deposit retained
  • In the event you have to cancel, you may consider:
    • Substituting members on your reservation
    • Changing trip date or type to another available trip in the same year
    • File your trip insurance claim with your personal provider (more information below)
  • If you must cancel, you will be considered an “repeat” rafter and will be eligible for a 10% discount if booking within 2 years

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

On the morning of day 1, you will meet to board a bus for the drive to the put in point at Lees Ferry. You will meet your guides as they provide additional instruction and your life jacket.  Shortly after you will be underway to begin your journey!

IconEvery Day

Wake up every morning to the smell of freshly brewed cowboy coffee and the sound of the running water echoing off of the canyon walls. A hot breakfast is served shortly after. Each day you will be on and off the raft multiple times as every day includes daily side canyon hiking opportunities to some of the most beautiful scenery the Grand Canyon has to offer. You'll be entertained and enlightened with fascinating information on the history, geology, and ecology of the canyon. 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. Lunch will be served and you can build your own sandwich with chips, cookies, fruit while taking in the breathtaking scenery, reading a book riverside or even fishing. Often, there is another stop after lunch before arriving at camp for the evening.  While your crew sets up the camp kitchen for everyone, you can find your ideal camp spot and set up your "home" for the night. While dinner sizzles on the dinner on the grill, you'll have time to get better acquainted with your fellow river companions and relax with a cool drink by your side. After dinner, watch the sun set, and listen to the beautiful sounds of the river while you nestle into your sleeping bag under a sky full of stars. 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) . Almost always, your raft trip concludes upon the completion of this guided hike, however there are some itineraries which include transportation to Flagstaff at trip's end. There are shuttles daily, to Flagstaff as well as Phoenix however 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.

"Just finished paddling the Upper Canyon 2 days ago and I feel like it was a life changing experience. Absolutely incredible! The guides are amazing and taught us so much about paddling, the Canyon, camping....and how to have a blast in the wilderness. Heather, Carl, Megan, Chad, Jeff, Kelsey, Katie and Paul...you rock! Will be sharing stories about this trip for a long time!"
-Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

"Superb experience. Excellent guides who really supported the group. Excellent food. Great paddling. Very good balance between teaching and safety. I can’t recommend them more highly. Thanks"
-Manchester City, UK

"Awesome experience to raft the full Canyon. Everyday was different. Guides were fantastic - knowledge, stories and experience. Great food, sleeping under the stars and traversing the Canyon on the River. Loved it!!"
-Anglesea, Australia

"Had an amazing adventure river rafting the Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon with this outfit. Their River Guides had the skills, outstanding in their knowledge of the river and surrounding as well making it a truly memorial trip."
-Phoenix, AZ

"They are a smaller, highly professional company with extremely skilled, experienced river guides who know the river, make safety their top priority, and are lots of fun to spend time with. We were 100% impressed with all of our guides. The food was delicious and the trip was very well organized from start to finish."
-Bellingham, WA