6 Day Upper Canyon Oar Raft Trip with Dory Boat

  • 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) is included - Return from South Rim to Flagstaff, Las Vegas or Phoenix available (not 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: 20-24 passengers
  • Minimum Age: 12 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: Oar Rafts & Dory Boat (also referred to as cataract boat)
  • Price: $2401  Deposit: $400
  • *Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund
    *Historic Dory Boat accompanies the Oar Rafts and can be used on rotation among passengers
    *Price listed above reflects the 2021 rate, anticipate a 3-5% increase for 2022

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in Flagstaff, AZ the night prior to attend a 6pm 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 7am for the 2.5 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). There is also air/ground transport options from the South Rim to Phoenix and Las Vegas.

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): Trip ends after your hike out of the canyon at the South Rim

Oar Raft Trip w/ Dory Boat

Oar raft trips are the second most popular of all raft types. Consisting of 5 passengers in total, these rafts are powered and navigated by your guide, however if you are interested in rowing in between rapids and at their discretion, you are welcome to grab the oars. A typical oar trip will consist of 5-6 rafts or floatilla. Oar 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.

  • Popular rafting type, offered by 12 of 16 outfittersOar Raft Trip
  • Smaller more agile raft type,allows passengers to ‘feel’ more of the rapids
  • Rowed by guide,however at times passengers may row between rapids,during calmer waters – Rowing is not guaranteed,and at the discretion of the guide or trip leader.
  • In addition to oar raft,some trips include a dory boat to be used on rotation
  • Slower paced, more relaxed experience while on the raft in calmer waters
  • Great opportunity to listen to your guide’s extensive knowledge of the Grand Canyon while on raft
  • Minimum 12 years old 
  • Group size between 18-24 dependent on what time of year
  • At times motor rafts are part of a flotilla, used to carry food supplies, camping equipment/gear.

Dory Raft Trip

Dory boat trips are offered by 5 of 15 outfitters. Consisting of 5 passengers in total, these rafts are powered and navigated by your guide. Often times Dory boats will be added to Oar trips making for a great opportunity to experience both vessels on the same trip. Dory 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 non-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,offered by 5 of 15 outfitters
  • Smaller more agile raft type,allows passengers to feel more of the rapids
  • Rowed by guide, however at times passengers may row between rapids, during calmer waters-Rowing is not guaranteed,and at the discretion of the guide or trip leader.
  • Rigid boats made of hard wood
  • Travels slightly faster when compared to oar rafts
  • Faster response in rapids when compared to inflated rafts
  • Slower paced,more intimate experience while on Dory
  • Great opportunity to listen to your guide’s extensive knowledge of the Grand Canyon while on the river
  • Minimum 10-12 years old for 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.

 

 

 

Elevation

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.

3-mile-rest-house

Water/Rest-houses

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.

Hiking-Bright-Angel-Trail1

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

On the morning of day 1, you will meet and 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) . 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. Many guests choose to stay at the south rim this evening and travel the following morning.

"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