6 Day Upper Canyon Paddle Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Lees Ferry to Pipe Creek ( 89 river miles)
  • Meet: Marble Canyon, AZ
  • Return: Not Included - Trip ends upon hike out at South Rim
  • Transportation: Optional flight from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon - Return from South Rim to Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Phoenix or Marble Canyon available - not included

  • Lodging: Marble Canyon Lodge (reserved by outfitter-not included in price ≈$48/person) Will need to be in Marble Canyon for an orientation meeting the night prior to your start date

  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Group size: 20 passengers
  • Minimum Age: 14 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ sleeping pads
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 7.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: Paddle Rafts
  • Price: $2476  Deposit: $400

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive in Marble Canyon the day prior to your trip’s start date. Lodging in Marble Canyon at Marble Canyon Lodge is not included in the price but is reserved by the outfitter. If starting in Las Vegas, you will meet a representative at McCarren airport at 1:45pm on the afternoon prior to your trip’s start date and you will be transported to the North Las Vegas airport for a charter flight to Marble Canyon.  Ground transportation is also available. There is a 8:00pm orientation this evening and the next morning you will be on shuttled to Lees Ferry at approximately 8am to begin your adventure. 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 is 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):

  • Marble Canyon Lodge, we can arrange lodging at $48/person

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):

  • Arrange your own transportation to Marble Canyon and arrive a day before the trip’s start date.
  • Hire Bar10Transport (800-582-4139) for Ground or Air transport from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon a day before the trip’s start date.

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 your vehicle at the start of the trip you have three options:
    • Have you car shuttled form 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.

Paddle Raft 

Paddle raft trips are high in demand and low in supply as only 4 of 15 outfitters offer them. Your guide sits at the back and commands the team of 6-8 paddlers, who are digging into the water full time. These trips are recommended for those with multi-day paddle experience under their belt as many days in succession can become tiresome. A typical All-paddle trip will consist of 5-6 rafts or floatilla. Some hybrid trips have one paddle raft along, however pre-designated seating in either the pddle raft or oar raft are requried. Paddle 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
  • Slower paced more intimate experience during calm waters
  • Great for those looking for a more physically demanding adventure while on raft
  • Great opportunity to listen to your guide’s extensive knowledge of the Grand Canyon while on raft
  • Smallest raft type, very agile and allows passengers to ‘feel’ more of the rapids
  • Passengers paddle full time for days in succession and can cause muscle fatigue.
  • Recommended for those with previous multi-day paddle experience.
  • Minimum 12-16 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.

 

 

 

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:

  • Deposits are required in order to reserve your spaces
    • $400/person for Upper Canyon Trips
    • $500/person for Lower Canyon Trips
    • $600/person for Full Canyon Trips
  • Cancellations:
    • Up to 120 days prior to your trip date incurs a non-refundable cancellation fee of:
      • $300/person for Upper Canyon Trips
      • $400/person for Lower Canyon Trips
      • $500/person for Full Canyon Trips
    • Within 120 days of your trip there is NO refund unless:
      • Outfitter can resell the cancelled space(s)
      • If the space is refilled, then all monies will be returned less a 30% cancellation fee
  • Final payment is due 130 days prior to trip start date:
    • If booking within 130 days prior to trip start, full payment is due
    • Final payment to be made in the form of a check to Advantage Grand Canyon
  • 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

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 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.

"Excellent from beginning to end. Paddle boat option, amazing hikes, solitary floating to action packed rapids. The guides are passionate about the river, canyons and maintaing the beauty. highly recommend this company for a perfect blend of adventure with a safe and supportive twist."
-Portland, OR

"Best Thing I've Ever Done! I did the bottom 9 days, joining the rest of my crew who did 14 days. We loved our guides. They were fun, knowledgeable, safe. They taught us lots about geology, history, water, rafting. The food was amazing. The front office was easy to deal with. I would do this again."
-Albuquerque, NM

"This was an amazing trip with a super professional group. It was, as many promised, a life changing experience. I wish I was back on the river right now!"
-Flagstaff, AZ

"Best Thing I've Ever Done! I did the bottom 9 days, joining the rest of my crew who did 14 days. We loved our guides. They were fun, knowledgeable, safe. They taught us lots about geology, history, water, rafting. The food was amazing. The front office was easy to deal with. I would do this again."
-Chicago, IL

"I went on the 8 day motorised trip. It was the most incredible experience of my life. The guides were exceptional with their knowledge of the river, cooking expertise and general easy to get along with. I travelled from Australia with some work colleagues and had no expectations apart from to view the scenery and just enjoy the break. It was so much more. I will definitely be back with friends and family."
Sale, Australia