8 Day Lower Canyon Oar Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Pipe Creek to Diamond Creek ( 136 river miles)
  • Meet: South Rim, GC
  • Return: South Rim, GC
  • Transportation: Optional flight from Las Vegas to South Rim or ground shuttle from Las Vegas, Phoenix or Flagstaff not Included - Return via ground transportation from take-out point (Diamond Creek) to Las Vegas or to South Rim included

  • Lodging: At South Rim (not included) Will need to be at South Rim the day prior to trip's start date

  • Rapids: 23 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 cots & pillow
  • Duffel Service: Possible PENDING AVAILABILITY
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 7.5 mile hike ascending Bright Angel Trail at trip's end
  • Raft: Oar Rafts
  • Price: $3003  Deposit: $400
  • *Price includes a suggested donation of $1/day to the Grand Canyon Fund

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive at the Grand Canyon South Rim the evening prior. Lodging is not included in the price. On the morning of day 1, you will meet your hiking guide at the transportation desk at the Bright Angel Lodge as early as 4:45am to begin your descent to the river. On the final morning, you will be shuttled via ground transport to either Las Vegas (arriving around 2:30-3:30pm, do not make outbound flight reservations before 5pm this day) or the South Rim (arriving between 1:30-2:30pm). It is recommended to spend an additional night in Arizona at the end of your river trip, and depart for home the next day. 

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel at Trip’s Start South Rim, GC:You will meet at the South Rim then night before your trip begins. This hotel is not included in the trip package and must be arranged separately. We recommend calling Xanterra 888-297-2757 or 303-297-2757, AS SOON AS YOUR RESERVATION IS CONFIRMED to secure a room reservation THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE. Please note that Xanterra accepts reservations up to 13 months in advance. If there is no availability at the South Rim, Tusayan village is a short 10 minute drive right outside the park. There is a complimentary shuttle which circulates from the South Rim to Tusayan Village every 20 minutes during the summer months (approximately between mid-May and early-September) from 8am - 9:30pm. You may also arrange for a Taxi between Tusayan Village and South Rim Grand Canyon through Xanterra 888-297-2757.

Transportation to South Rim, GC: Optional flight from Las Vegas to South Rim is available (Bar10transport) or ground shuttle from Las Vegas, NV (800-222-6966), Phoenix or Flagstaff (Groome Transportation 928-350-8466). If you drove to the South Rim, you may either park at the Grand Canyon airport and shuttle inside the park (will save you time at trip’s end by avoiding the need to shuttle back into the park to retrieve your car) or you may also park near you hotel room inside the national park.

Transportation at Trip's End: Optional ground transportation to Las Vegas or to South Rim included.

Duffel Service In-bound: TIME SENSITIVE Everyone should be able to hike the Bright Angel Trail with their backpack should this service not be available - Please consider this to be a BONUS if available. This service will allow for mules to carry your clothing/hygiene products in your duffel bag down to the river you while you hike with a lighter day pack (Highly recommended as are trekking poles). Many people opt for this service which is reserved through Xanterra 888-297-2757 and based on availability. If you are interested in this option, BOOK NOW as space is limited and should you decide against this trip, you can cancel for a full refund (up to 48 hours prior to trip start date). 

 

Instructions: By 3:30pm the day prior to your trip, you will need to drop off your duffel at the Fred Livery Barn. When making this “IN-BOUND DUFFEL SERVICE RESERVATION” be sure to mention that it must be delivered to” Boat Beach NOT PHANTOM RANCH” on day 1 of your raft trip. Late Duffels are not encouraged however if you arrive to the south rim after 3:30pm, you should be able to (call Xanterra to verify) drop your bag(s) off at the Bright Angel transportation desk (a $10 late fee will apply). If after 6:30pm, there are no guarantees and  you must call 928-638-2631 to arrange for duffel pick up. Bag dimensions must be no larger than 36X20X13 and weight less than 30lbs. For more information on this please click HERE. Please inform us if you reserve the in-bound duffel service, as we will need to note your file. Please contact us if there is no availability with Xanterra.

Oar Raft Trip

Oar 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.

Oar Raft Trip

  • Popular rafting type,offered by 12 of 16 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.
  • 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

Hiking from Rim to River

At the start of your Lower Canyon adventure, this trip will begin with a mandatory hike into the canyon via the bright angel trail to meet your rafts. The trail is well maintained and has water stations at mile 1.5, mile 3, mile 4.8 and mile 9.  On average, descent time from rim to river is 4-6 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. Please note that some outfitters’ itinerary can accommodate the “inbound” duffel service, a service which can transport your gear for a fee.

 

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.

Descending the Bright Angel Trail

Lower Canyon trips are taxing on the ankles/knees/hips and calf muscles. There is a significant amount of abuse that your joints endure due to constant downhill trekking, especially when you include the additional weight from your day or backpack. This descent should be attempted by those who do not have major joint issues which can cause potential problems during this hike. Note that you will be hiking into the heat. Depending on the time of year, the temperature at the rim can be in the upper 40’s and temperatures may reach 110 at the bottom. 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. Focusing on strengthening your leg muscles (calves and quads) is a crucial part of a successful hike.

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.

Deposit, Payment and Cancellation: 

Deposit is due at time of reservation and final payment will be due 120 days prior to trip’s start date. If you cancel 120 days or more before the trip date, you will forfeit $100 per person for 2019 reservations and $200 per person for 2020 reservations. If you cancel within 119 to 31 days of the trip, you will forfeit the deposit. Within 30 days of departure, you forfeit the full fare.

Additional Trip Dates

IconFirst Day

You will have arrived and spent the night at the south rim the day prior. You will wake early and begin your hike into the canyon, sometimes as early as 4:45am depending on the season, (view video of hike descent at trip's start). Upon the completion of your hike, you will meet your guides and the rafts at the bottom of the canyon. You will be handed your dry bags and transfer your clothing/personal products from your back pack to the dry bags. An orientation meeting will also take place upon the arrival of the last hiker. In some cases, the orientation meeting is held the day or evening prior depending on your given itinerary. Lunch is served, and shortly after you will begin rafting down the Colorado river! The amount of rafting on this day is dependent on many factors and the trip leader will decide when and where to camp this evening.

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

136 River Mile Trips/Diamond Creek Exit - Late morning sometimes early afternoon, you'll arrive at Diamond Creek where you will disembark and be met by transportation vehicle(s). You will travel for about an hour along a rough dirt road to the main highway in Peach Springs, AZ before being taken to South Rim or Las Vegas.

"Our trip was the last outing of Sept 2017. It was very warm and we slept under the stars. The guides were great, the gear provided was great,the food was awesome - the checklist and expectation information are spot on for the trip .The usual TA questions to check off when writing a review are kind of funny - did this place have restrooms? Facilities are provided, but read the material and understand the nature of packing EVERYTHING in and out of the canyon. LOL. We loved it."
-Clarkston, Michigan

"Don't do this trip unless you want an experience of a lifetime. Joe and the Boys (our guides) safely navigated the river, cooked great food, helped us adapt to the river life, kept wild animals at bay (a raven absconded with a special food pouch) and somehow managed to arrange perfect weather. Each day started with a fresh cup of coffee and ended with a cocktail at rivers edge."
-Las Vegas, Nevada

"This trip is worth every penny and more! The scenery is absolutely amazing! Waking up every morning to new sights and new river adventures is awesome. I would re-take this trip every year if I could. The food is great! The guides are great! The trip is great! Don't wait! GO NOW!"
-Miami, Florida

This was a much needed time of beauty and adventure! We were together with no phones and so much to see and experience. The river guides and organization made it seamless. All expectations were met and exceeded. Shad, Keifer and Austin led us on a super fun and informative trip. Our kids got to be just that and they encouraged them to let it all out:))) Thank you for a life changing time together.
-Monroe, Louisiana

"We took the River and Ranch tour. Guides Roni and Jeff were incredible and worked their tails off. Great history on the geology and prior rafting expeditions added to the experience. Meals were top notch and plentiful. So many opportunities for first time experiences. No words describe the grandeur. Book it!"
-Hamilton, Montana