*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
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 at 5am to begin your descent to the river. On day 9, you will be shuttled via ground transport back to the South Rim and will arrive between 5:30 and 7:30pm. There is also air/ground transport options from the South Rim to Flagstaff, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Hotel (trip’s start):
Transportation (trip’s start): South Rim, GC
Transportation (trip’s end): Flagstaff or South Rim (included)
In-bound duffel service: (not included)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Payment and cancellation policies:
Trip cancellation Insurance - Highly Recommended
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.
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.
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 Flagstaff.
"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."
"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."
"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"
"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"