The Colorado River is 280 miles long. Not all trips cover 280 miles. There are four options.
The Lower Grand Canyon trip is among the most popular. All Lower Grand Canyon rafting trips start with a 7.5 - 9.5-mile hike down the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. After hiking in you'll meet your guides and the rafts at either Pike Creek, or Boat Beach close to Phantom Ranch, the only lodging below the South Rim.
There are motor and oar trips available, not to mention Paddle, Hybrid, and Dory boat options. The Colorado River has 19 major rapids in this section rated 5 or above on a 1-10 rating scale. They include Lava Falls and Crystal Falls. Every day is full and different, with a mix of smooth water and rapids, and hikes to archaeological sites and hidden canyons. You will camp out under the stars on the beaches at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. After the trip, you are transported to the endpoint designated for the chosen trip.
The Famous Bright Angel Trail takes you to the deepest part of the Grand Canyon. You go Grand Canyon rafting over some of the biggest, navigable whitewater rapids of the North American continent. The rafting trip begins with an immediate plunge into one of the most famous Colorado River rapids, Hermit rapid.
Along the streams, there is an abundance of opportunities to hike including some of the most beautiful natural waterfalls you'll ever see. They provide some reprieve from the hot temperatures of the summer. An open, flexible attitude is necessary. You are immersed in the elements of nature. There is no indoor plumbing, electricity, or Wi-Fi. The daily itinerary is not set in stone. There is plenty of beautiful Grand Canyon scenery, good food, camaraderie, and adventure.
The hike on the Bright Angel Trail is strenuous. There are restrooms at 1.5 mile, 3 mile and 4.8 mile (Indian Gardens) along the hike as well as at the Phantom Ranch. Phones are available at the restroom stops and the River Resthouse, eight miles along the way. Because the trip begins with a 9.5-mile guided hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River, the trip is recommended for hikers in excellent physical condition.
When hiking to the river, a camelback or Nalgene bottles that can accommodate at least three quarts of water is needed. Adjustable hiking poles are useful for those with prior hip, ankle, or knee problems. Ace wraps are recommended. Bring along Advil or Tylenol, just in case. Trim toenails before the hike to make hiking downhill more comfortable. Bring a spare pair of socks and interchange them at rest stops to keep your feet dry and healthy. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen. The National Park Service urges caution for hikers during summer months.
Advantage Grand Canyon offers Lower Canyon rafting trips that last from five to ten days. After the hike, a seven- to ten-day rafting trip begins with a whirlwind in this section. The illusion of a calm shoreline awaits guests that are getting ready to launch a Grand Canyon rafting trip.
As you travel downriver, the pace of the current quickly changes. It barely grazes the magnitude of the rapids that lie ahead. The Lower section is known for its whitewater. Within a few miles, churning water awaits. You drop into four large rapids. They are Horn Creek, Granite, Hermit, and Crystal. Day One covers these in a motor raft trip and at least 2 of them in non-motor trips. Deubendorff Falls, Upset Falls, and Lava Falls await you as you continue downriver.
Whitewater is only part of the Grand Canyon story along this stretch of the area. There are hundreds of side canyons that crisscross the area. Each has an attraction and personality of its own. There are so many of them that It is not possible to explore them all in a lifetime.
The typical stops include Elves Chasm's fern-covered intimacy, hiking above Deer Creek Falls, and winding the way to Matkatamiba. If conditions permit, you can swim in the Havasu Creek turquoise pools and hike the talus where the Thunder River gushes from a rock wall that is very high above the river.
The trip cost depends on the number of days of the tour and the type of raft. One of the three- to six-day motor canyon trips in this section costs between $1323 and $2140—a seven- to nine-day non-motor trip costs between $2280 and $4275.
Some say the main Canyon is more varied and beautiful in the Upper section. The Lower section has the best side hikes and the biggest rapids. Trips on the Lower part of the Grand Canyon National Park explore pristine natural beauty through rock walls that tower over 4500 feet. Waterfalls, Indian ruins, and wildlife such as bighorn sheep and tiny wrens are seen.
The park is located east of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is north of Interstate 40, Williams and Flagstaff, Arizona. The park area is east of the Hopi and Navajo Indian reservations, and south of the state line of Utah. Two hundred seventy-seven miles of the river runs through the park.
The South Rim is open all year. It is 60 miles north of Williams, AZ, by way of route 64 from Interstate 40. Traveling northwest of Flagstaff on Route 180, the distance is 80 miles. The park is entirely within the boundary lines of Arizona. There is limited air service from Vegas and elsewhere.
Transportation: Meeting locations depend on itineraries which vary from one outfitter to the next. Return transportation also depends as some trips return you to the South Rim, while others back to Flagstaff or Las Vegas.
Getting to South Rim, you may arrive at:
Las Vegas NV: Trip may start here or you may use as a hub and take a charter flight to the South Rim or travel by car or shuttle service (4-6 hours)
Phoenix, AZ: You may travel by car or shuttle service to Flagstaff (2-4 hours) or to South Rim (4-6 hours)
Flagstaff AZ: Fly into Flagstaff, or drive from Phoenix via car or shuttle service (2-4 hours) or from Las Vegas via car or shuttle service (4-6 hours)