Upper Canyon

Overview

Upper canyon trips begin at Lees Ferry in Marble Canyon and end at river mile 88 near Phantom Ranch with a strenuous 7.5-9.5 mile hike up and out of the canyon via the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim. Within a few miles of pulling away from Lees Ferry, the first signs of the fascinating geology of the canyon begins to appear as the Kaibab and Toroweap formations make their appearance. There are 19 major rapids rated 5 or above on a 1-10 rating scale. Rapids include House Rock, Unkar, Hance, Sockdolager, Zoroaster, and many others. Highlights include the redwall cavern, Nankoweap Anasazi Granaries, Vasey’s Paradise, confluence of the little Colorado river, and the upper granite Gorge. You’ll explore 88 miles of pristine natural beauty through canyon walls towering over 4,500 feet, including waterfalls, Indian ruins, and wildlife ranging from canyon wrens to bighorn sheep. Rest assured, River Guides provide expert river skills, gourmet meals, canyon lore, emergency skills and supplies and information about geology and wildlife.

Each morning you will enjoy waking up to freshly brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast. After camp has been taken down and boats loaded, you will spend several hours on and off of the river with one or two side canyon hikes each day. Depending on your location on the river, some days you will hike more and travel less, and others travel more and hike less. Your guides, who each have their own specialty be it geology, history, canyon lore, etc. will entertain you with endless knowledge while you enjoy the views of the million year old rock walls surrounding you.
All of the meals are prepared for you, and all camping gear is included. While at camp you have your choice either sleeping inside a tent or under the stars on a comfortable cot or sleeping pad, with a warm sleeping bag & sheet. Dry bags are also supplied so you can protect your items from water.

Hiking from River to the Upper Canyon 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. The trail is well maintained and has water stations at mile 9 (bottom of the canyon), mile 4.8, mile 3 and mile 1.5 near the top. 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. Please note that some outfitters’ itineraries can accommodate the “outbound” duffel service, a service which can transport your gear for a fee.

At Trips End

After you’ve reached the top of the south rim, depending on your particular trip, transportation back to your starting point may or may not be included. If not included, accommodation can be made to ensure a seamless departure. Once you’ve selected your trip, all of these details will be presented.

Transportation: Meeting locations depend on itineraries which vary from one outfitter to the next. Return transportation also depends as some trips end at the South Rim, while others include transportation to Flagstaff.
Las Vegas NV: Trip may start here or you may use as a hub and take a charter flight to Marble Canyon if trip begins there
Marble Canyon AZ: Fly to Las Vegas, Charter flight to Marble Canyon or Drive from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon (4.5 hours) or from Phoenix to Marble Canyon (4 hours).
Page AZ: Fly into Page by way of Phoenix, or arrive in Phoenix and drive to Page 4.5 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)