Western Canyon rafting tours take place in the Westernmost section of the Colorado River, traveling from river mile 188 — Whitmore Wash to river mile 280 — Lake Mead. This adventure conveniently begins and ends in Las Vegas, with pick up and return to McCarran Airport or the Desert Rose Resort, located just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.
Western river rafting trips include a scenic flight from Las Vegas to Bar 10 Ranch, a 10,000-acre real working cattle ranch where you will enjoy lunch and a delicious dinner (featuring their own all-natural grass-fed beef) on day one of your trip. During your stay at Bar 10 Ranch, you'll also have the chance to take part in horseback riding, volleyball, skeet shooting, ATV’s, ranching demonstrations and a country-western program. After your first day of adventures, you'll rest easy sleeping under the stars in either a double mattress Conestoga covered wagon or a room inside Bar 10 Ranch's lodge.
The next morning, you'll be transported into Grand Canyon National Park via helicopter to begin the second leg of your adventure. Unlike, partial canyon routes, this adventure is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels, including children, as it does not require a strenuous hike to begin or end the trip.
Over the course of your rafting leg, you'll travel nearly 100 river miles along the Westernmost section of the Colorado River, from Whitmore Wash to Lake Mead, experiencing both exciting rapids — including over 13 medium to low-intensity rapids for beginners — as well as smooth flowing water. While on the river, you'll enjoy waking up to freshly brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast. After taking down camp and loading up the rafts, you'll spend several hours on and off the Colorado River. Your guides each have their own specialty, including geology, history and local culture, and they're always happy to share their knowledge as you drift past million-year-old rock walls.
In between white water rapids, you'll have the opportunity to explore Grand Canyon National Park via up to two elective side hikes. These daily hikes will give you the chance to explore beautiful side canyons, spring-fed streams, notable geological sites, and culturally significant rock art. Depending on your location on the river, some days you will hike more and travel less, and other days it will be travel more and hike less.
As the days pass, you’ll get more and more comfortable rafting and exploring Grand Canyon National Park, arriving at a new campsite each late afternoon and dining river-side. After each day on the river, you'll fall asleep under an incredible starlit night sky, waking up the next morning to a magnificent canyon sunrise. Not only will your qualified and talented river guides prepare gourmet meals, but they are also well versed in emergency first aid, geology, wildlife, and canyon lore.
Your western river expedition ends with a jet boat ride across Lake Mead to your take out point. After reaching this point, you'll board a bus or van and, depending on the outfitter’s itinerary, be returned to either McCarran Airport or Desert Rose Resort.
Transportation: You will meet and be returned to Las Vegas, either McCarran airport or the Desert Rose Resort depending on the outfitter’s itinerary.
Unlike other river systems, the Colorado River doesn't require snowmelt to create big white water swell. Fortunately, the Colorado River's peak white water season lands in the warmer months, when there is heightened downstream water demand for agricultural use or hydro-power in Las Vegas. If you're looking to experience rapids and float rafting, western river expeditions are typically offered between late March and October. Though your mileage may vary, April and May are generally regarded as the best time of year for Grand Canyon rafting trips.
There are few things worse than spending a full day battling rough white water rapids only to realize you still have to dry off your gear, set up camp, and cook your dinner. Thankfully, our Grand Canyon outfitters will take care of the food and camping side of things, giving you the chance to relax and bond with your raft mates. All of your meals are prepared for you, and all camping gear is included. While at camp, you will rest on comfortable chairs and sleep inside a tent, on a comfortable cot, with a warm fleece-lined sleeping bag and sheet. Dry bags are also supplied so you can protect your items from water. When it comes to outfitter menus, you can forget small portions and bland meals. During western river expeditions, you can expect gourmet, well-planned meals and plenty of snacks in between. For breakfast, expect an offering of cereals, toast, bacon and eggs, and even pancakes. When you break for lunch, your tour guides will typically set up a deli-style sandwich buffet (with plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans, and other dietary requirements). Once dinner rolls around, sit back and enjoy everything from juicy rib-eye steaks to delicious make-your-own fajita bowls.
Outfitters support both 3 day and 4 day Western Canyon raft trips. However, if you select a 4 day Western Grand Canyon rafting trip, keep in mind that your first day and night will be devoted to dining and relaxation at Bar 10 Ranch.
The cost of Western River expeditions will vary depending on trip duration and outfitter selection. Another factor to consider when budgeting your rafting adventure is seasonal pricing variation — remember, river rafting outfitters set prices according to seasonal shifts in demand during the warmer months. For a 3 day West Grand Canyon motor raft trip, you can expect to pay between $1475 and $1,600. Similarly, a 4-day river expedition in the West Canyon will likely cost between $1,700 and $1,930.
Regardless of raft type (motor, non-motor) these raft trips are active and include daily side canyon hikes (elective). On these hikes, you will often cross streams, have stepped up onto larger rocks, so Ideally getting some exercise prior is recommended. Break-in your new shoes, walk around in your new river sandals a hand full of times to avoid blisters. Walk around your neighborhood and perhaps an elliptical machine or stair master for a couple of weeks prior. If, however, you are planning a partial canyon trip (upper or lower canyon route) which requires a strenuous 7.5-9.5 mile hike in or out of the canyon, a more serious workout program must be adopted at least 2 months in advance of your trip. Contact us and we can provide additional information.