As experts in Grand Canyon rafting we provide a complimentary service in finding, booking and coordinating your raft trip based on YOUR needs and preferences.
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Absolutely not. We are priced exactly the same as the operators who are selling the exact same Grand Canyon river raft trips. We are a free service to you and get paid a fee from the outfitters for referrals. We do the leg work and contact every outfitter on your behalf. Allow us to assist you in finding the right trip based on your needs.
The rafting season is from April - October and each month has its’ own beauty. Spring and Fall trips feature more mild temperatures and cooler, more comfortable sleeping conditions. June through August trips are the more popular months and often reach temperatures between 100-115 degrees during the day. The monsoon season begins on June 15 and ends on September 30, but the storms peak between mid-July and mid-August. During this time, you can anticipate occasional showers periodically. These showers often come and go and are refreshing given the high temperatures. If you’re looking for a Grand Canyon raft trip with extended hiking, outfitters offer these in spring and fall as the cooler temperatures allow for longer hikes.
While on the river, there are plenty of pit-stop opportunities, and disposable systems should you have to go #2 when not at camp. Just ask your guide and they will accommodate! There are even ways to pee into the river while on raft, privately! When docked at camp, a toilet facility also known as the "Groover" is always available. There is a hand wash station with an "OCCUPIED" sign leading down a path to the toilet. The restroom will have a toilet seat just like what you have at home, and is much more comfortable than a port-a-potty. It will be hidden away from the view of others as placement is carefully decided on by the trip leader (proximity to the kitchen - downwind and not too close to the river) and often will feature a gorgeous view of the Colorado river.
You’ll be happy to know that 70% of our guests have no previous river rafting experience, let alone never have spent a night sleeping outdoors so the answer is no, no previous experience is necessary for most Colorado river trips in the Grand Canyon. The only exception (by a couple of outfitters strong recommendation) would be a lower canyon all-paddle trip as the first couple of rapids are among the largest of the river, and there is very little time to get comfortable in the raft prior to these rapids. An open mind, a positive outlook will ensure you’ll make wonderful memories that will last a lifetime on your Grand Canyon Rafting Trip
There are 16 commercial outfitters that offer Grand Canyon rafting adventures, and they are all unique in their own way. To begin, all must keep excellent safety records and history per national park regulations. All employ very experienced guides (trained in first aid) with thousands of river miles spent rafting Grand Canyon as well as other rivers in the world. In addition, you can expect high quality rafts/gear and everything you need to ensure an amazing rafting experience. What varies is their individual itineraries: Where trips begin or end, how many river miles they travel, how many days and the raft type. Some commercial outfitters will offer sleeping cots, while others a self-inflating sleeping pad. Some will offer camp chairs, even pillows and even a way to charge you camera battery. Some focus only on non-motor trips, while others offer motor as well as non-motor. These are some of the main differences between one outfitter to the next and I recommend calling us to discuss in further detail. Our experts will match you with the outfitter/trip the best fits your needs.
In addition to being one of the most popular tourist destinations in America, the Grand Canyon is also home to an unmatched assortment of world-renowned rafting routes and adventure destinations. Each year, over 22,000 vacationers and travelers descend on the Grand Canyon to experience the Colorado River’s world-class rafting routes for themselves. As a result, the process of planning, scheduling and booking personal water rafting trips or canyon tours ranges from impractical to downright impossible.
Fortunately, Advantage Grand Canyon can provide you with the itinerary planning tools and outfitter connections to circumvent this logistical nightmare. Specifically, Advantage Grand Canyon will cut through booking delays and scheduling red tape, guiding you through the three key steps to planning a river rafting trip on the Grand Canyon:
Commercial Colorado River rafting operations in the Grand Canyon are only active from April through to October. Because Grand Canyon rafting expeditions are so popular, we highly recommend that would-be adventurers plan and book their trip reservations at least a full year in advance. If you’re looking for a late booking, get in touch and we’ll see if any outfitters have free spots due to last-minute cancellations.
To help you plan the perfect trip, Advantage Grand Canyon collates and categorizes an exhaustive amount of rafting expedition data from each of the sixteen rafting outfitters operating in the Grand Canyon. You can use the Advantage Grand Canyon database to filter for a range of trip features, including trip length, start/end date, activity itineraries, tour pricing, gear provisions, raft type and route availability. The results of this search make it easy for travelers to compare trip options and narrow down their search to a single outfitter.
There are five main rafting options you can choose from when planning your Grand Canyon river rafting trip. We’ve listed a brief description for each of the main raft types below:
Motor rafts are the most popular rafting option for Grand Canyon trips. Motor rafts are typically around 35 feet long and can comfortably hold up to fifteen passengers plus dry bags and camping gear. The minimum age to experience Grand Canyon river rafting on a motor raft is 8 years old.
Guided by a qualified tour guide and powered by a quiet four-stroke engine, motor rafts typically travel at around 8 miles per hour — that’s nearly twice the average speed of the Colorado River’s current. As a result, motorized trips are widely regarded as the most time-effective way to explore the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
Oar rafts are a medium-sized raft type that can typically seat between six and eight passengers. Directing and propelling an oar raft are the responsibilities of your rafting guide — passengers are NOT required to assist with the rowing. The average speed of an oar raft rarely exceeds the speed of the Colorado River current, around 4 miles per hour.
One advantage of using an oar-powered raft, as opposed to a motorized raft, is that the float trip speed of an oar raft allows you, the passenger, to spend more time chatting with your river guide and exploring the sandy shores of the Colorado River.
Paddle rafts are the smallest raft type available for Grand Canyon river rafting. Unlike motor rafts or oar rafts, passengers on a paddle raft have to use a small wooden paddle to assist with the propulsion and steering of their raft.
During a river rafting trip, paddle raft passengers will need to closely follow their rafting guide’s instructions, especially while traversing the Grand Canyon’s whitewater rapids. Because travelling on a paddle raft is more physically demanding, we recommend that you only select this option if you have previous experience with paddle-powered river runners or rafts.
Dory rafts are a relatively uncommon sight along the Colorado River; in fact, only two Grand Canyon rafting outfitters currently support dory trip rafting tours. A dory raft can hold up to four passengers plus a rafting guide.
Unlike the inflatable rafts described previously, Grand Canyon dories are constructed from either hardwood or fiberglass. Because of their rigid and canoe-like design, dory rafts are marginally faster and significantly more agile than other non-motorized raft types.
The term “hybrid raft” doesn’t actually denote a specific type of raft; instead, it refers to a raft formation that includes both paddle rafts and oar rafts. By grouping these raft types together, passengers can experience and alternate between two different yet highly complementary rafting options.
When you use Advantage Grand Canyon’s trip planning database, it’s easy to tailor your river expedition to both your rafting preferences and trip-length requirements, from thrilling day-long whitewater rafting trips to relatively serene multi-day floats downriver. For more detailed information on routes, rafts or the classification of rapids, you can either search through our comprehensive trip database or submit a full-service Build My Trip itinerary request.
If you’re short on time, you can choose from a wide array of whitewater rafting and canyon hiking day trip expeditions. However, if time isn’t an issue, there’s no better way to explore the Colorado River than to raft the entire Grand Canyon, a 280 mile journey that starts from the put-in at Lees Ferry and ends at Lake Mead. If you’d prefer a shorter multi-day trip, our highly experienced Grand Canyon rafting outfitters also carry out a variety of rafting expeditions along the Upper and Lower Canyon.
The Upper Canyon stretches from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch and is approximately 88 miles long. The two most popular Upper Canyon routes are Lees Ferry to Whitmore Wash and Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek.
The Lower Canyon runs for 192 miles from Phantom Ranch to Lake Mead and is one of the most popular stretches of the Grand Canyon. Rafting expeditions in the Lower Canyon take on some of the most notorious whitewater rapids along the Grand Canyon; namely, Lava Falls and Crystal Rapids.
Remember, if you choose a rafting expedition with a put-in or take-out point at the canyon rim, you’ll need to complete an 8 mile accessibility hike along the Bright Angel Trail. Canyon hiking up or down the Bright Angel Trail is a physically demanding trek; therefore, we recommend that you rack up some hiking experience (if you haven’t already) in high temperatures and high humidity if you’re considering a mid-canyon rafting trip.
Whether you’re on a motorized raft trip or a paddling adventure, our exciting Grand Canyon rafting trips offer near-constant opportunities to make the most of the Grand Canyon and soak up the natural beauty of the Colorado River. In a single hour of rafting, it’s not uncommon to go from the roar of rushing whitewater to the glacial elegance of ancient limestone rock formations.
During breaks from rafting, you’ll also have the chance to join your tour guide and fellow passengers on optional canyon rim tours and hikes. Canyon hikes along the north, west and south rim of the Grand Canyon not only offer spectacular views, they also give you the opportunity to learn more about the cultural significance of the Grand Canyon to Native Americans. For more information about the Native American inhabitants of the Colorado River Basin, we recommend that you make a stop at the nearby town of Peach Springs, the capital of the Hualapai nation.
Depending on where your rafting adventure concludes, you may have the opportunity to exit the Grand Canyon via a helicopter tour. On an extended helicopter ride, you’ll have the chance to inspect other major canyons and lakes intersecting the Grand Canyon or Arizona river basin, including world-renowned sites like Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Cataract Canyon and Glen Canyon.
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