Rafting vacations in the Grand Canyon, considered to be the adventure trip of a lifetime, are so popular that most commercial trips are sold out an entire year in advance. A typical Grand Canyon River rafting trip is 15 – 18 days long and 280 miles long.
If you are short on time or just want a shorter trip then you have the option of choosing to run either the Upper or Lower sections of the Canyon. Shorter trips require a 9 mile hike on the Brite Angel Trail between the river and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you have the time, it is highly recommended that you raft the entire 280 miles of the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is rated Class IV with few Class V rapids and numerous Class I – III rapids as well. Because options range from paddling and navigating the rapids as a team to riding along in an oar-powered raft, the Grand Canyon is a great rafting trip for people of all ages and abilities.
The Upper Canyon: Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch
The Upper Canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch is approximately 88 miles. Grand Canyon River rafting trips on the upper section through Marble Canyon are 5 days in length. Along the way you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take side hikes in Paradise Canyon, Nautiloid Canyon and Nankoweap Canyon (one of the Canyon’s most popular side hikes).
From Put-in at Lee’s Ferry, you’ll take a geologic tour through time. The Kaibab Limestone that appears at put-in is 250 million years old and quickly rises to form the rim rock of the canyon within the first 30 miles. As the Kaibab Limestone rises it is succeeded at river level by even older formations.
The Lower Canyon: Phantom Ranch to Lake Mead
The Lower Canyon is by far the most popular section of the Grand Canyon. River rafting trips through the Lower Grand Canyon are 192 miles in length and experience some of the biggest rapids on the river… Crystal Rapid and Lava Falls. Not only will you experiece the most difficult rapids, you’ll also experience the highest concentration of Class IV rapids in all of the Canyon.
This trip floats through the awe inspiring Granite Gorges and past the Grand Wash Walls which mark the western edge of Grand Canyon National Park. The side hikes in the Lower Reaches of the Grand Canyon are unsurpassed. Some of the most famous side hikes are Tapeats Creek, Deer Creek, and Havasu Creek… just to name a few.
Season: April – October
The Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is dam-controlled and water is released year-round. Commercial trips typically run from April through October.