A Guide to Grand Canyon Rafting!
Have you been considering going on a Grand Canyon rafting adventure? Have you heard your friends and family talking about it for a while now, and think it’s time for you to make this trip of a lifetime really happen this time? Well, we have some tips for you to help you choose the best trip type for you so you can have the time of your life.
Consider your Physical Abilities
First, we recommend you understand that Grand Canyon rafting presents certain amount of risk as you’re in the backcountry, far from emergency medical assistance. Plus, being in an outdoor environment for 6-16 days can take its toll on your body. Make sure you are physically fit enough to hike every day, sleep on the ground, carry your dry bags and sleeping gear around camp and get on and off the rafts multiple times a day. The more physically fit you are, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of your adventure.
This adventure is doable for most individuals if you take it seriously and understand the hiking, camping, rafting and overall risks of an adventure of this sort. We take our responsibility as your guides through Grand Canyon very seriously, and ask that you take your physical fitness and readiness seriously too!
Choose the trip type!
Second, what type of adventure best fits you and your party? We offer three types of adventures, and one is bound to be the best for you! Our Classic Adventure is by far our most popular Grand Canyon rafting trip, as it offers the most variety of boat types and length options. Our Classic Adventure has three craft options to choose from: four oar rafts, one paddle raft and one dory. For groups with mixed interest in paddling, this offers a great option as anyone interested in paddling can do so, and those wanting to sit back and enjoy the scenery while a guide rows has that option too. Note: while rare, water levels & other logistics may preclude us from having a dory on your Classic Adventure trip. If that’s the case, you will be informed ahead of time.
The Classic Adventure is 14-16 days in length from beginning to end. If you require a shorter trip, you can hike out of our Classic Adventure, making it 6 or 7 days long, or you can hike in, making it a 9 or 10 day trip.
The 6-7 day Upper Canyon Adventure and the 9-10 day Lower Canyon Adventure both require a hike on the Bright Angel Trail. This trail is 7.5 miles long and about a mile elevation change along the way. It is a very strenuous hike, and something we want everyone to take very seriously. These length options are ideal for individuals or parties who don’t the ability to be gone for two weeks, but want to experience the variety of boats our Classic Adventure offers.
Our Motor Adventure is our second most popular adventure. If you’d like to enjoy seeing the full river experience from beginning to end, but don’t have two weeks, you can do so on our Motor Adventure in 8-10 days. It’s a great option for those who are a little leery of the big whitewater, as this Grand Canyon rafting trip offers the secure feeling of a larger raft. It’s also ideal for families with wide ranges of abilities. Our minimum age is 10, so we see many multi-generational families join us on our Motor Adventure. If you’re at all worried about the noise and its impact on the trip, read our blog about how great these trips really are!
Last but not least, we have our All-Paddle Adventures. This trip type is for the ultimate adventurer who wants to paddle 100% of the time, every day of their Grand Canyon rafting trip. Physical fitness is a must on our All-Paddle to keep up with the paddling necessary every day. This is the best choice if you enjoy a physical challenge, teamwork and sharing time on the river with others who have a similar zest for adventure.
Determine a time you’d like to travel
The next step is to choose the best time for you or your party to go rafting. We often get asked what time of year is the best time is to go. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference! Each month in our river season is different weather-wise, and you’ll want to determine what type of weather you’d most enjoy. You can see our average expected weather chart below for an overview of what to expect each month.
The rapids are great no matter what month you go down river, so you don’t have to take that into consideration when you’re deciding on a time to go rafting.
• A bit breezy, and on the cooler side for us Arizona locals.
• Our Alaskans and cooler-weather folks love it!
• Expect a little rain, and variation in expected high temperatures.
• PERK: April is an extraordinary month to see the wildflowers in Grand Canyon, especially if we’ve had a wet spring. The wildflowers are truly a spectacular thing to see as we’re not too used to color here in the dry desert!
• Known to be our most variable month weather-wise. It can start getting warm if we’re getting an early summer, or it could stay a little cooler if we’re having a long spring.
• Typically, our 2nd driest month in the Canyon, but the last two Mays have brought lots of moisture!
• PERK: you can expect moderate temperatures. It’ll be warmer than April, but cooler than June. Hiking this time of year is ideal!
• Sun, sun and more sun!
• It is our 1st driest month of the year.
• PERK: because it’s warm, you’ll actually want to play in the Colorado River, and you’ll hike a lot to locations with water destinations (you’ll experience those in other months, too).
• Toasty warm.
• Monsoon season, which brings glorious cloud coverage as a reprieve from the heat.
• Expect any or all of: cloud coverage mid-morning to late-afternoon, some sprinkling, some rain, or a downright downpour.
• PERK: monsoon weather is rare in the desert, and brings glorious drama to the Canyon that’s unlike any other time of year.
• See July, though it’s usually a few degrees cooler than July.
• PERK: continued monsoon weather. If there is a really good downpour, you may see waterfalls cascading off the Canyon walls!
• Continued monsoon weather for the first week or so of the month.
• Weather cooling down and normalizing.
• Most popular month for our repeat guests and charters.
• PERK: great weather for hiking as it’s not too hot, not too cold, and generally pretty dry.
• Temperatures are cooling down, rain is unlikely.
• Days are starting to get shorter.
• Consistent weather with sunshine and cooler temperatures.
• PERK: another great month for hiking as weather conditions are ideal.
Call us to Look at Availability!
The next and pretty much last step after you’ve gotten this far is to call us to see what our availability looks like for the trip type you’ve decided on, the time of year you’d like to go, and how many spaces you’ll need. Keep in mind, Grand Canyon rafting adventures sell out pretty quickly, especially during the months of May, June and September. If you’d prefer any of these months, it’s wise to reserve as soon as possible. You may even want to join our Opening Day List if you’re thinking of reserving any of those months, especially if you have a large party.
Reserve your Adventure of a Lifetime!
Once you find a date that works for you and your party, let’s get you reserved! We truly love Grand Canyon and cannot wait to share this experience with you. Give us a call or email us today!