10 days || 137 river miles || 5 oar rafts & 1 paddle raft (if available, a hard-sided dory may be substituted for one of the oar boats)
Starts at the South Rim Village of Grand Canyon National Park, Recommended Minimum Age: 12, Maximum Group Size: 21 guests
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.
DATES & PRICES
REQUIRED HIKE: BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL
This trip requires a beautiful, yet strenuous hike in on the Bright Angel Trail on the first day of the trip.
- 7.5 mile (12 km) trail from South Rim of Grand Canyon Village to the bottom of Grand Canyon
- 4,600 foot (1400 m) elevation loss
- Average pack weight is 15-25 pounds (6.8-11.3 kg) + 3 quarts of water (weighing about 6 pounds or 2.7 kg)
- Average hiking time is 4-6 hours
Is this the best trip option for you? If you and everyone in your party lives an active lifestyle, enjoys vigorously exercising multiple times per week, enjoys a physical challenge and hikes often, the Bright Angel Trail will be doable for you. If you’re not currently living this type of lifestyle, the hike may still be doable for you, but you must take it seriously and get prepared.
Education is key! The trail is well-traveled by hikers and maintained by the National Park Service, but hiking in Grand Canyon is unlike hiking anywhere else. The Bright Angel Trail is very demanding. There are various challenging elements along the Bright Angel Trail such as uneven footing, large steps, rocks, ball bearing-like surface conditions and extreme heat exposure. The hike is very doable for most people if you take it seriously, are in good physical condition, pack lightly, stay cool and eat and drink properly before and during the hike.
Be prepared to carry anywhere between 15-25 pounds (6.8-11.3 kg) of your personal gear out of the Canyon with you, as well as 3 quarts of water (weighing approximately 6 pounds or 2.7 kg). Although hiking time varies per person, the average hiker makes it down the Bright Angel Trail in 4-6 hours. The mule duffel service may be an option, but your duffel must be dropped off by 3 PM the day before your hike in. If you decide to use this service, you will still need to hike in with all irreplaceable items, as well as your water and snacks. Whether you use the mule duffel service or not, you should be physically able to carry your gear in. If you plan to use the mule duffel service, reserve it early.
While most of our rafters make the hike without incident, you should also consider other trip alternatives if any of the following conditions apply to you or anyone in your group. These conditions may not exclude you from the hike, but should warrant careful consideration: • asthma (exercise and dust-induced) • history of heat-related problems (heat exhaustion or stroke) • pregnancy • taking prescription medications which might lead to dehydration or hyponatremia • heart disease • vertigo, balance issues or unusual fear of heights • foot, ankle, knee, hip or back problems • a generally sedentary lifestyle • more than a few pounds overweight • smoker • out of shape • age (be honest to yourself about your current physical capabilities).
Ask yourself and everyone in your group the following questions:
- Do you live an active lifestyle?
- Do you vigorously exercise at least three times per week?
- Do you participate in some sort of strength training exercise?
- Do you have experience carrying a backpack weighing 15-25 lbs?
- Is this the best trip option for you?
- Do you think hiking Bright Angel Trail sounds like fun?
The answer to all of these questions should be YES!
- Attend your orientation the evening before your trip at 7 PM at the Maswik Lodge at the South Rim of Grand Canyon
- Hike into the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail bright and early the day of your adventure start date (transportation to the South Rim is not provided)
- We will pick you up at Diamond Creek by bus on the last day of your adventure and transport you back to Flagstaff, AZ
Join us for our 7 PM orientation meeting the evening before your Grand Canyon rafting trip begins at the Maswik Lodge at the South Rim of Grand Canyon. You’ll meet your fellow rafters and go over details such as packing your dry bags (which will be at the river), what to expect for the hike and how to pack and fit your hiking pack. This orientation does not cover many river life topics because there are more orientations while on the river to explain what river life is like!
Your hiking escort will determine the best time to meet you and the rest of those hiking in at your orientation. On average, you will be meeting your hiking escort around 5:30 AM. Then, you’ll begin your descent into the bottom of Grand Canyon, which takes on average 4-6 hours. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way!
Once you arrive to the river, you’ll receive your dry bags and start transferring your gear from your hiking backpack (we will store your hiking packs separately). Lastly, your trip leader will provide a safety orientation, you’ll be fitted for your personal floatation device (PFD) and then you’ll head down river! We’ll supply you with snacks and electrolyte replacement mix for your hike, and you’ll eat lunch somewhere along the river.
We pick you up by bus at Diamond Creek around mid-morning and bring you back to Flagstaff. This 3 hour drive is along a creek bed, and the adventure continues on this last leg of your expedition! The buses don’t have air conditioning as full power is needed for the rough drive out Diamond Creek road—be sure to continue drinking water! Our trips generally return to the designated hotel around 3-7 PM, but we cannot guarantee the exact arrival time.
Upon arrival at the hotel, a staff member will be there to greet you with your luggage, room key(s) (if applicable) and the Red River Sports store. We recommend you stay in Flagstaff that evening in case of any travel delays and to attend the post-trip dinner (most of our groups partake in this final hoorah!).
TO & FROM
There are many travel options for getting to and from your Grand Canyon rafting adventure. The below options have worked best for our rafters.
We recommend flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport or Flagstaff Pulliam Airport in Arizona. Las Vegas is not as convenient as you might think because of the lack of shuttle options and the inconvenient shuttle times. If you fly into Phoenix, you can either rent a car to get to Flagstaff or book a shuttle through Groome Transportation. We recommend that you investigate your shuttle transportation options prior to securing your flight.
By Personal or Rental Car
Flagstaff is located approximately 2.5 hours north of Phoenix, at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17. You may arrange to pick up or drop off a rental car at the Flagstaff Airport. You may leave your vehicle parked at the designated meeting hotel for the duration of your trip free of charge (it is not a secured lot).
Groome Transportation offers multiple daily shuttles between Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Flagstaff, as well as 3 daily shuttles between the South Rim of Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. Allow 6 hours of travel time from Phoenix to the South Rim. A Friendly Cab also provides shuttle services in Central and Northern Arizona.
When preparing to pack for your Grand Canyon rafting trip, there are a few items that you’ll always need no matter what time of year you’re going down river. TO VIEW THE SPECIFIC PACKING LIST FOR YOUR ADVENTURE, VISIT YOUR ONLINE TRIP PORTFOLIO (which you will have access to upon reserving your adventure), as we have prepared lists for the different seasons.
You will always need:
Base layers: non-cotton underwear (sports bras or tankini tops work well for women)
Long-sleeve polypropylene top (or other wicking material top)
Long-sleeve cotton top
Rain jacket/paddle jacket (ponchos are inadequate)
Camp top/sleepwear top
Base layers: non-cotton underwear or swim suit trunks for men
Camp bottoms/sleepwear bottom
Additional Required Items
Heavy-duty skin balm/salve
Water bottles or some type of capacity to carry up to 96 ounces of water
Small backpack for day hikes
Toiletries (including biodegradable soap)
**Please see your personalized online portfolio for specific amounts & additional details to your trip length and time of year**
WE PROVIDE ALL GUESTS WITH THE FOLLOWING
Three dry bags
- Your white day bag is used to hold all of your gear that you’ll want to access to during the day. Think of this as your carry-on luggage. It is approximately 24” tall and 18” wide, and is 30.3 liters.
- Your blue bag holds all of the rest of the gear that you don’t need during the day. This is like your checked luggage. It is approximately 22” tall and 14” in diameter when packed, and is 49.2 liters.
- Your sleep kit bag is also blue and contains your sleeping bag, a sleeping bag liner and a ground tarp. You will receive this bag on the river.
Sleeping pad: 72” long, 22” wide and 1 ½” thick
Tent: one per every two guests on a reservation. Separate tents can be requested.
Groovette: quart-sized paint cup to be used when urinating in the river or camp toilet is not ideal.
Basic First-Aid Kit
Library of Grand Canyon reading materials
Drinking water & electrolyte replacement mix
Lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day
Breakfast beverages (coffee, tea, juice & hot chocolate)
If you would like a Grand Canyon rafting trip that offers a variety in types of boats, this is the ideal adventure for you! This is a great option for those that would like to both paddle and sit back and relax in the oar boats. The Classic Adventure is also an ideal choice for guests of different abilities and interests, keeping in mind that 9 days in the backcountry environment will take its toll on everyone. We welcome first-time rafters, experienced rafters and everyone in between.
We gear this trip to the hiking enthusiast. If it is your desire to hike and explore Grand Canyon as much as possible, this is the Grand Canyon adventure for you. As a word of caution, if you are not a hiking enthusiast and don’t wish to hike very much on your rafting expedition, this may not be the best choice for you as you may end up sitting out many of the hikes. We suggest that you consider your own ability for participating in this adventure, as well as anyone else that you might bring on this trip.
We often get asked what the best time of year to raft the Grand Canyon is, and our answer is always, “it depends on what type of weather you prefer!” You’re going to get different weather every month. Some months are more variable weather-wise, whereas others are more reliable. Below is a general guideline as to what type of weather to expect each month in Grand Canyon.
April: Average high is 80-85 degrees F (26-29 degrees C), with lows in the mid-50s F (10s C). Rain is possible, though unlikely. Wind is likely.
Late September: Average high is 85-90 F (29-32 C), with lows in the low-60s (15 C). Rain is unlikely. Expect shorter daylight hours.
Unexpected situations arise every year that cause our rafting participants to cancel. Because our deposits and final payments are non-refundable (after payment due dates pass), we highly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Although spaces are transferrable to another person, they are not transferrable to future years. Those who don’t purchase trip cancellation and cannot find anyone to refill their space(s) will lose their money. We provide information for Travelex, but there are many other choices available, such as TravelGuard, USAA or Alliance. These policies also include evacuation and medical insurance should the need arise. It is an additional cost on top of your rafting adventure, but we have found that it is worth the price!
It’s best to start investigating trip cancellation insurance plans at the same time you put down your deposit. This will cover you for any pre-existing conditions you may have or protect you before something happens that may prevent you from going on your adventure. We are not qualified or authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions or conditions of any of the insurance offered, or evaluate the adequacy of the prospective insured’s existing insurance coverage. Please direct specific questions to the Travelex customer service department.
Classic Adventures provide a direct encounter with the Colorado River and its countless rapids. You meet the river on its own terms, at its pace, quiet and still, pounding rapids, then quiet again. There is undeniable challenge, shared adventure, and personal satisfaction along with the flexibility to meet a variety of interests and changing moods.