7 days || 89 river miles || 5 oar rafts & 1 paddle raft (if available, a hard-sided dory may be substituted for one of the oar boats)
Starts in Flagstaff and ends 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.
Only offered in April and late September for ideal hiking weather
DATES & PRICES
2023 7 Day Upper Canyon Hiker’s Discovery: $2,985
2024 7 Day Upper Canyon Hiker’s Discovery: $3,270
**Prices do not include gratuities to the guides or your pre- and post-trip hotel room stays.**
REQUIRED HIKE: BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL
This trip requires a beautiful, yet strenuous hike out of the Bright Angel Trail on the last day of the trip.
- 7.5 mile (12 km) trail from Pipe Creek to South Rim of Grand Canyon Village
- 4,600 foot (1400 m) elevation climb
- 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 6-8 hours
Is this the best trip option for you? If you and everyone in your party lives an active lifestyle, vigorously exercises 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 demanding 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 along 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 out of the Bright Angel Trail in 6-8 hours. The mule duffel service is an option, but must be reserved for the DAY AFTER YOUR HIKE OUT because we cannot guarantee that we can get your gear to the drop-off location early enough for it to go out the same day. This will require you to stay an extra day and wait to pick up your gear at the mule barn at the South Rim. If you decide to use this service, you will still need to hike out all unreplaceable items, as well as your water and lunch. Whether you use the mule duffel service or not, you should be physically able to carry your gear out. 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 15-30 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 in Flagstaff, AZ
- We will transport you to Lee’s Ferry (river mile 0) from Flagstaff on the morning of your adventure
- Hike out on the Bright Angel Trail on the last day of your adventure—transportation is not provided from the South Rim
Join us for our 7 PM orientation meeting the evening before your Grand Canyon rafting trip begins at the designated hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona. You’ll meet your fellow rafting team, receive your dry bags, go over last-minute details and learn how to pack your dry bags and what to do with your luggage. This orientation does not cover many river life topics because there are many more orientations while on the river to explain what river life is like!
Bright and early, we pick you up by bus at the designated hotel and transport you to Lee’s Ferry. Expect a scenic 2.5 hour drive with a couple of bathroom breaks. At Lee’s Ferry, you’ll unload your gear from the bus, get fitted for a personal flotation device (PFD), meet your crew and begin your adventure!
You will disembark on your hike out of Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail sometime between 7 and 9 AM (this time varies significantly from trip to trip depending on many variables). You will repack the contents of your dry bags into your hiking backpack (which we store separately for you) and begin your hike out with your hiking backpack, a lunch, some snacks and at least 3 quarts of water. The hike takes on average 6-8 hours, but varies depending on your personal fitness level.
When you complete your hike, you will be at the South Rim of Grand Canyon. If you decided to store any luggage with us for the duration of your trip, it will be available for pick up at the Maswik Lodge bell desk. Transportation is not provided back to Flagstaff from the South Rim (transportation details are below).
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). Or, you may leave your vehicle parked in the backpacker’s parking lot at the South Rim.
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.
A Friendly Cab (928-774-4444), Sun Taxi and Tours (928-774-7400), Apex Taxi (928-779-0000) and Uber all offer taxi services in Northern Arizona.
Greyhound bus and Amtrak train both service Flagstaff, though these are the least convenient transportation options.
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: 60” 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 7 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 answers 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.
We just returned from our 6th trip on the Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon. Of course, all of them have been with Arizona Raft Adventures (AzRA). They are a premiere rafting outfitter, so choosing them is a no brainer. They cover every aspect and have decades of experience on the river.