I’m just gonna go ahead and say it … a Grand Canyon river rafting trip is adventurous and exciting, but not luxurious, and the food is not gourmet. I’m saying this considering the “rim-world” definitions of luxury and gourmet, which conjure up visions of great comfort, extravagance and fancy, fine dining.
With regard to the outdoor world, GCW raft trips are relatively comfortable. You’ll be woken by a freshly prepared cup of cowboy coffee followed by a warm breakfast. During the day guides lead the way through dramatic scenery and hidden gems that can only be accessed by river. Stories are told of the history and geology of the beloved Grand Canyon. A deli lunch spread is a treat along the midday river’s edge. In camp, you’ll mingle with your new companions while the guides demonstrate a camp set-up and prepare dinner. With all of the camping equipment provided for you, sleeping under the stars comes with ease.
Our guides, however, will expect you to pitch in where possible. Helping load and unload the rafts is a daily activity, setting up your tent and sleeping area is your responsibility, washing your own plates and utensils before AND after each meal is up to you, getting yourself to the meal line on time is important for the timing of the expeditions. There are many other small tasks that will be up to you like crushing your own cans, re-stocking your beer in the drag bags, etc. Also, if you see something needing attention, like low TP in the bathroom, you should tell a guide! Communication is key!
We’ve had rave reviews about our food over the years. The food is hearty, well-prepared, nutritious and delicious! It is surprising what the guides are capable of creating in a wilderness environment with limited food-prep tools! But it is not gourmet. We stick to the tried-and-true staples like French toast and bacon, deli sandwiches, steak and potatoes. We usually have fresh ingredients available like fruit at breakfast, avocados at lunch, and green salads at dinner but, on our longer trips (13+ days), that can diminish towards the end of the trip. Everything we serve is carried with us from the time we launch the rafts, no re-stock. We do our best to provide a healthy menu along the river, but it is possible you might run out of ice for your cocktails (which you will be mixing for yourself) by the end of the journey.
I write this blog not to warn people, but more to set expectations. Typically, our guests are so impressed with our river trips and food … but when they aren’t, it is usually due to a misinformed expectation. River trips in Grand Canyon are special, adventurous and exciting but not luxurious — keep your mind open and ready to take in the experience. But if you’re looking to be waited on, wined and dined … this may not be the adventure for you.