Ever wonder when you might get the biggest, or the smallest, rapids on your white water raft trip? When the water might be too high to navigate, or too low? Luckily, completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963 took the worry out of the equation.
The dam regulates the Colorado River flow, which means Grand Canyon expeditions have become much safer and Arizona rafting has become much more reliable. The flow of the Colorado River below the dam is pretty steady season ’round; there is no bad time to go rafting.
Unlike in the early days, when explorers like John Wesley Powell had to battle a wildly varying river, whitewater vacations now can be scheduled any time in the season with the knowledge that you’ll get a fairly consistent water level. Check our 2012 trips for availability to figure out which month works best for YOU.
Fascinating trivia: The record low flow of the Colorado River pre-dam through the Canyon occured in 1924, when water trickled through at just 700 cubic feet per second. Compare that to pre-dam spring runoffs, when the flow would kick up to about 120,000 cfs. And imagine what it must have been like during the record high flow in 1884, when water crashed through the Canyon at an estimated 300,000 cfs!
Most of the time these days, the water flow is between about 12,000 cfs and 28,000 cfs — perfect whitewater rafting levels!