Grand Canyon Whitewater doesn’t offer any paddle trips. Instead, we run oar trips, where we have one guide in the middle of the boat and 4 guests (usually two in the front and two in the back). Essentially your job is to hold on and have fun; the guide does all the hard work of rowing the boats through the flat water and the rapids.
The front of the oar boat has a bench with straps that you can sit on. The rear doesn’t have a bench of any sorts but allows you to sit on the side tubes of the raft. We just updated our entire oar fleet in the 2015 season so we now have 18-foot NRS self-bailing boats, so you can leave your bailing buckets at home 😉
There are some companies in the Grand Canyon that do offer pure paddle trips so, if that is your deal breaker, feel free to check them out as well. The Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association website lists all the Grand Canyon rafting companies. We made the decision not to run paddle trips because we found, through experience, we could not get enough people to volunteer to paddle! The Grand Canyon is LONG (more than 200 miles), HOT (triple-digit temps are the norm for most of our rafting season), and there is a LOT of flat water down there. It is seriously hard work! We found folks usually were happy to paddle for maybe a half day or so, and then they’d had their fill.
So, rather than run true paddle trips, we let people know the guides are usually more than happy to hand over the oars during flat-water stretches. If you want a turn at the oars, ask your guide when there might be a good opportunity for it!