Grand Canyon Whitewater Colorado River rafting trips give you the opportunity to be in one of the most spectacular places on earth, and to truly get to know the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. On our excursions, you will raft world-class whitewater, camp on sandy Grand Canyon beaches each night, explore winding side canyon trails and waterfalls and view ancient ruins.
We would love to help you discover which rafting adventure is right for you! Let’s start with these few questions:
- When do you want to go?
- How much time do you have?
- Are you interested in a trip with a Hike In or Hike Out of Grand Canyon? If so, are you physically capable?
- What kind of raft are you interested in? Motor or Oar-Powered?
Call us at 800-343-3121 for more details on our Grand Canyon Colorado River rafting trips or book online now. Also, make sure to check out our YouTube page with a ton of informative videos.
When do you want to go Colorado River rafting in the Grand Canyon?
Our rafting season runs from April to October and any time is a good time to go rafting! Because trips book up well in advance, flexibility in your time frame can be beneficial. If you are looking for milder weather, book a trip in April, May, early June, September or October. If your availability is in the peak summer months, during our monsoon season, expect to see some dramatic desert thunderheads, which can help make those high temps feel less extreme. Because the Colorado River flowing through Grand Canyon is controlled by Glen Canyon Dam, water levels are fairly consistent, providing great whitewater throughout our entire season. Keep in mind that Arizona typically has very low humidity and a dry heat, so higher temperatures are often welcomed to balance the cold splashes of river water! There is one weather station at river level, be sure to check the weather before your trip.
How much time do you have?
Consider the amount of time you have for your adventure of a lifetime. The Full Canyon experience can be had in a minimum of 7 days in a motorized raft or can last up to 15 days in an oar-powered raft. We would always recommend spending as much time as you can in the Canyon.
If you don’t have a week or two, we have some shorter trip options. However, the shorter trips include a mandatory hike in or out of the Canyon. If you choose to participate in a Partial Canyon Colorado River rafting trip, you need to really give some thought to the strenuous 8-mile hike in or out of the Grand Canyon. See the following section about the Hike In or Out.
Another short option without a required hike would be a 3 Day trip with our sister company, Arizona River Runners. This adventure blends a Western ranch experience with a whitewater river trip.
Are you interested in a trip with a Hike In or Out of Grand Canyon? If so, are you physically capable?
These double-bucket-list trips are a good fit for hiking enthusiasts who love a challenge. If you’ve always wanted to raft and hike Grand Canyon, this is the trip for you. We encourage you to watch the video (on right) to give you an idea of what to expect on the mandatory hike these trips require.
Because the hike is strenuous, we require interested folks to call us and talk to us about their hiking experience, current exercise routine, training plan and medical history before booking.
The Hike on Bright Angel Trail
Strenuous hike, greatly intensified by Arizona heat/sun in June–August, very little shade on the trail
8 miles (16 km)
Elevation gain/loss of 4,400 feet (1340 m)
Well-maintained trail, graded for stock
Very little shade cover on trail
From Rim: Water stations at mile 1.5, mile 3, Indian Garden mile 4.8
For Prepared Hikers: Average ascent time from river is 6-8 hours; Average descent time from rim is 4-6 hours
Very challenging for people who aren’t regular hikers, are out of shape, overweight or have a history of heart problems, heat-related illness or exercise-induced asthma
What kind of raft are you interested in? Motor or Oar-Powered?
GCW offers both motorized and oar-powered Grand Canyon Colorado River trips. Our most popular trips are aboard motorized rafts. For those of you who have more time and are looking for a more leisurely pace, oar-powered rafts are a great choice. Both motorized rafts and oar-powered rafts are made of rubber and designed specifically for whitewater rafting.
Motorized rafts are 35 feet long and hold about 14 passengers and a guide who drives the boat from the back (or stern). A benefit to the motorized rafts is they allow people to see more of the Canyon because they can go about twice the speed of the current. We aren’t talking major speed here; the current averages about 4 miles per hour, so we cruise along at 8 miles per hour. The motor boats give passengers a fun and exciting ride.
Rafters are seated on padded bench seats along each side of the raft facing the Canyon walls. Your feet will be slightly up on the side pontoons with a duffel pile to lean back against. We’ve been told that our motorized rafts are some of the most comfortable in Grand Canyon. Lay back and take in the breathtaking view or close your eyes for a nap while coasting the flat water. If you choose to sit near the front you’ll be right in the action or move towards the back to dry off. Feel free to rotate seat positions and take turns up front. We also highly recommend switching rafts throughout the trip so you can experience the different guides’ interpretative styles and personalities. Passengers must be at least 8 years old to participate in motorized raft trips.
Oar-powered rafts are 18 feet long and carry 4-5 passengers and one guide to row the raft. The guide sits in the middle and has two long oars to maneuver the raft down the Colorado River and through the rapids. The raft will float along at the speed of the current, about 4 miles per hour. For this reason, oar-powered trips are typically longer, unless you choose to do only half of the trip and either hike into or out of the Grand Canyon. The benefit of an oar trip is you’ll have ample time with your guide to chat, hear stories about historic river runners, ask geology questions, and listen to in-depth interpretation of the Grand Canyon. This is NOT a paddle trip. The guides are the ones doing the rowing – guests will not be issued a paddle or an oar. As a passenger, your job is to hang on, enjoy the ride and take in the beauty of Grand Canyon. Passengers must be at least 12 years old to participate in GCW’s oar-powered trips.
Have more questions about whitewater rafting the Colorado River and which trip to select?
Check out our FAQs, give our office a call at 800-343-3121 or take our quick quiz to help you pick the perfect trip. Our office staff members, pictured below, are all very knowledgeable about rafting trips in Grand Canyon. We would love to help you discover which rafting adventure is right for you.