An unforgettable adventure awaits you on this 9-day/8-night hike intensive rafting trip. We’ve added an extra day to our standard schedule to allow ample time to hike in the canyon.
After you’ve traversed the strenuous 8-mile hike into Grand Canyon from the South Rim, with all your personal gear loaded into your backpack, rafters will encounter backcountry waterfalls, slot canyons and ancient ruins on daily side hikes. Satisfy your inner thrill-seeker on rapids such as Hermit, Crystal, and Lava rapids.
Grand Canyon Whitewater provides experienced guides, great food, rafting and camping gear, and a detailed trip information packet with a packing list. This is an active, outdoor expedition; it is recommended that guests prepare for the physical nature of the river trip, train for the required hike, and bring a sense of adventure.
Early on the ninth day, your river trip will end at Diamond Creek with included ground transportation to nearby Peach Springs, AZ followed by ground transportation back to Flagstaff, AZ or South Rim.
GCW’s oar-powered rafts are 18-feet long and seat 3-5 guests plus a guide per raft (this is NOT a paddle trip, the guides are the ones doing the rowing). Because we always run 6 rafts per trip you can expect 24 passengers on your adventure.
The Hike on Bright Angel Trail
- 8 miles at an average grade of 10%
- 4-6 hours to hike in for a physically-fit and prepared hiker
- Nearly one vertical mile in elevation change, starting at about 7,000 feet
- You will be carrying your loaded backpack with you on the trail
- Often the trail is in full Arizona sun — the weather and heat can make the hike even more extreme
- 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
The Bright Angel Trail is the most commonly used trail in Grand Canyon. Along the journey, there are three water-refill stations and four resthouses. Though the trail is well-maintained in Grand Canyon terms, guests have described it as very rugged. There are many large log steps and switchbacks.
Because of the difficulty of the mandatory hike into the canyon, you must call us to book — we do not take online reservations for hike-intensive trips. We’ll want to talk to you, and everyone in your group, about your hiking experience, your current fitness level and exercise routine, how to train and prepare for this hike, and any medical conditions that might affect your ability to get the most out of this experience. We do not recommend this trip for people with a history of heart problems, high susceptibility to heat-related illness or exercise-induced asthma. Other factors that may negatively impact your hike include being out of shape, overweight, or a smoker.
We provide all meals on the river, but you will need to bring your own hiking backpack, containers to carry water, and snacks for the hike into the canyon.
There are multiple ways to get to the trip’s starting point and home again at the end of your adventure, depending on whether or not you will have a vehicle. Either way, you will need to spend the night before your trip at the South Rim of Grand Canyon, as the hike into the canyon begins early the morning of your trip.
You do not have enough time to arrive the morning of your hike.
The river portion of your trip will end early on the last day at Diamond Creek, mile 225. You will ride on a Hualapai bus for about an hour along a rough dirt road to the main highway in Peach Springs, AZ. An air-conditioned shuttle will be waiting in Peach Springs to return guests to the designated hotel in Flagstaff, to arrive around 2:00 p.m., and then the bus will continue on to the South Rim, to arrive around 4:00 p.m. barring any complications. If you have alternate travel plans, please let us know in advance.
If you DO NOT have a vehicle:
Most guests choose to fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) or Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) and then book shuttles from Phoenix to Flagstaff and Flagstaff to South Rim the day before the trip. Between Phoenix, Flagstaff, and the South Rim, Groome Transportation (928-350-8466) offers scheduled shuttles, and Airport Shuttle of Phoenix (480-710-3441) offers private rides. On the final day of the trip, you’ll use our transportation from the river back to Flagstaff where it’s recommended to spend the night before heading home. Alternatively, you can fly between South Rim and Las Vegas with Grand Canyon Airlines. To book flights to and from South Rim visit www.bar10.com or call 800-582-4139.
If you DO have a vehicle:
You may drive yourself to the South Rim the day before your trip launches. You can leave your vehicle at the South Rim (free of charge). A good place to find parking is in the backcountry parking lot. Our transportation will shuttle you back to the South Rim at the end of the trip. Keep in mind that this shuttle will stop in Flagstaff first before heading back to South Rim. You may want to consider leaving your vehicle in Flagstaff and shuttling to South Rim to make this final day easier. See the Groome Transportation shuttle option above.
What is included
Grand Canyon Whitewater provides the following:
- Return transportation to South Rim or Flagstaff, AZ on the final day of the trip(optional)
- Custom made rafts and experienced guides
- Coast Guard approved whitewater personal flotation device (PFD)
- Meals – prepared by guides and snacks on the rafts
- Kitchen facilities, dishware, and a mug
- Camping toilet facilities, toilet paper, and supplies
- Beverages – unlimited water, assorted soda, electrolyte mix are always available – coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are available at breakfast
- First-aid kit
- Sleeping bag, sheet, and small pillow
- Two-person tent and ground tarp, sharing not required
- Large dry bag for the provided sleeping gear and your backpack
- Personal daytime dry bag (accessible at all times) ~ 7″ diameter and 14″ tall when sealed
- Camp chairs
- Community dry bag for hiking shoes (accessible before side hikes)
- There are no taxes on this trip
What Is Not Included
You will be responsible for the following:
- Hiking backpack
- National Park entrance fee
- Personal travel insurance
- Alcoholic beverages (passengers can bring their own)
- Suggested post-trip gratuity for guides
This trip is not currently available for booking. For more information please see our Bright Angel Trail Construction Update blog.