Getting In Shape
for your Grand Canyon Rafting Trip
To fully enjoy your whitewater rafting and hiking trip in the Grand Canyon requires proper preparation. The combination of full days of rafting, hiking steep rugged trails, hot sun and moving camp daily creates a physically demanding trip. Those doing all-paddle trips or planning to hike in or out of the canyon at Phantom Ranch have additional demands that require even more training. Train for your trip by building endurance, improving balance, core strength and flexibility will help maximize your experience. Here are some tips to help you get fit for your Grand Canyon expedition.
Prepare in advance for your days of climbing in and out of rafts, walking on sandy beaches, hiking and helping fire-line bags off the rafts at night. Spend some time doing cardio exercises such as hiking, cycling or running. Doing longer manual projects like yard work helps prepare you for the active days of the trip along with the different movement patterns of being outside.
If you are not used to hiking, train for the steep trails you will be facing in the Grand Canyon. Start by taking shorter 30 to 40 minute hikes and gradually increase the difficulty and length to multi-hour hikes as you get fitter. Grand Canyon is rarely flat so walk up and down stairs whenever possible.
Those that end up hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon will have an unforgettable and challenging experience. Plan ahead, do some additional training and break in your gear. If you are properly prepared the hike will still be challenging but it can also be enjoyable. For more information check out our guide to hiking the Bright Angel Trail.
With lots of uneven terrain including campsites, the rafts and hiking, improving your balance will help decrease the possibility of taking a spill. Better balance also means more efficient hiking. Practice balance exercises such as standing on one foot or moving laterally to help improve your stability.
Improve Your Core Strength
A strong core improves balance and stability while rafting and hiking. Incorporate core strengthening exercises, such as planks, bridges, and sit-ups, into your fitness routine.
Strength training exercises
Some guests have found adding strength training to their fitness routine helpful, such as light weightlifting and bodyweight exercises. Each day you’ll need to carry your two 20-pound dry bags and other river gear a hundred or so yards from the rafts up to your preferred campsite for the night.
Moving around the rafts and some optional side hikes requires a degree of flexibility most people don’t use during their daily lives. Incorporating stretching and yoga into your fitness routine can help improve your mobility and prevent injury trip. Focus on your hamstrings, quads, hips, and lower back. Try to regularly spend time getting down on the floor and then standing up. Many times on the river you will find yourself having to do this.
Get Comfortable with the Equipment
Before your trip, it’s a good idea to use your equipment, particularly your shoes/sandles and backpack. If you are planning to use hiking poles do some significant hikes with them before your trip.
In conclusion, getting fit for a whitewater rafting and hiking trip in Grand Canyon requires a combination of physical preparation, strength training, flexibility, balance, and familiarizing yourself with the equipment. By putting some time into these areas, you can ensure that you will be ready to fully participate in exploring the Grand Canyon.
Reach out to us (928-526-4575) if you have questions about the hike, your capabilities or Grand Canyon rafting in general. We can give you reasonable expectations and help you prepare for your adventure! Here is more information about rain gear, and side canyon hiking from the river.