Upper Grand Canyon

WHY WE LOVE THIS ADVENTURE

Rivers and Oceans took all the guess work out of finding the perfect rafting trip for my husband and I. They chose a river trip that met all our needs and made all the reservation for us, including the night before in Page, and the night we hiked out at El Tovar. They also helped arrange getting our car from Page to the South Rim. Everything was exceptional. Thank you! It was a trip of a life time!!

-TheNewEnglandGirl

TIME TRAVEL

See each rock layer up close as you gradually descend through geologic time on the Upper Grand Canyon rafting trip.

GREAT GUIDES

Accomplished, educated guides share their knowledge of the Canyon, amplifying the quality of your experience.

MODERATE INTRODUCTION

Both the Canyon walls and river rapids build in size as you float downstream, giving you time to gradually take in the experience.

HIKE OUT

Your river adventure ends at Phantom Ranch, where you will hike out of the Grand Canyon from its deepest point; a great way to say goodbye to the Canyon.

DEEP CONNECTION

No Wi-Fi means you are able to connect to something greater – the earth, your loved ones, new friends, yourself.

UPPER GRAND CANYON

Upper Grand Canyon Inquiry Request

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Click here for calendar. Click month to choose year.
Click here for calendar. Click month to choose year.


You can choose more than one

Your adventure begins at Lees Ferry at the start of Grand Canyon and ends near Phantom Ranch, 89 miles downstream. This stretch of the Colorado river includes a mix of exciting rapids (class II-IV), tranquil flows, archaeological sites, and other side canyon explorations. You will camp out on beaches in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. After the river portion of the trip, you will hike 7.5 miles up the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

This is not a tour; it’s an expedition!

A flexible, open attitude is a necessity. You will be immersed in the varying elements of nature. There is no set daily itinerary. There is no Wi-Fi, electricity, or indoor plumbing. There is plenty of adventure, camaraderie, good food, and beautiful Grand Canyon scenery.

Hiking Out Is Mandatory

Upper Grand Canyon rafting trips require a strenuous 7.5 mile hike out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. If you are considering an Upper Canyon rafting expedition, please read the following information about hiking the Bright Angel Trail to see if this is a good fit for you. Read more...

Grand Canyon Experts

Our team has been booking rafting trips in Grand Canyon for 30 years. We have solid relationships with all the outfitters and personally know each type of trip offered. At no additional cost, we will not only find the best trip for you, but also walk you through your travel logistics and arrange regional reservations associated with your expedition (something the river outfitters don’t provide).

Want to know more?

Visit our Grand Canyon Rafting Made Easy site for an in-depth series of informational pamphlets created by veteran river guides to give you all the information you need about Grand Canyon Rafting trips. These experts are also on standby to answer all your questions and find your perfect trip.

Beginnings

Depending on outfitter and trip selected, Upper Grand Canyon rafting trips may begin in either: Flagstaff, AZ; Page, AZ; Marble Canyon, AZ; or Las Vegas, NV. Transportation from the start city to Lees Ferry, the launch point, is provided by the outfitter.

Endings

After your hike up and out of the Canyon, you will arrive at Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. If your outfitter does not provide transportation from the South Rim, we recommend spending the night there and continuing your travels the following day. We can help you with South Rim reservations.

Price Includes

All camping and river-related safety equipment. Plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks. Transportation to Lees Ferry. Depending on the outfitter and trip selected, additional transportation may be included.

Weather

April and May have cooler temperatures, which require extra layers, but allow for longer hikes while the wildflowers are in bloom. Spring can bring strong winds. June through August are the hottest and busiest months to raft Grand Canyon with temperatures ranging 95-115°F. Monsoon season starts in July, bringing afternoon clouds and rain showers to cool things off. As the rafting season winds down in September and October, you can expect cooler weather, longer hikes and shorter days.

The Colorado River

The river alternates between short sections of rapids and long calm stretches. There are about thirty rapids in the upper section, but our introduction is gentle as the rapids start out small and gradually increase in size. Rapids range from predominantly moderate (Class III) to a couple of large rapids (Class IV). Glen Canyon Dam controls the water flow, which comes from far beneath the surface of Lake Powell. The water is cold (48°F), and can be emerald green or chocolate brown depending on the season.

The Boats

Your boat will depend on the outfitter and the type of trip you select. The most common is the oar raft, which can carry up to 4 people and a guide who maneuvers the boat with a pair of oars. There are only a handful of motorized raft trips offered for the upper section of Grand Canyon, which carry 14 people. There are trip options for those who wish to have a more active role (hybrid, all-paddle) and there are a couple of outfitters who offer dory trips (hard hulled boats).

Group Size

Oar trips will have 5 to 7 boats, each carrying up to 4 participants with no more than 22 in the group. Motor trips will have 1 to 2 boats, each carrying up to 14 participants with no more than 28 in the group.

Camp Life

Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. You will be provided a full sleep kit with sleeping bag, inflatable pad and ground tarp. Tents are available in case of rain, and some outfitters provide cots and camp chairs for additional comfort. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.

Meals

One thing is certain on a Grand Canyon rafting trip: There will be plenty of food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. With advance notice, all outfitters are able to accommodate for special dietary requirements.

QUICK FACTS

Length: 4 – 8 days
Price: Motor Trips $1,159 – $1,554
per person
Oar Trips $1,915 – $3,206
per person
Season: April – October
Min. Age: Motor Trips – 8 years; Oar Trips – 12 years
Activity: Whitewater rafting
Adventure Level: Strong

Overview of Upper Canyon

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail

Temperatures in the Canyon

Temperatures in the Canyon

A Glimpse Into The Canyon

Photos: Paxon Woelber, John Andrew Rice, Robb Hannawacker

Grand Canyon Rafting Comparison Chart

 

Length: 1 day

Price: Starting at $451

Season: March – October

Hike In/Out Required: No

Length: 2 days

Price: Starting at $795

Season: March – October

Hike In/Out Required: No

 

Length: 3-5 days

Price: Starting at $1,283

Season: April – October

Hike In/Out Required: No

 

Length: 3-8 days

Price: Starting at $1,159

Season: April – October

Hike In/Out Required: Hike Out

 

Length: 5-12 days

Price: Starting at $1,361

Season: April – October

Hike In/Out Required: Hike In

 

Length: 6-18 days

Price: Starting at $2,550

Season: April – October

Hike In/Out Required: No