Raft The Grand Canyon
Arizona › Lees Ferry Boat Ramp
Added by Nick Tort
Rafting through the Grand Canyon is a once in a lifetime experience where you will enjoy views of soaring canyon walls, historic Indian ruins, wildlife, astonishing side canyon hikes and the world's most famous white water. It is the iconic American Adventure and should top out on any adventurers bucket list.
If rafting the Grand Canyon is not towards the top of your bucket list, make room. There are only so many experiences that are so incredible and grand that they can humble, amaze, and awe you day after day during, as well as for the years that follow. This adventure has the ability to strip a person to their bare bones, allowing the wilderness to work its magic on the soul. Cheesy as it sounds, this is one of those life-changing events.
There are only 2 ways to raft through the Grand Canyon: A professionally guided (commercial) tour or win the weighted lottery and run it as a private trip. This trip log will just be giving an overview of a trip that took place from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek totaling 225 river miles over 22 days. The internet is loaded with different companies offering assorted length and styled trips as well as tips to better your chances of winning the lottery.
The Grand Canyon uses a unique river rating scale. The rapids in the Canyon are technically rated (1 - 10) to accommodate such a wide variety of rapids and river variances. You will run the full lot on your trip, from fun mini ripple wave rides to check-your-wetsuit, gut-wrenching whitewater chaos. Depending on the time of year, the temperatures can range between the low 40s and into the triple digits. On our trip in late April, we had both through the course of the canyon.
Your days will vary between long, calm water floats and pulling over at scouting points to try to decipher the best line down one of 42 major rapids rated above a 5 on the GC scale. There are loads of scenic pullouts, waterfalls, historical markers and canyons to explore each day - each one more majestic than the last. The canyon walls grow taller as you slip further down the river, the features grow more magnificent and the beauty shows no signs of letting up.
Words fall short as to the beauty and wander that the river and the canyon will amply give to you and yours in abundance.
Aside from the natural sounds of the wild and the river, there is a silence that overtakes the canyon when sunset moves in. Oars are laid easy, backs and arms take rest, and jaws hurt from silly childish grinning among all in attendance. The light dances on the river as it scales its way up the walls, creating deep hues of reds, purples and oranges overtaking the canyon.
By night, expect the most pristine and beautiful campsites tucked away on sandy beaches surrounded by canyon trails and falls. It’s highly recommended to ditch the tent and sleep under the star: cot and sleeping bag only. If you are on a guided trip, expect amazing food to be prepared for you as you are making memories around the campfire. On a private trip, invite a chef and keep them happy as they prep your night’s cuisine – there’s no need to skimp on food and supplies while running the river – some of my best meals were had on that river.
In summary, rafting the Colorado through the canyon was the most terrifying and rewarding experience I have ever had in my life. It challenged me in ways I could never have been prepared for and by the support of new life-long friends, I persevered and came out a stronger person on the other end. Each person that shared the river with me on that trip has spoke of similar experiences and growth. The river provides.
All photos provided by Kevin Kaminski
- Water shoes (Chacos or Tevas are best while on the river)
- Camp shoes and dry socks
- Cot and Sleeping Bag
- Camera - it's worth the hassle and scare - insurance recommended - you are on a river!
- Ukulele, acoustic guitar, drum box, harmonica, egg shakers - campfire music and natural acoustics
- Sunscreen, Hats and sunglasses
- Hand Salve
- River Maps & Books
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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Adventure of a lifetime!!
When I turned 13 my aunt took me white water rafting as a birthday present. And saying it was an incredible, life-changing trip is an understatement. I did a lot of things for the first time. For example, sleeping under the stars, hiking down the grand canyon, jumping of a waterfall, river rafting (of course), and many other things. I would definitely recommend this adventure to anyone! When I went, there was an 80 year old woman! So if she can do it, you can to!