Endless in scenic wonder, rich in Native American history and loaded with fun and adventure, Western River Expeditions' Grand Canyon rafting tours are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Exploring the Grand Canyon by river is an experience unlike any other. Discover hidden waterfalls and paradisiacal side canyons - areas of Grand Canyon National Park that are accessible only by river. Listen to the sound of the mighty Colorado River as you lie down under a blanket of innumerable stars each night of your Grand Canyon rafting vacation. Watch the morning sun cast its warm glow through towering canyon walls. Discover the rush of excitement from legendary Colorado River whitewater.
The Grand Canyon. There is something truly special and magical about this place. Six million people a year look down at it from the rim, but only a fraction of that get to come down on the river and find the little hidden gems that you would never see from the top. It's a big, big place, but on the river, you get the chance to feel how small and intimate every moment is. From the bottom, you get to see all the amazing waterfalls, and side canyons and hidden oases and hikes, and history that really makes the Grand Canyon... Grand.
Week-long Grand Canyon rafting trips are the most popular option available, accommodating much more travel into the canyon. Miles matter when it comes to exploring all that the Grand Canyon has to offer. Some trips last for five or six days, but only travel 88 miles to Phantom Ranch. Travelers may want to consider opting for rafting trips with motorized rafts, like Western's J-Rig, to cover more ground in one week than you would with an oar-powered craft
The number of days is usually the biggest difference among our Grand Canyon rafting packages. For newcomers, the 3-day expedition is usually the best introduction to whitewater rafting.
The 3-Day Expedition - A Perfect Introduction to Grand Canyon Rafting The 3 Day Expedition is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the Grand Canyon - and even to whitewater rafting in general. Half the length of the 6-7 day trip, with milder white water rapids, and fewer, shorter hikes, the 3-day expedition is the perfect introduction to Grand Canyon rafting. The lower part of the canyon is not short on scenery though! Begins and ends in Las Vegas, Includes flight to Bar Ten, helicopter, jetboat, and motorcoach return
The Bar Ten Ranch 4-Day Grand Canyon Tour adds a night on the rim before rafting for 3 days in the lower canyon. The 4 Day Expedition includes all the river trip of the 3-day, but pause for a night at the Bar Ten Ranch after your scenic air tour over Lake Mead and the Western end of the Grand Canyon. Enjoy horseback rides, skeet shooting, local beef BBQ dinner, an optional ATV ride, an evening of cowboy entertainment (best in the west - or at least for 80 miles around, a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon, and a speedy jetboat ride out! Yeehaw!
6-7 Days is the ultimate Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation through the upper two-thirds of the Grand Canyon
Western's upper Grand Canyon 6-7 Day Expedition is, in our opinion, the ultimate Grand Canyon rafting vacation. It traverses the most iconic - or well known - section of the Grand Canyon, which includes popular features like Redwall Cavern, the Little Colorado, Crystal, Hermit, Granite rapids, Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, and Matkatimiba and Havasu Canyons. At the end of this trip, a helicopter takes you up and out of the canyon at mile 188 to the Bar Ten Ranch airstrip for return to Las Vegas or Marble Canyon, AZ.
Western River's Upper Grand Canyon rafting trips comprise the first two-thirds of the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry to the helicopter pad at Whitmore Wash - a total of 188 miles of river. The Lower Grand Canyon rafting trips travel through the final third of the Grand Canyon from the helicopter pad to Lake Mead - a total of 100 miles of river.
Some Grand Canyon rafting outfitters split their "upper" and "lower" trips at Phantom Ranch (mile 88) where their guests hike out and new guests hike into the canyon.
The minimum age requirement for the upper section of the Grand Canyon (Lee's Ferry to Whitmore Wash) is 12 years. The lower canyon (Whitmore Wash to Lake Mead) has less intense rapids and has a minimum age of 9 years.
The peak season runs from April to September. Be sure to brace yourself for higher temperatures during July or August.
APRIL - April is best for witnessing the desert in brilliant cactus blooms. Rain and cooler temps are possible but are generally diminished by the end of March. Expect verdant green canyon slopes rather than the dry yellow which appears as early as June. Expect generally clear skies and clear streams.
MAY - Cactus blooms linger as temperatures rise. Generally clear skies and clear streams.
JUNE - Vegetation dries, wildflowers hide, and temperatures rise in June. Days get longer, but that doesn't necessarily equate to more hikes during the days, rather just more sunlight during camp hours.
JULY - Summer days in the Grand Canyon get HOT in July, making a nice splash in rapids or a sidestream dip all the more enjoyable.
AUGUST - Temperatures linger in the ranges of hot and produce increased cumulous shade clouds and occasional thunderstorms in the canyon. Thunderstorms in the canyon are always awesome in both sight and sound. You'll never forget the sound of thunder in the Grand Canyon!
SEPTEMBER - Sunlight shifts and shadows make the canyon more pronounced than the direct sunlight of summer.
There are only a few ways into or out of the Grand Canyon—and a 7-minute Papillon helicopter ride at Whitmore Wash is one of the easiest. It's also a very memorable and thrilling way to begin or end a Grand Canyon rafting trip!
The helicopter pad at Whitmore Wash (mile 188) is positioned just within the Hualapai Tribal lands, and right at the river's edge. Guests from the upper two-thirds of the canyon fly out to Bar Ten Ranch while new guests fly in to begin a 3-day rafting trip in the remaining lower third of the Grand Canyon toward Lake Mead. In the early 1980's Western River Expeditions partnered with the Hualapai Tribe and the Bar Ten Ranch to make this the ideal exchange for guests flying into, or out of, their Grand Canyon rafting trip.
The upper two-thirds of the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry to just below Lava Falls contains class III-V rapids. Rapids in the lower third of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon are much milder (class II-III). If you are concerned about the level of adventure involved in Grand Canyon rafting you will be interested to learn more about the design of Western's exclusive J-Rig raft.
Your packing list, provided by Western River Expeditions has been carefully compiled over so many decades of running these Grand Canyon rafting trips. Some will say the list was "spot-on", while others may say they "never used this item or that". Often the difference comes down to what the weather did that week in the canyon. There is no underestimating the value in being prepared, with the right gear. That said, there is a balance in how much your one duffle bag can carry - and whether you can carry that duffle bag up the beach or not! Each trip has a packing list specific to it, so once you pick a trip, you'll know what to pack!
It's pretty easy to be a happy camper when your outfitter and guides provide top-of-the-line camping equipment like tents, cots, meals, and river dry bags. We will also provide instructions on how to set up your campsite to make sure you not only have proper accommodations but also the opportunity to truly bask in the scenery of the Grand Canyon.
Rafting trips include plenty of hiking in the Grand Canyon that allows access to waterfalls, slot canyons, native ruins, and geologic wonders that casual hikers from the rim will simply never see. The amount of hiking varies by the number of days and the trip guide. Some rafting outfitters that exchange guests at Phantom Ranch have their guests hike 7 miles or more to/from the rim a mile above to begin/end their rafting trip.
Nearly 5 million tourists visit the rim of the Grand Canyon each summer to bask in the majesty of this viewpoint. It's a part of the iconic American road trip. With opportunities to go white water rafting on the Colorado River or take a hike through this incredible landscape of geology, it is truly a sight to behold for all ages.
For 3-4 days in the various sections of the Grand Canyon, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,800 to $2,200. In the upper sections of the Grand Canyon, you can expect to pay between $3,400 and $4,200 for 6-7 days. Western River Expeditions trips through the Grand Canyon are on motorized J-Rig rafts. Some companies offer non-motor (oar-powered) trips that can take as long as 21 days with costs over $5,000.
All Grand Canyon rafting trips last for days and even weeks, depending on the mode of travel. There are no 1-day rafting trips in the Grand Canyon. Available access points in or out of the canyon prohibit 1-day rafting trips in the Grand Canyon.
Our upper 6-7 day and our lower 3-4 day trips are among the most popular among Grand Canyon rafting trips offered. We encourage you to come join us on the river!
Request your complimentary Expedition Guide download for any rafting adventure. These comprehensive PDF guides include river maps, overview, full itineraries, camping and weather information, details on physical requirements, packing lists and more.