Trip Details
Trip Length7-days

Contact us for dates

Meeting placeLas Vegas or Flagstaff
Gateway CityLas Vegas
River RatingClass IV+
Minimum Age12
Age Range12-80

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Trip Details

Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch: Itinerary at a Glance

  • Guests will drive to Marble Canyon from Las Vegas with Vision Air, or drive to our meeting point
  • Overnight July 29 at Marble Canyon Lodge
  • Breakfast at the lodge then shuttle to our put-in point at Lees Ferry to meet your guides and get an orientation to safe rafting practices
  • We enter Marble Canyon and within the first few miles of the trip we see the first signs of the fascinating geology of the canyon as the Kaibab and Toroweap formations make their appearance, followed by Coconino Sandstone
  • Raft Badger and Soap Creek rapids before stopping to camp at a sandy beach
  • The first signs of Esplanade Sandstone appear in the canyon walls followed by the Wescogame, Manakacha and Watahomigi formations as we negotiate a series of 8 medium intensity rapids
  • As we float deeper into the canyon past Vaseya

Phantom Ranch to Diamond Creek: Itinerary at a Glance

  • Beginning at the South Rim, the Bright Angel Trail twists and turns over nine miles to the banks of the Colorado River where you meet your guides
  • Almost immediately we reach some of the biggest whitewater in the canyon: Horn Creek, Granite and Hermit rapids
  • On one of the biggest whitewater days in the canyon, on a stretch of river known as the "Jewels", we encounter Crystal, Sapphire, Turquoise and Ruby rapids
  • Enjoy a hike to the green haven of clear pools, lush moss and ferns at Elves Chasm
  • View an excellent example of the geological phenomenon, the Great Unconformity, at Blacktail Canyon
  • Enter the Granite Narrows, the canyon's narrowest point and visit Deer Creek Falls for a refreshing dip in the clear pool beneath the falls
  • Hike the limestone chutes of Matkatamiba and the travertine pools and waterfalls of Havasu Canyon
  • We run the notorious Lava Falls as we descend into the Lower Granite Gorge
  • Hike side canyons and explore exquisite desert wonderland and geological oddities
  • Nearing the end of our journey into the depths of the Grand Canyon, we raft the notorious Lava Falls
  • We take out at Diamond Creek and board our van for the shuttle ride back to Flagstaff

Grand Canyon River Rafting


Facts to Help You Compare

The Grand Canyon is one of our most popular destinations in North America. Guests have a choice of traveling by dory or raft expedition, ranging from the shortest trip of five days to our full canyon trip of 18 days.

Raft or Dory?
Both vessels hold four passengers and a guide who rows with a long pair of oars. They each provide an exciting adventure, with the major difference being in how they ride in large whitewater. Because rafts are inflatable, they ride on top of the water and they have a certain amount of give to them. Therefore when a large wave hits them, they tend to flex a little and roll over the rapids. The dories are sleek, elegant boats made of fiberglass, wood and foam. Passengers sit in a cut out cushioned seat in the dory. Being a hard-hulled boat it obviously has no give, so when a large wave hits it the dory is lifted. This provides a more pronounced, up-and-down ride through the whitewater. Another difference is the amount of time spent in the Canyon. The dories take a more leisurely pace through the Canyon, giving more time for side canyon exploration. Our dory trips generally run 1-2 days longer than our raft trips.

Side Canyon Hikes
Each day varies, but on an average you'll spend 3-5 hours per day on the boats, with the rest of the time hiking and exploring side canyons, eating, or just relaxing in camp. The easiest hikes are no more difficult than negotiating a few yards of beach sand or stepping over a few rocks. Others may go for several miles over a rough trail, climb steeply up a hot hillside, require the use of both hands over awkward boulders and demand caution as you totter on a narrow trail above a steep cliff. Our guides are happy to help novices with hand and footholds and reassurance. Many times their helpfulness enables the timid and inexperienced to get to special places that many other groups pass by. All hikes are optional. The side hikes take you into the true heart of the canyon that can only be reached by hiking from the river and shouldn't be missed.

Whitewater Classifications
The whitewater varies in intensity from mild to wild. Whitewater in the Canyon is rated on a scale of 1-10 (unlike most western rivers, which use the I-VI scale). A "1" is flat water and a "10" is the most difficult rapid still considered runnable.

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail

For Those Leaving the Upper Trip

One of the most popular and beautiful hikes in the American southwest, the Bright Angel Trail extends from South Rim Village of Grand Canyon National Park to Phantom Ranch. As the trail descends 5000 feet to the river it passes through climate zones starting from the Ponderosa forests on the rim, through the Pinon-Juniper scrub, to the Sonoran Desert below. Each turn of the trail affords stunning vistas and numerous photo opportunities.

The route is approximately eight miles long. At the mid-point lies the oasis of Indian Gardens where Garden Creek babbles below overhanging cottonwood trees. Below Indian Gardens the trail follows Garden Creek for a short distance before cutting through the layers that comprise some of the oldest exposed rock on earth.

If you are hiking out of the Canyon (Upper Trip), you will have finished the river portion of your adventure the morning the rafts reach Pipe Creek about a mile below Phantom Ranch. Your guides will provide a lunch spread from which you will prepare a pack lunch for the trail. Accompanied by an escort, here is where you start your journey back through geologic time, ascending first through the ancient bedrock up through the progressively younger layers that you were introduced to on the river. You should plan to spend the night at the South Rim where you can find a bed, hot shower and one last sunset view from the rim!

Note: Hiking either in or out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail can be quite strenuous and this should be taken into consideration before booking this adventure

As a service to you, We provide each person with Sleep Kit free of charge. Your kit consists of: a lightweight sleeping bag, a full-length pad, ground cloth, cloth sleeping bag liner, waterproof river bags, utensils, plate and a cup.

Mule Services

Mules to carry your pack into or out of Phantom Ranch can be arranged by contacting Grand Canyon National Park Lodges and costs approximately $65. For those wanting out-bound pack mules plan an extra day at the Phantom Ranch or the South Rim since packs won't be available for pickup until the afternoon of the next day. It has been our experience riding mules can be reserved a year in advance of your trip. They must be reserved in strings of five and are quite expensive. Check out Grand Canyon Lodges for details.

Overnight at Phantom Ranch
For those using pack mules (or if you just want to spend an extra day) you might want to stay at Phantom Ranch and hike up in the morning. These accommodations are fairly inexpensive but difficult to get due to high demand. Contact Grand Canyon National Park Lodges (888) 297-2757 or FAX (888) 297-3175.

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