13-14 Day Full Grand Canyon River Rafting

About This Trip

The Grand Canyon reserves its greatest rewards for those who take the time to experience the full river trip. From the spectacular hikes, hidden side-canyons, and grandiose vistas of the upper- canyon to the roaring lion of muddy white-water echoing off the ancient schist walls of the lower-canyon, the Grand Canyon has it all.   Some days will be spent mostly on the boats as we run the river’s booming rapids. Other days we will take extended side hikes or perhaps short excursions to ancient Native American ruins, hidden canyons or gushing springs. Eventually the lower gorge closes around us as we take the final plunge through rapids to the head of Lake Mead at Separation Canyon 240 miles and 100+ rapids from our starting point.
We typically offer 13-14 day river trips and on special occasions 15 day extended trips. You can choose between being a passenger or a participant on these whitewater river trips with both Oar Raft and Paddle Boat trips offered. Reservations should be made well in advance as demand for this world-class adventure is high. Grand Canyon trips are run by Holiday River Expeditions’ affiliates who are authorized Grand Canyon concessionaires.

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This Colorado River trip leaves Lees Ferry and floats into Marble Canyon named in 1869 by its first explorer, Major John Wesley Powell. It’s polished limestone, layered with bands of sandstones and siltstones rises dramatically above the river with each mile passed, soaring thousands of feet to the rim. This same seemingly impervious limestone has allowed the river to scoop out the huge expanse of Red Wall Cavern at the river’s edge, one of the many attractions in this stretch.

Underground springs gush from the fern-covered rock at Vasey’s Paradise and side streams carve bowl-like pools at Silver Grotto, Saddle, and North Canyons. Nautilus fossils are readily viewed in the streambed of Nautiloid Canyon and ancient Anasazi granaries await the hiker high above the river at Nankoweap. Prehistoric Native American sites are spread throughout the Canyon and this section features many of the larger sites found along the river.

The sequence of rapids through this 88-mile float couldn’t be better orchestrated. Beginning with the medium sized Badger, House Rock and Unkar rapids, the crescendo begins with Nevills rapid then builds quickly with Hance (the longest) and Sockdolager. Amplified by the imposing walls of the Upper Granite Gorge the grand finale hits its high notes at Grapevine and Zoroaster rapids, and the last few miles finish with a quiet serenade.

The second half of this trip is marked by a whirlwind of rapids on this section beginning in the heart of the ancient rock of the Upper Granite Gorge. You will plunge through the mountainous waves of Horn Creek, Granite, and Hermit rapids, leaving the infamous Crystal rapid and the rest of “The Gems” follow the next morning with Deubendorff, Upset and Lava Falls awaiting us in the days to come.

The lower canyon also holds many hidden treasure hiking opportunities. The Canyon is criss-crossed with hundreds of side canyons, each with its own personality and attraction. While it would be obviously impossible to explore each and every one, even in a lifetime, we make the most of our time to visit some of the most outstanding little corners on earth. Typical stops include the fern covered intimacy of Elves Chasm, hiking above Deer Creek Falls, and winding our way up Matkatamiba. Conditions permitting, we will swim in the turquoise pools of Havasu Creek and hike the talus to where Thunder River gushes out of a rock wall, several miles and a thousand feet above the Colorado River. Check the Photo Gallery for a sample of what these places hold.

Downstream, basalt outcrops alert us to our proximity to Lava Falls and soon we hear its thunder reverberating from the canyon walls. Passage here always demands a good long look before dropping into one of the biggest of the “Big Ones”. Below Lava Falls the river takes a breather and opens up to big skies and further vistas, but this is only temporary as some miles below the walls close in one last time as we descend into the Lower Granite Gorge. As the first explorers learned, to their dismay, the sheer walls of resilient bedrock create large rapids and we get a great last set of rapids framed by highly polished walls.

Our last night’s camp lies deep in the Lower Gorge where the river meets the upper reaches of Lake Mead. On our last morning a large jet-boat takes us safely and swiftly through the rest of the Canyon, past the Grand Wash Cliffs where the Canyon comes to a dramatic end on Lake Mead. At that point an air-conditioned motor coach provides transportation to the Las Vegas area.

We meet for your trip: The night before your trip at the Marble Canyon Lodge where Outdoors Unlimited, (Holiday’s affiliate in the Grand Canyon) will give you an orientation. Overnight accommodations are recommended at Marble Canyon Lodge and can be arranged by Outdoors Unlimited. It is a quiet place just five miles from Lees Ferry and only a short walk to the canyon rim and the awesome overlook at Navajo Bridges. The next day, the adventure begins bright and early at the historic Lees Ferry.

After the trip:  A jet-boat will meet the trip at Separation canyon and shuttle you across the flat water of Lake Mead to an awaiting motorcoach for transportation to McCarran Airport and Las Vegas hotels.

Medical emergencies:  Outdoor Unlimited guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT your guides to any medical problem you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.

Cancellation Policy: A cancellation fee will be charged in the event that you need to cancel your Grand Canyon Rafting trip for any reason. You may consider purchasing travel insurance which, in most cases, will recover costs or fees due to cancellation. Cancellation fees are as follows:

  1. Up to 120 days prior to your trip starting date there is a non-refundable $350/person cancellation fee.
  2. Within 120 days of your trip there is NO refund unless Outdoors Unlimited can resell the cancelled spaces. If space is refilled, then all monies will be returned less a 30% cancellation fee.

Outdoors Unlimited reserves the right to cancel any trip due to inclement weather or water conditions, insufficient reservations or other factors beyond our control. A full refund will be made immediately if they cannot provide an alternate trip that is satisfactory to you.

Insurance: Medical Evacuation and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. You should be aware that medical evacuations in the backcountry can easily cost $10,000 and up.  You are responsible for these potential expenses and we strongly encourage all guests to have this coverage. We offer plans by TRAVEL GUARD that cover evacuation, baggage and cancellation claims. It is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. For a quote or questions give us a call or include Your Names, Birth Dates in an Email and we will send a quote.  Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.

Trip Size:  To ensure the quality of your experience and to protect Grand Canyon resources  the National Park Service regulates the total yearly usage in the canyon including group size. Paddle trips have a maximum of 24 passengers, high season trips a maximum of 21, and spring and fall trips a maximum of 18-19.

Tipping the guides: Tipping is optional and a personal decision on your part. If you feel that your guide’s contribution to your trip was outstanding a tip of not more than 10% of your river trip fare would be adequate to show your appreciation.

Beverages: Outdoors Unlimited cannot provide alcoholic beverages, however, they are allowed to bring your beer and wine for you. With your reservation packet you will receive an order form for a selection of beer and wine available through a local retailer. Once you place your order it is delivered, packed for your trip, and made available to you on the trip. Drinking alcoholic beverages prior to making camp in the evening is discouraged.  On the river there will always be fresh drinking water available, as well as powdered drink mixes (such as Gatorade) to flavor and otherwise enhance your drinking water. Water is the preferred choice when it comes to maintaining proper hydration and in such a dry environment your health and happiness depend on it. For those of you who do not wish to order beer or wine an equal amount of soda of different varieties will be on hand as well.

Grand Canyon weather: Temperatures in the Grand Canyon range from lows of around 60 degrees to highs around 100 degrees in May and September. It is warmer in June, July and August, with temperatures ranging between 75 degrees and 115 degrees. Humidity is very low and the sun is very intense. The rainy season usually begins around the middle of July and lasts 4-6 weeks. Afternoon temperatures are generally lower at this time and rain showers can materialize suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. It is best to prepare with good rain gear no matter what time of year you visit as the water temperature of the river is about 48-50 degrees at Lee’s Ferry and only slowly warms as it flows through the Canyon. Fleece or other insulating layers (not made of cotton!) are strongly recommended for trips in April, early May and September. In June, July, and August mid-weight polypropylene should be all you need.

Bugs, snakes, etc: The Grand Canyon is a very user friendly place to go camping. Snakes are rarely seen and generally stay away from campsites and other places frequented by people. Insects are seldom bothersome and those that are common are easy to avoid. Insect repellent is very rarely necessary, though it is listed as an optional item to bring. However, anyone who knows that they are very allergic to certain types of insect stings or bites should definitely bring any medications that they have for just such a situation.

Hiking:  Hikes are always optional and they vary in difficulty from a simple walk to occasional short vertical climbs to the more ambitious treks. Most guests are capable of handling all the hikes, but on the longer, more strenuous ones, pre-conditioning will pay off.

Fishing: Among trout fishing circles it is widely known that some very good fishing is to be had in the Colorado River! The river has been stocked by Arizona Game and Fish and the fishery is thriving. Fishing is best between Lee’s Ferry and the confluence with the Little Colorado River, 60 miles downstream. You will need an Arizona Fishing License which can be purchased at Marble Canyon Lodge or at Phantom Ranch. During the rainy season fishing is not as dependable. If fishing is a passion you should avoid late July and August.

Things to see in the area:  Taking a few extra days on the front-end of your trip is well worth some of the great hiking opportunities around the Lee’s Ferry area. There’s all kinds of great hiking in the Cockscomb area of highway 89, the famous “Wave” hike, Buckskin Gulch, the Spencer trail directly above Lee’s ferry (if it’s not too hot).

Outside of the immediate vicinity you can also check out The town of Old Paria, or Antelope Canyon outside of Page, AZ. There  The is also a myriad of National Parks north towards Kanab.  If you’re into Damns, you can check out both Glen Canyon Dam on the front end or Hoover dam on the back end of your trip.

Reading material, you may enjoy:

Exploration of the Colorado River – Powell ………………………………………… $12.95
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian – Stegner…………………………………………..NA
The Monkey Wrench Gang – Abbey …………………………………………………… NA
The Emerald Mile – Fedarko………………………………………………………………..NA

Children’s Books:

Downriver – Hobbs…………………………………………………….NA

If you are flying into the area:

  • Choose from any of the listed airline carriers and book round-trip tickets to and from the Las Vegas Airport (LAS).  Plan to arrive no later than 8:00AM on the day before your trip.  Your return flight should be scheduled no earlier than 5:00PM on the day your trip ends.
  • Charter flight from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon via Grand Canyon Airlines
  • Overnight accommodations at Marble Canyon Lodge, (included in trip cost at $40), which includes van transportation to Lees Ferry on the morning of your trip
  • Motorcoach transportation from Pearce Ferry to Las Vegas, (included in trip cost at $50)

If you are driving to the area:

  • Overnight accommodations at Marble Canyon Lodge
  • Shuttle Service delivers your vehicle from Marble Canyon to Pearce Ferry.

Major Air Service into Las Vegas Airport (LAS):

Charter / Scheduled Flights:

Vehicle Shuttle Services:

Alternative Transportation:

Trip Overview

Location: Colorado River – Grand Canyon National Park
Type: Rafting
Length: 13,14,15 Days
Dates: May – September
Meet At: Marble Canyon Lodge
Rating: Advanced
Age Min: 16
Deposit: $900

Trip Prices

13 to 15 days from $3595 – $3985

Departure Dates

May through September

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