Upper Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Rafting the Upper Grand Canyon is an amazing experience in a wondrous place full of legendary landmarks. These landmarks include: Vasey’s Paradise, The Little Colorado, and Redwall Cavern to name a few. While the most infamous whitewater is found in the lower canyon, the Upper still holds some major rapids such as Nevill’s and Hance. Starting at Lees Ferry the Canyon opens to us as we begin the float into its vast interior. It starts as a narrow, sheer-sided chasm, winding through the uplifted Kaibab Plateau. The first 61 miles of Marble Canyon is the most photographed, perhaps the most scenic portion of the Grand Canyon. The rim moves away from view as the Canyon broadens to its full expanse of 13 miles. Then we enter the foreboding inner gorge with its exquisite polished granite. This gem of the Colorado is indeed one of the most scenic places on earth.

The Upper Canyon whitewater rafting trips involve a 9-mile hike out of the canyon from the Colorado River to the South Rim and are only recommended for those in good physical condition. 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 Expedition’s affiliates who are authorized Grand Canyon concessionaires.

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Colorado River - Grand Canyon National Park

  • Length:

    5-7 Days Upper

  • Dates:

    May - September

  • Meet at:

    Marble Canyon Lodge @ 8:00 am

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:


Getting Here Before You Go Packing List

Rates & Dates

5-7 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,885 - $2,480
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,885 - $2,480
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,885 - $2,480
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,885 - $2,480
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • May - September


We meet for your trip: The night before you’ll go to the Marble Canyon Lodge at 8:00 pm for orientation by Outdoors Unlimited, our affiliate in the Grand Canyon.

Overnight accommodations are recommended at Marble Canyon Lodge and can be arranged by Outdoors Unlimited. It’s 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. Bright and early the next day, your Upper Grand Canyon whitewater rafting adventure begins… at the historic Lees Ferry.

Typical Itinerary

Our 5, 6, and 7-day white water rafting trip of the upper Grand Canyon covers 88 miles of river from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch (Pipe Creek Beach) and the ascent to the South Rim.

The night before the trip begins we meet you at 8:00 pm for the orientation meeting at Marble Canyon Lodge. As mentioned before, overnight accommodations are recommended and can be arranged by you through Outdoors Unlimited.

The next morning, we’ll meet back at Marble Canyon Lodge at 8:00 am. The trip leaves Lees Ferry and floats into Marble Canyon. The canyon was 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 (Canyon Scale!) 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.

After the trip:

The trip will culminate in a 9 mile hike out of the canyon from Pipe Creek Beach to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You can spend the night at the South Rim and either Fly or Bus back to Las Vegas.


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 4 reviews
by Debbie Craig Nicholson on Holiday River Expeditions

I really liked each of the guides. They were very different and each had his/her strengths and distinct personality. The blend truly added to the experience. Thank you again. What a great family trip that my 22 yr old son and my 14 yr old son loved. Rapids were fun, but not gnarly-scary. Loved the optional hikes to petroglyphs, ruins and how much our guides knew about the canyon. We all loved the Little Colorado day. Overall, there was spectacular scenery and we had a fabulous trip.

by Rob Wood on Holiday River Expeditions

Our six day trip through the upper section of the Colorado River far exceeded my expectations. It was epic, and I don't use that word lightly. Truly an unforgettable experience, and the guides and support crew were a huge part of that. Places like the Little Colorado were such an unexpected oasis, what a dream that day was. The guides were so knowledgeable about the history of the area as well, and even read some poetry. I was impressed by the passion the guides all had for the place, even after so many years of guiding that river. It speaks to the experience and the company, certainly. I can't wait to come back and do the lower section in a few years. Phenomenal

by Katherine Browne on Holiday River Expeditions

The last time I had been on a raft, I was a giggly 16 year old. Fast forward 23 years, and I was heading out on the Grand Canyon. I pretended not to be nervous, but I was! As the hours turned to days, and I learned what river time meant, I have never been so relaxed in my life. Your guides took complete care of me both physically with delicious food, and psychologically with calming words of encouragement and expert boat handling skills. Soon, I was wahooing my way through the big rapids of the Grand. Is my life changed? I'll say so. Thank you!

by S. Smoot, UT on Holiday River Expeditions

The quality of these trips are something to be admired. You see beautiful sites, get helpful and informative facts, guides take extra precautions to keep you safe, and in the end, the only possible downside is if the weather will cooperate. Seriously, these trips are awesome and we tell our family and friends all about them!