choosing grand canyon rafting trip

How to Choose Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

So here you are, finally planning your highly-anticipated Grand Canyon Rafting trip. But now that you think about it, this is the first time that you are arranging a trip for you and your friends. Where do you begin? In this guide, we will give you useful tips on how to make your rafting trip at the Grand Canyon a memorable one.

Which part of the Grand Canyon do you prefer?

There are more than 15 companies that operate rafting trips at the Grand Canyon. Some companies offer exclusive rafting packages only, while some are inclusive of lodging and transportation, too. The majority of tour companies also operate in some regions of the Grand Canyon River, while some offer rafting trips in various portions of this epic destination.

Unless you have three weeks to spare to traverse the entire length of the river at the Grand Canyon, you need to decide on which parts you are most interested in exploring. You will be choosing from the lower canyon, upper canyon, western canyon, and Marble Canyon. Choose a company that can offer you a package that features all of your top destinations. The Colorado River runs all the way through the grand canyon, but it does start quite a bit north of the national park. Considering exploring white water rafting near Colorado Springs if the grand canyon is too far south for you.

What type of boat do you want to use?

Different types of boats are allowed to raft along the Grand Canyon. Your options include motorized rafts, oar rafts, paddle rafts, and dories. If you are going as a group, you need to ask the other members about their preferences as well. During the selection process, you need to bear in mind your physical capabilities and those of other group members, too. The boat type selection will depend on the length of your vacation, also. So, make sure to have these all covered before finally deciding on the boat type.


One crucial factor to consider when choosing a boat for  rafting trip is comfort. Bear in mind that you will be spending up to 6 hours per day sitting on a boat; hence seating will make a significant impact on your overall experience. When researching, check out the pictures of the boats and assess the level of comfort based not only on features but from reviews of past customers, too.

How many days are you planning to spend at the Grand Canyon?

Your trip length will be a deciding factor when choosing Grand Canyon rafting tours. It is practical to choose a motorized boat trip if you intend to raft for 3 to 8 days. If you and your other group members want an oar or paddle rafting trips, you must be aware that such boat types are ideal if you are planning a trip between 6 to 18 days.

Be clear on the number of nights you are staying on the river. Typically tour companies start the count of days the night before you set out rafting, so some offer a 7 NIGHT trip while others, a 7 DAY trip. In this example, rafting trips will include six nights on the river, with the difference in transportation and lodging on the day before the start of the rafting trip. You may book accommodation the night before separately, or you can ask your rafting tour company to refer you to their trusted lodging partners.

When planning a rafting trip for a large group, make sure to coordinate early and decide on the exact dates for your trip. This will also help you in choosing a rafting trip that can accommodate the exact number of people in your group.

Where will your group be picked up and dropped off?

Pre- and post-logistics are very important when planning a Grand Canyon rafting trip. Different outfitters have different pre-determined pick-up and drop-off points for their clients. The transportation services may be included in your rafting trip package or may be billed separately. Ask as many questions as possible to fully understand the inclusions or additional costs if you decide on extending your trip, so you don’t end up spending more than your actual budget.

What other trip-associated costs do you need to set aside money for?

Review all costs that you need to pay for your trip, from transportation, lodging to camping gear and essentials. If you have some quality rafting and outfitters equipment, bring them along with you so that you can reduce your spending.

choosing grand canyon rafting trip

If your rafting tour package does not include the tents or sleeping bag, it may be smart and practical to bring your own. Camping equipment for rent is expensive, so bringing your own will save you a lot of money. Do not forget the environment while camping at the Grand Canyon.

What are the cancellation policies of your chosen outfitter?

Nobody wants to book a rafting trip with a high chance of uncertainty or cancelling the tour at the last minute. But the unfortunate fact is, emergencies happen, and funny enough, some of them happen before a much-awaited trip or activity. To avoid wasting your money or for extra assurance, check out the cancellation policy of your trip. Read about the refund policies in case you or other members of the group need to cancel their participation, too.

Different outfitters have different cancellation policies, so make sure to read up on them before finalizing your boating trip at the Grand Canyon.

Salman Zafar
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