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Seven Surprises of a Grand Canyon Trip

Seven is a good number. The Grand Canyon is one of seven wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon was a surprise to Conquistadors en-route to the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. We’re sure there are more than seven surprises you’ll find on a 6 or 7 Day Grand Canyon Rafting trip. Six or seven is the number of days you can be in the upper-portion of the canyon on one of the most memorable vacations you’ll ever find.

Read on, then tell us if you were surprised when you book your trip!

1. The “Cadillac of the Colorado”

Would you be surprised to learn that Western’s J-Rig is the ONLY large capacity raft on the Colorado River that actually has seats that face forward? While that’s surprising, add that you can choose from 9 “gusto” seats up front, or buckin’ bronc seats on the row behind. It’s like stadium seating for the ride of your life folks! Want to stretch the legs between whitewater? No problem! On a J-Rig you can actually stand up and walk around – another benefit to J-Rig riders.

” …Running the white water rapids on the J-Rig was flat out the most fun we have had on this planet!” Joe – Calgary, Canada

Grand Canyon Upper Jrig Rapids

2. Spectacular Side Hikes

You may not be surprised to learn that the Grand Canyon, a singular paradise in itself, is beautiful. But witness thundering waterfalls at the river’s edge, jump into dripping grottoes, or stalk through narrow canyons with no sounds at all and you’ll be surprised at how surprised you’ll be. The Grand Canyon is home to dozens of little paradises, the memories of which will haunt you the rest of your life. That’s a good thing. You’ll thank us later for guiding you to them.

“On most trips you remember one event. On this trip around every corner there was a new spectacular view of the Grand Canyon walls. Just when you thought you had seen it all the Colorado River would turn, and around the bend was another scenic view in a different light that was just fantastic. Someday I will be back!!!” Joe – Boston

Grand Canyon Upper Elves

3. Uniquely Easy to Relax

Rivers (and rapids) have a surprising way of focusing the mind, but throw in the words “all-inclusive” and the bliss runs even deeper. River life is remarkably straightforward. You don’t have to corral your group into which activity to do next, what logistics you’ll need to get there, or stress about feeding times. Seriously, show up with a duffle bag of clothes and we’ll take care of the rest! …actually you take the rest and relaxation, the guides will keep serving up more.

“My wife was a little hesitant to take this Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip, in that she is not an outdoors person. By the end of the [4-day] rafting trip she was ready to sign up for the Grand Canyon 7 day trip and looking for bigger rapids.

Charles – Texas

Grand Canyon Upper Happycampers

4. Gourmet Food

Food to make critics from France wonder what’s in the sauce prepared by American river guides and served in ovens invented by the Dutch! Our restauranteering scores even topped the charts so high that the Coconino County, AZ food and health department thought we were an actual restaurant! Can food really ever be described adequately? Trust us, you’ll be surprised.

“The scenery and boat ride on this Colorado River experience alone were worth the trip, but also the quality of the prepared food and its presentation was even more surprising! Our Western River guides were responsive to every need. This Grand Canyon vacation was a life experience that should not be missed.” Royce – Oregon

Grand Canyon Lower Food Newty

5. History Bluffs

Steeped in cultural and natural history, the Grand Canyon will pry open your curiosity, whisper to your soul, and leave you breathless. Okay, the breathless part may only be from the hikes to ancient ruins or stunning vistas. We don’t know how it works, we just know it happens on every trip. You won’t go back home the same as when you arrived – and you’ll be surprised how hard it is to share the feeling when you get back home with friends.

“Our Western River guides Wylie, Scotty, Joe and Lindsay were phenomenal. Their knowledge of the Grand Canyon was tremendous, as was their respect for it; Respect and reverence that they passed onto us. Each successive day was better than the last. The side hikes in the Grand Canyon to see waterfalls and artifacts are great. The ‘concert’ in the canyon was a once in a lifetime experience.” Melanie – Toronto

Grand Canyon Upper Nankoweap Granaries

6. Get Unplugged

Surprise! The only bars you’ll see in the Grand Canyon are either sand or chocolate. The setting and pace of a rafting trip provide for humans being, instead of humans texting. The new friendships you make, and the bond you share from the experiences on the river will surprise you. Not many vacations remain in the world where you can share a singular experience, while you slide around the corner, off the grid.

“Our group bonded like family and weeks after our trip we are still keeping in contact. …This trip truly changed my life. What matters most in life are the people you surround yourself with, good food, and enough toilet paper! We hope to see our guides on the river next year.” Molly & Roger – California

Grand Canyon Upper Havasu Ruby Pools

7. Rocks, Stars

Unsettling might best describe the vivid depth of the heavens from within the depths of the earth. Black canyon walls rise, then gape open to reveal a star-studded crack of sky, with a dusting of Milky Way. Surprising describes the difficulty of going back to sleeping in a cubed container called home. You’ve found a new home now, amongst river and rock and sky.

” One lady [in our group] was not at all enthused about going whitewater rafting and camping, but was prodded to go by her husband. Her idea of camping was a 3-star hotel. On the morning of the last day in the Grand Canyon, I saw her looking up at the canyon walls. I knew it was the best testament to the magnificence of the trip when I saw her mouth the word, ‘Wow’!” Donald – Kansas

Grand Canyon Upper Nankoweap Stars


I always told my friends they’d be changed after doing a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, and those who dared try it were surprised to find out just how right I was. Meanwhile all of us who did the trip were surprised when the others said they weren’t coming. But I guess they enjoyed their week of sitting at home and not being surprised, or changed? Question now is… Are YOU ready to be surprised by the Grand Canyon?

Book Your Grand Canyon Trip Now

Kam Wixom
Kam began guiding in the Grand Canyon in 1991, met & guided with his wife in 2000, and is the proud daddy of 5 kids. He now works as the Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions.