double clickGrand Canyon Rafting Trips

Western's ​COVID-19 Mitigation & Operations Plan is in effect.

See what to expect here.

Epic Expeditions
In the Grandest Canyon on Earth
Rafting in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Rafting

Trips Feature:
  • Departures from Las Vegas
  • Three to seven-day options
  • Moderate to World-Class rapids
  • Patented J-Rig Raft
  • Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Endless in scenic wonder, rich in Native American history and loaded with fun and adventure, Western River Expeditions' Grand Canyon rafting tours are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Exploring the Grand Canyon by river is an experience unlike any other. Discover hidden waterfalls and paradisiacal side canyons - areas of Grand Canyon National Park that are accessible only by river. Listen to the sound of the mighty Colorado River as you lie down under a blanket of innumerable stars each night of your Grand Canyon rafting vacation. Watch the morning sun cast its warm glow through towering canyon walls. Discover the rush of excitement from legendary Colorado River whitewater.

Choose your Grand Canyon rafting trip:

The Best Way to Experience Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon. There is something truly special and magical about this place. Six million people a year look down at it from the rim, but only a fraction of that get to come down on the river and find the little hidden gems that you would never see from the top. It's a big, big place, but on the river, you get the chance to feel how small and intimate every moment is. From the bottom, you get to see all the amazing waterfalls, and side canyons and hidden oases and hikes, and history that really makes the Grand Canyon... Grand.

Western River page divider

Grand Canyon Rafting Expeditions

Grand Canyon
3 Day Expedition

Grand Canyon 3 Day Expedition

Experience 3 days rafting Grand Canyon in the lower 100 miles of the canyon. Moderate, but still exciting white water on this stretch of Grand Canyon makes this trip a perfect introduction to rafting and camping without sacrificing any Grand Canyon grandeur.

From $1600 per person

Grand Canyon
4 Day Expedition

Grand Canyon 4 Day Expedition

Combine your 3-day Grand Canyon vacation with one day and night at a working cattle ranch perched high on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Not only will you raft the grandest canyon in the world, but you'll also enjoy horseback riding, Western entertainment and much more.

From $1925 per person

Grand Canyon
6 Day Expedition

Grand Canyon 6 Day Expedition

On this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, experience astounding views of hidden waterfalls, ancient Indian ruins, lush hanging gardens, and magnificent overlooks. Raft the best whitewater on the Colorado River and savor calm moments on the river to reflect and renew.

From $3065 per person

Grand Canyon
7 Day Expedition

Grand Canyon 7 Day Expedition

Raft the same 188 mile stretch of the Colorado River as the 6-Day Grand Canyon Expedition, but enjoy a little more time at riverside attractions including waterfalls, slot canyons, ancient ruins, and perhaps have time for a few more stops than the 6-Day Expedition.

From $3400 per person

Western River page divider

Choosing the Best Grand Canyon Rafting Experience

Raft the upper two-thirds (188 miles) of the Colorado River from Lees Ferry to the Helicopter pad at Whitmore Wash on the 6 or 7 Day Grand Canyon rafting trip. Or, explore the lower third (89 miles) of the Colorado River on the 3 Day expedition. You can add an overnight stay at the Bar Ten Ranch to make it s 4 Day Grand Canyon trip.

3 or 4 Day Trip6 or 7 Day Trip
Length89 miles, 4 day includes night at Bar 10 Ranch188 miles, 6 or 7 day options ( +/- days in the canyon)
Popular FeaturesTravertine Gotto, Lower Granite Gorge, Pumpkin Springs, Helicopter ride into the canyon, Jetboat outRedwall Cavern, Little Colorado River, Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, Matkatimiba Canyon, Havasu Creek
RapidsLess intense (great introduction to whitewater)Famously intense whitewater (Crystal, Hermit, Lava Falls)
Minimum Age9 years old12 years old
RaftWestern J-RigWestern J-Rig
HelicopterHelicopter from Bar 10 Ranch (Begins river trip)Helicopter ride to Bar 10 Ranch Airstrip (Ends river trip)
Flights & ReturnStart: Air Tour from Las Vegas to Bar 10 Ranch. Return: Jetboat and coach Bus to Las Vegas.Start: Optional Air Tour from Las Vegas to Marble Canyon. Return: Flight from Bar 10 Ranch to Marble Canyon or Las Vegas.
Infographic map of how Western River divides trip length on Grand Canyon rafting trips

Grand Canyon Rafting - Frequently Asked Questions

Western's motorized J-Rig raft is able to explore more canyon per day than oar-powered vessels.

What is the Ideal Trip Length for Grand Canyon Rafting? »

Week-long Grand Canyon rafting trips are the most popular - particularly on motorized rafting trips where you can travel much further into the canyon during that one-week time span. Motorized rafts (like Western's J-Rig) are able to cover more miles through the Grand Canyon in one week than an oar-powered craft, which can take a full week to travel only half the distance in the same amount of time as a motorized rig. Some oar-powered trips may take as many as 21 days to row through most of the canyon's 277 miles.

Why do the miles matter in Grand Canyon? No one likes "FOMO" (Fear of Missing Out). Simply put, miles matter when it comes to seeing and exploring all the Grand Canyon has to offer. Some outfitters offer 5 or 6 day trips that only travel 88 miles to Phantom Ranch. This essentially cuts the very heart of the Grand Canyon experience in half. That's sad. :(

Western's Week Long Trip

High Canyon walls in the lower third of the Grand Canyon

Packages in Grand Canyon - How They Differ »

The Perfect Introduction to Grand Canyon Rafting
The 3 Day Expedition is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the Grand Canyon - and even to whitewater rafting in general. Half the length of the 6-7 day trip, milder white water rapids, and fewer, shorter hikes, the 3 day expedition is the perfect introduction to Grand Canyon rafting. The lower part of the canyon is not short on scenery though! Begins and ends in Las Vegas, Includes flight to Bar Ten, helicopter, jetboat, and motor coach return

The Fully Packed Grand Canyon Tour
The 4 Day Expedition includes all the river trip of the 3 day, but pause for a night at the Bar Ten Ranch after your scenic air tour over Lake Mead and the Western end of Grand Canyon. Enjoy: Horseback rides, skeet shooting, local beef BBQ dinner, optional ATV ride, an evening of cowboy entertainment (best in the west - or at least for 80 miles around, helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon, and a speedy jetboat ride out! Yeehaw!

The Ultimate Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation
Western's upper Grand Canyon 6-7 Day Expedition is, in our opinion, the ultimate Grand Canyon rafting vacation. It traverses the most iconic - or well known - section of the Grand Canyon, which includes popular features like Redwall Cavern, the Little Colorado, Crystal, Hermit, Granite rapids, Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, and Matkatimiba and Havasu Canyons. At the end of this trip, a helicopter takes you up and out of the canyon at mile 188 to the Bar Ten Ranch airstrip for return to Las Vegas or Marble Canyon, AZ.

The helicopter exchange at Whitmore Wash (mile 188) is the perfect divider between the upper and lower trips.

Upper vs. Lower Grand Canyon Rafting »

Each of the different Grand Canyon rafting outfitters refer to their trips in terms of "upper vs. lower" Grand Canyon - yet the meaning may be entirely different depending on how they have chosen to divide the canyon at Phantom Ranch (mile 88).

Western River's upper Grand Canyon rafting trips comprise the first two-thirds of the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry (mile 0) to the Helicopter pad at Whitmore Wash (mile 188).

Western's lower Grand Canyon rafting trips travel through the lower, or final third of the Grand Canyon from the Helicopter pad (mile 188) to Lake Mead (mile 277).

Kids peer over the Pumpkin's edge in the lower Grand Canyon with a Guide observing closely

Age Requirements and Grand Canyon Rafting »

The minimum age requirement for this upper section of the Colorado River (Western's 6 or 7 day expedition) is age 12. Grand Canyon rafting for families with kids ages 9 and up will enjoy rapids on the lower third of the Grand Canyon on the 3 day or 4 day expeditions.

Learn more about the physical requirements of a rafting trip with our resource page. Age requirements largely coincide with the intensity of the whitewater, the hikes, and the trip length.

Physical Requirements

April in the Grand Canyon

When is the Best Time to Raft Grand Canyon? »

APRIL - In the Grand Canyon it's true that "Feb/March showers... bring April flowers." April is best for witnessing the desert in brilliant cactus blooms. Rain and cooler temps are possible, but are generally done by the end of March. Verdant green canyon slopes rather than the dry yellow seen as early as June. Generally clear skies and clear streams.

MAY - Cactus blooms linger as temperatures rise. Generally clear skies and clear streams.

JUNE - Vegetation dries, wildflowers hide, and temperatures rise in June. Days get longer, but that doesn't necessarily equate to more hikes during the days, rather just more sunlight during in camp hours.

JULY - Summer days in the Grand Canyon get HOT in July, making a nice splash in rapids or a side stream dip all the more enjoyable.

AUGUST - Rapids! River flows from Glen Canyon Dam begin to increase in August, which generally means more punch per wave in Grand Canyon.

SEPTEMBER - Sunlight shifts and shadows make the canyon more pronounced than the direct sunlight of summer.

A helicopter whisks guests to and from the river's edge in the exchange between the upper and lower canyon trips.

Helicopter Tours and Grand Canyon Rafting Trips »

There are only a few ways into or out of the Grand Canyon - and a seven-minute thrill ride in a helicopter with Papillon helicopter pilots is the most memorable (and easiest)! The helicopter pad at Whitmore Wash (mile 188) is positioned just within the Hualapai Tribal lands, and right at the river's edge to exchange 6-7 day upper canyon guests for a fresh batch of rafters for a lower canyon 3-4 day Grand Canyon rafting trip. In the early days of rafting Grand Canyon Western partnered with the Hualapai Tribe and the Bar Ten Ranch to make this the ideal exchange between guests flying into, or out from, their Grand Canyon rafting trip.

Western's J-Rig Raft was built for the large whitewater waves found in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon White Water Rafting and Rapids Classification Levels »

The upper two thirds of the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry (mile 0) to just below Lava Falls (~mile 188) contains class III - V rapids and is popular among able-bodied beginners ages 12 or higher. Rapids in the lower third of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon are much milder (class II - III), and perhaps more suited to Grand Canyon rafting for timid beginners, or families with younger children ages 9 and up. If you are concerned about the level of adventure involved in Grand Canyon rafting you will be interested to learn more about the design of Western's exclusive J-Rig raft.

Western's J-Rig Raft

A sunny day cheer in rain gear is not uncommon in the Grand Canyon - that Colorado River is COLD!

What a Grand Canyon Packing List Should Include »

Your packing list, provided by Western River Expeditions has been carefully compiled over so many decades of running these Grand Canyon rafting trips. Some will say the list was "spot-on", while others may say they "never used this item or that". Often the difference comes down to what the weather did that week in the canyon. There is no underestimating the value in being prepared, with the right gear. That said, there is a balance in how much your one duffle bag can carry - and whether you can carry that duffle bag up the beach or not! Each trip has a packing list specific to it, so once you pick a trip, you'll know what to pack!

Learn More About Packing

Camping equipment provided by Western River Expeditions

Grand Canyon Rafting and Camping »

So many of our guests in the Grand Canyon have never been camping a day in their lives. It's true! But every single one of them does us proud. It's pretty easy to be a happy camper when your outfitter and guides provide top of the line camping equipment like cots, sleeping bags, river dry-bags, and meals that just don't stop - and keep you on vacation! There is some work involved in unloading the boats in our famous "fire-line", and we show you how to set up your tent and cots, but there's a reward in feeling free and capable of setting up your own little camp each night.

Camping with Western

Rafting trip hikers repose to the echo of music on the walls of Blacktail Canyon, deep in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Rafting and Hiking Trips »

Rafting trips in the Grand Canyon allow access to waterfalls, secret grottos, caverns, slot canyons, fossils, native ruins, and geologic wonders that casual hikers from the rim will simply never see. Yes! Rafting trips include plenty of hiking into side canyon discoveries that backpackers dream for days about, and rim visitors will simply never know about. Some rafting outfitters that exchange guests at Phantom Ranch (mile 88) have their guests hike 7 miles or more to/from the rim a mile above to begin/end their rafting trip. This is a highly strenuous day of hiking that is not a part of any Western River Grand Canyon itinerary.

Guests mingle at the edge of Redwall Cavern in Grand Canyon

Seeing the Grand Canyon vs. Experiencing the Grand Canyon »

Nearly 5 million tourists visit the rim of the Grand Canyon each summer, to look over the edge and witness how immense it is, take a few photos, visit a gift shop or two, then grab an ice cream cone and wander away to some other viewpoint. Seeing the Grand Canyon is a very popular thing to do. It’s the iconic American Road Trip to the Grand Canyon! But there's more to it than that.

There really is a river down there in the bottom of the canyon! Yes, you can go white water rafting on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon! On the river, you'll get a perspective that only an elite group of people experience and know about - places you never would have guessed are down there deep in the canyon like hidden waterfall grottoes you never would have guessed were there, and of course there’s the white water rapids to experience! The difference between seeing the Grand Canyon and experiencing the Grand Canyon is obvious once you try interacting with it.

Western River Expeditions guides serve you from beginning to end!

How Much Does it Cost to Go White Water Rafting in the Grand Canyon? »

For 3-4 days in the various sections of Grand Canyon, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1500 to $2,000. In the upper sections of Grand Canyon you can expect to pay between $2,500 - 3,000 for 5-7 days. Some non-motor (human -powered) trips can take as long as 21 days to row the 188 or 226, or 277 miles from trip beginning to trip end; at a cost upwards of $5,000 or more.

The value of your time and money is a real question, so consider the length of canyon you want to experience, what you want from that experience, and what you value most from your time and money. Western River Expeditions has carefully crafted the experience of rafting the Grand Canyon since 1961 into what we consider the very best way to maximize your time, the value, and the experience of a lifetime in the Grand Canyon.

About Western

Are there one day rafting trips in Grand Canyon? »

The Hualapai Tribe operates a one day excursion from Diamond Creek through the lower gorge of the western (or lowest) part of Grand Canyon (mile 226 to 265). The Hualapai Tribe created the SkyWalk tourist attraction on the western rim of Grand Canyon, with helicopter tours as well.

Complimentary Expedition Guide!

Request your complimentary Expedition Guide download for any rafting adventure. These comprehensive PDF guides include river maps, overview, full itineraries, camping and weather information, details on physical requirements, packing lists and more.

Download Your Expedition Guide
Expedition Guide
Adventure Travel Web Design by Canyons Digital