A rafting tour in Grand Canyon often entails many questions. What type of boats are used? How does camping on the river work? What is the food like? What do I need to bring and what is supplied by Western River Expeditions? You'll find answers to all these questions and many more in the categories below.
Please consider carefully any medical or health condition that would endanger yourself, or others on the trip, or diminish the enjoyment of an adventure vacation such as this. Factors of age, weight, lack of conditioning, heart or other disease can become exacerbated by the environment, remote distances from a hospital, and physical challenges of a rafting adventure. It is critical that you are in reasonable health and physical fitness at the time of departure so that our staff can focus their attention equally on all trip participants. If you are taking any medications, we should be made aware of these and what these medications are treating. If you have any questions or concerns please talk with us and we can help you consider your options.
The nature of an outdoor adventure includes exposure to weather conditions such as heat, sun, wind or rain - sometimes in the extreme. With proper preparation procedures such as applying sunscreen, wearing the right clothing, etc., many of these factors of weather (even in the extreme) can be mitigated, and do not have to be a negative factor. Factors of age, weight, lack of conditioning, heart or other disease can become exacerbated by the environment, remoteness, and physical requirements of a rafting adventure.
Our trips are operated in the “backcountry.” At any given time, you will be a minimum of several hours away from medical help. Our guides are all trained in wilderness first aid and some have even higher levels of emergency response training (e.g., EMT), however, sometimes injuries or the aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions are severe enough to require evacuation from the trip. We carry satellite phones but they are not 100 percent reliable in all locations. Most evacuations require transportation via helicopter which presents many challenges such as appropriate landing zones, inclement weather, darkness, or delays.
If you or any of the participants in your party have special dietary requirements, severe or life-threatening allergies of any kind, a multi-day rafting trip may not be a suitable trip for you. Due to space limitations and the nature of our buffet-style meal service, we are unable to accommodate dietary requests such as Kosher and Vegan. If you are unable to find options on our standard meal service (see below) that meet your dietary needs, you may supplement the existing meals where necessary with some of your own food, as long as it does not require cooking on our limited stove and cookware surfaces.
Physical fitness on a rafting trip is probably the very best way to get the most out of your adventure. Hiking to hidden attractions away from the river's edge, shooting rapids with anticipation rather than anxiety, and possibly even swimming in the river are among the more active things where being more fit will enhance your whitewater rafting vacation. Feeling confident with your abilities is always a great feeling, but the rewards you'll get from physically preparing your body for a rafting trip will pay off in numerous ways, possibly adding years to your life. Now THAT'S living! So, how does one best prepare physically for a rafting adventure? Great question. We've made a list of simple exercises that can be combined together and are specifically applicable to a rafting adventure:
Strength: Gripping ropes (or paddles) is one universal constant for any rafting trip. Start squeezing stress balls or spring-loaded grip strengtheners. Keep these small items handy (pun-intended) while stopped at a red light, working at the desk, or while walking and talking. Legs are another key area to focus on - especially if you want to explore the side trips away from the river's edge. Start with walks around your neighborhood while gripping hand weights to strengthen grip simultaneously. You might as well do some curls with those hands weights while you're at it! Some hikes require some (or a lot of) stair-stepping activity. To really get your legs ready, consider squats, burpees, jump-rope or jumping jacks. All the little muscles in your feet that give you balance will come in very handy (or is that footy)? while walking on uneven terrain.
Lungs & Heart: Breathing heavy is a sure sign your heart rate is up. You probably know lots of ways to get your heart rate up, but one of the best ways to work your entire body (muscles AND heart and lungs) is an exercise with a stupid name, called "Burpees." (No, that's not what you get from consuming a 7-11 Slurpee too fast). You can do burpees at any pace you are ready for, but do it long enough to get breathing hard, then catch your breath and repeat for, say 5 minutes a day. Add in walking your dog, using hand-grip weights or anything else that also strengthens your grip to be more time efficient as you prepare.
Flexibility: Sitting in a raft is different from how we normally sit in a chair. Walking on uneven terrain is different than on a paved path. Flexibility may be more important than strength in helping prevent injuries. Consider that when you absolutely don't want to exercise, but you do have a minute to stretch. Always be stretching.
Balance & Mental Awareness: Of course knowing your own limits is vital for keeping yourself safer - and that responsibility can't be placed on anyone but you! While exercising and preparing for your rafting trip, pay attention to two things: (1) Your own sense of physical balance, and (2) how much harder you can push yourself that you initially may have thought. These two things will keep you safer, while also moving beyond self-imposed limitations and comfort zones. That's the definition of a great adventure!
Drink lotsa water: Get used to drinking a lot of water as you exercise more. In the hot sun, even simply sitting on a raft, you will sweat and burn more calories than you may have thought. Hydration is not an area to "push through" and "be tough" about! Drink water! Reward that hard working body!
Swimming skills are a plus! Swimming is a great way to prepare for a rafting trip too. You may (voluntarily or involuntarily) be doing some swimming on your rafting trip. Don't let that scare you. You've got a lifejacket (PFD) on at all times and may only need to do some strokes and kicks to get yourself back to the boat, or to shore.
Myth #9 on our 11 Myths of Whitewater Rafting page dispels the notion that you must be athletic to enjoy a rafting trip. Take a look there if you want to learn more about what to expect on rafting vacations.
If you have concerns or questions about your physical condition, we recommend you also consult your physician. If you have questions about the specific parameters of a rafting trip with Western River Expeditions, please contact our office at 1-800-453-7450 or 801-942-6669. We would be happy to provide any other information you need to make this decision, or to discuss any of this information in detail.
If you are pregnant, you will not be permitted to go rafting. Our trips take place in remote wilderness settings where access to advanced medical care can be hours away (possibly overnight), and conditions such as extreme heat and vigorous activity can exacerbate discomfort and any known or unknown conditions.
Please remember that you will not always be pregnant, but the river will always be here. We do not believe it is worth the risk, no matter how early you are in your pregnancy. We think moms are special and hope you understand.
If you think there is a chance that you may be pregnant after making your deposit you should take out cancellation insurance that would have coverage to cancel for any reason or plan to have someone take your place. We offer the name change option for you or anyone in your party for $50 per person.
If you use a CPAP machine, please ensure that you can complete the trip if your CPAP machine fails or your batteries don’t last. Medical evacuation is only available for severe injury or an imminently life threatening condition. You must be able to safely complete the trip without a working device! Please contact our office to advise us if you will be bringing a cpap machine on your trip. 1-801-942-6669
Thank you for carefully considering additional challenges that traveling with a CPAP requires on a multi-day backcountry camping and rafting expedition. It is important to us that you choose wisely, and come well prepared to self-sufficiently manage this need while camping in the backcountry.
An initial non-refundable deposit of $300 per person is required to secure your space. Deposits may be made by check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express).
At the present time we are not holding space without a deposit.
Payment in full is due 90 days prior to trip departure and is non-refundable. Payment may be paid by check (preferably) or credit card. We reserve the right to cancel your reservation if full payment is not collected by the due date
You may make payments towards your balance prior to the final due date. These payments may be made online or by phone. For payments over $10,000 and for large international payments, a check or wire transfer is preferred.
A $300 non-refundable deposit is due per person at time of reservation; Final payment are also non-refundable and due 90 days prior to trip departure.
Our cancellation policy applies in every instance and there will be no exceptions for any reason. Western River Expeditions will not issue any refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early whether voluntary or caused by other circumstances. Western River Expeditions is not responsible for any expenses incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations, or illness. Western River Expeditions assumes no financial responsibility for personal injury, emergency evacuation, or personal equipment lost or damaged in any way.
Depending on availability and advance notice, you may have the option to transfer your reservation to another date or trip for a transfer fee. This is not guaranteed, and availability and transfer policies vary between trips.
Transfers into the following season are not allowed.
If you are concerned about the possibility of having to cancel, you will find information about cancellation coverage at https://www.westernriver.com/cancellation
Some of the most difficult situations occur when a guest needs to cancel a few days before a trip because of an injury, a family illness, or some other catastrophic event. In these situations, we generally do not have time to refill the space. Yet, we have already spent considerable time, money, and energy preparing for your trip: scheduling vehicles, flights, drivers, guides and equipment, purchasing food, etc. Because of our short season and very limited number of available seats, we cannot afford the financial loss that cancellations cause. Therefore, consider the investment you are making in your vacation and whether or not you could afford the loss if you did have to cancel.
Cash is preferred for gratuities. Your guides will make every effort to see that your trip is enjoyable and successful. Gratuities for guides are appropriate, greatly appreciated, and, at your discretion, a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and service. A suggested guideline is 10 percent of the trip cost. The common practice is to give the gratuity to the trip leader on the last night. It will later be divided equally with the rest of the crew.
At the Bar Ten Ranch, a “tip” jar is kept in the lodge and gratuity given to the staff is greatly appreciated. The Bar 10 Ranch and Western River Expeditions are individual entities so gratuities are handled separately. There is a cash-only tip box in the lodge for the Bar 10 Ranch staff. An average tip for service at the Bar 10 Ranch is about $20-$25 per guest. Please come prepared as you will not be able to tip with a credit/debit card at the ranch or on the river.
Our Grand Canyon rafting expeditions are very popular and book far in advance. It is very unlikely that a trip in this area would need to be cancelled.
Bookings for the following season begin a year or more in advance. It is recommended that you make your reservations early as trip dates and availability become limited quickly. You may change the date of your trip up to 90 days prior to your trip departure date.
Waiting lists are available if the trip date you prefer is sold out. Additionally, we offer exciting rafting adventures in many other locations.
Each trip will consist of either a double boat launch (trip total of 28 guests) or a single boat launch (18 guests total).
A single boat launch consists of 18 guests on one raft. A double boat launch (trip total of 28 guests) will have 14 guests per raft. All of our launches have two guides on each raft.
For a private trip the entire launch must be filled. . Our launches can be either a single (18 guests) or double boat (28 guests) launch.
A full base rate fare discount is offered to the group organizer of an entire launch. You may book on one reservation if you are paying for the entire group. If each group member will be responsible for their individual payments we will provide you with a direct booking link for your group. This will allow group members to be on separate reservations within your group.
Arranging a group trip with Western is an easy task! When you make your personal reservation, check total availability so you can choose a trip and date with enough seats for your friends to join. Call our office at 866-904-1160 and put down your deposit. Members of your group may then call in and mention that they are traveling with you. If group members are paying separately each can have their own reservation while still being tied together as a group.
Depending on availability, it may be possible to place a courtesy hold for a few days on your specific trip date to enable your friends to call in with their own deposit. Seats would then be released from that hold as they place their individual reservations within your group.
While rafting in a group certainly has an appeal there are many advantages to traveling solo. There is more flexibility for a solo traveler to choose trip dates. Many solo travelers find that they have a unique opportunity to set their curiosity free uninhibited by the expectations of others. This can truly be a life changing experience!
We have set the age limit for this trip at 9. For the safety of all of our guests we do adhere strictly to this policy. The age limit is firm. Youth life vests will fit children from 50-90 lbs. (If your child is at 50 lbs please contact our office). As a parent or guardian you are the best qualified to assess the suitability of this trip for your 9 year old both physically and mentally. When evaluating if this is the best trip for your child consider their physical ability to tightly hold onto the ropes on the raft, get on and off the raft (which is three feet off the water), hike and camp while being exposed to the outdoor elements. Also consider their ability to follow instructions and listen to our guides.
We do not have a maximum age for our guests. However, if you are over 70 years of age the decision to take this rafting trip should be carefully considered. You will be exposed at times to extreme environmental conditions and there is a certain physical stamina that is required. Please consider your health and the remote nature of the Grand Canyon when deciding if this is the right trip for you.
To maximize the common welfare of all guests on a trip, and to allow our guides to focus their time and attention on critical aspects of a trip our policy states: “Guests may bring supplemental items if they do not require special preparation by our guides or use of our cooking facilities.”
We will always have an ample supply of snacks, fresh fruits, vegetables, and side items to choose from, and encourage guests with special dietary requests to bring items that do not need special preparation. We have both cold and dry storage available on our boats for any supplemental products you may bring.
Please let us know if you would like to review our menu. Generally our menu consists of the following items:
Breakfasts-Bacon, eggs, blueberry pancakes, sausage patties,hash browns, fresh baked muffins, melon, grapefruit, OJ.
Lunch-Cold cut sandwich options served with a wide variety of mostly whole grain breads, or the optional PB & J. Tuna Salad Medley Wrap is also served.
Dinners-Pasta, Shrimp cocktail and Steak.
When deciding on the suitability of this trip for your child please keep in mind that maturity is as important as physical ability. Your child will be required to sit for a couple of hours at a time on our rafts in very calm sections of water. At other times he or she will need to be able to securely grip our ropes as our guides maneuver through up to Class III rapids. The rafts that we use in the Grand Canyon are approximately 3 feet off the river. This is not the type of trip that will allow children to splash and play in the water as we are rafting. The hikes will require you to be vigilant as to your child’s whereabouts to keep them from possible areas of danger. While this trip is well suited for many families with children as young as 9 it is up to you to decide if it is best suited for your child. As a comparison, our Green River 5- Day Rafting Trip is well suited for families as the water is warm and welcoming; the rafts also sit low on the water allowing children to be a part of the rafting experience as they splash and play in the river. Big sandy beaches provide opportunities for children to play and be a kid. Special menu items are tailored just for children on this trip.
Print or download a comprehensive packing list, specific to this trip. This has been developed with careful consideration over many years of experience. We recommend you follow this list as it is best to be sufficiently prepared (especially for changes in the weather and temperature) to enjoy your trip to the fullest extent.
All of your river trip items should be packed in a soft sided duffel bag (12” x 13” x 24”). Once you are at the river this duffel bag will be placed in a large gear bag, which will also contain your sleeping bag, sheet and ground tarp, and will be stored on the raft during the day. You will have access to this in camp at night and in the morning. We will also supply a small dry use day bag (7” x 13”) in which to store any items you will need frequent access to during the day, such items may include medications, rain gear, camera, and sunscreen.
A wet suit is not recommended. A two piece rain suit is best suited as it can be worn over your clothes and, when no longer needed, can quickly be put away once again. If you already have a splash jacket you are welcome to use this in place of the rain jacket.
Guests are not allowed to bring their own lifejacket or PFD. Western River Expeditions is subject to regulations promulgated by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and State Parks. All three of these agencies require that guests of commercial outfitters wear Type V Whitewater lifejackets. Personal life jackets are usually meant for lake sports and even Type III jackets, meant for kayaking or canoeing, are not acceptable for use by our guests.
Fortunately, the newer generations of Type V life jackets are very comfortable. They also have a lot more floatation than the typical personal jacket.
While there is fishing in the Grand Canyon we do not typically recommend it as an option. All fishing does need to be catch and release. There is not a lot of time for fishing during the day, but early mornings and late afternoons in camp provide fishing opportunities.
You will need to obtain a 5-day license which can be purchased for about $32. Send your request to: AZ Game and Fish, 2221 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023. Western does not provide fishing gear. Your pole must be collapsible and in a case.
You should be dressed and ready to go to the Bar 10 Ranch as you board the bus in Las Vegas on your first day. There is no need to pack additional clothing specifically for the ranch as a shirt, shorts, capris or pants and your river shoes are sufficient.
Bring an ample supply of waterproof sunblock and sunscreen lip balm to protect you from the dry desert heat and remember to apply it frequently. This portion of the Grand Canyon in which you will be rafting trip is almost entirely in full sun with very little shade. A sturdy water bottle is also vital to prevent dehydration. We provide a continual supply of cold, filtered water and lemonade for you to refill your bottle throughout the day.
A sarong is very useful to cover your legs and can also be soaked in the river to help you stay cool. A head buff or bandanna which has been soaked in the river may be worn around your head or neck to cool you down. Light fabrics and those treated with SPF are also recommended. A pair of socks may protect your feet from becoming sunburned and applying an after sun lotion in camp is helpful to help prevent burns. Wearing a brimmed hat to protect your face, neck and ears is also an essential item. Many hats come with a strap to conveniently attach to your clothing. Also important are sunglasses, remember to buy a safety strap to keep them from falling in the river.
Cameras can be charged if guests bring a portable charging device. Alternately, cameras can be charged if guests bring a portable charging device. We recommend bringing extra batteries or a battery pack, rather than relying on a solar charger. If a cell phone is used for picture taking, it should be in airplane mode to conserve battery life, and be in a waterproof case.
This video features some excellent camera tips:
Guidelines for camera use on the river:
You are free to film and shoot photos during our trips, however, we ask that you consult with your guide before doing so. We have some guidelines you will be asked to follow. These include:
If you’re wondering what type of camera is most suitable for the river, here are a few thoughts.
Waterproof/Shockproof Digital Cameras - These cameras are perfect for everyday use and have become very affordable with most at $100 to $300. They’re rugged and waterproof, but also elegant and trim like any other digital camera.
GoPro and Similar Cameras - Together with their durable waterproof cases, these cameras can take some nice shots while on and off the water. Generally, the wide angle zoom cannot be adjusted so this should be taken into consideration. We ask that you plan to mount these cameras only with the head strap or helmet mount options (bring your own helmet). You will not be allowed to mount the cameras anywhere on the rafts during travel on the river.
Larger SLR Cameras - It is possible to bring a larger SLR camera, but be sure to have something sturdy to protect it. We recommend a hard-shell Pelican Case if you’re planning to bring a more expensive camera. Space is limited on the boats, so we try to keep additional camera equipment minimal.
Aquapac - This is a good solution if you aren’t in the market for a brand new camera, but just want to protect the one you have. It is a flexible waterproof housing to fit a number of camera types -- including video cameras. You do need to make sure the plastic housing stays clean as you’re shooting through it, but a lot of our guests find this to be a nice solution.
Batteries and Cards - While your are in remote areas during your trip, there will not be any location to charge your batteries or devices. Consider bringing extra batteries and memory cards and don't forget to charge your extra batteries before you get to the river.
Small Float - You might consider attaching your camera to a small float that may save your camera if you happen to drop it in the river. GoPro sells a small, attachable float that fits on the back of the camera housing that many of our guests find useful.
Western River will provide two dry bags for your use to help you protect your belongings:
(You will need to bring your own small travel pillow for camping)
Your meeting and ending location for this trip is at the Las Vegas Marriott. They will store extra luggage for you for a charge of $8 per bag/per day. For non guests the charge is $20 per bag/per day. It is recommended that you do not leave any electronics or heat sensitive items in your car due to the extreme heat.
For our guests staying with the Las Vegas Marriott there is a fee of $10 per car, per day for parking. If you are not staying at the Marriott you will be charged $20 per car, per day.
The Bar 10 Ranch, which is located in the heart of the Grand Canyon, is a true working cattle ranch run by genuine western cowboys with old school cowboy (and cowgirl) hospitality.
Meals included in your package include a ranch style lunch, dinner and breakfast. Included activities are a leisurely horseback ride, skeet shooting. and a charming western show. An adventurous and very scenic ATV ride is offered at an additional fee.
In addition to the bathroom located in the lodge there are public restrooms located downstairs in the rear entrance for use. These are in close proximity to the covered wagons. Large shower stalls are available for use in this location as well. It is recommended to use your own towel, soap, shampoo, etc. They have only a select number of towels available to rent for a fee due to the limited laundering facilities available.
The staff at the Bar 10 Ranch work hard to ensure your stay with them is a huge success.At the Bar Ten Ranch, a “tip” jar is kept in the lodge and gratuity given to the staff is greatly appreciated. The Bar 10 Ranch and Western River Expeditions are individual entities so gratuities are handled separately. There is a cash-only tip box in the lodge for the Bar 10 Ranch staff. An average tip for service at the Bar 10 Ranch is about $20-$25 per guest. Please come prepared as you will not be able to tip with a credit/debit card at the ranch or on the river.
Take a huge step back in time to an era long passed and rest in the comfort of a Conestoga covered wagon which feature double mattresses (sleeps 2 comfortably).
In the lodge your sleeping accommodations are 5 dormitory style rooms with two sets of bunk beds (single bed on top with a double bed on bottom).
The Bar 10 Lodge’s expansive deck is also a very popular place for those wishing to sleep under the amazing starlit sky.
Each morning, your guides will prepare a delicious breakfast. You’ll have a chance to enjoy eating before returning to your campsite to take down your tent and cot and pack up your belongings in your dry bag. After bringing your bag down to the boats, guests participate in the famous “fire-line” (our method for loading and unloading the rafts) after which you are off on an exciting day of full of adventure!
A typical day on the river includes rafting for a few hours at a time, stopping for scenic side-canyon hikes, bathroom breaks, lunch and possible swimming opportunities. Visiting with new-found friends and learning river lore and geology from our well-trained guides always adds to the enjoyment of each day. After a full day of learning and fun we arrive in camp. Choose your favorite spot on the beach to set up your camp and then return to the rafts for the fire line - you will be amazed at how quickly this process can be. Your help in passing the gear off the boat is greatly appreciated; however, if you have physical restrictions or limitations that would prohibit you from participating you are not required to help.
The first evening in camp, the guides will give a demonstration on how to easily assemble the cots and tents and will be available to help you if you need additional assistance. Western River provides cots, tents, sleeping bags, sheets, camp chair and waterproof gear bags for all guests. You’ll have no need to worry about bringing any of your own camping equipment with the exception of a small travel pillow.
Sit back, relax, enjoy the company of your fellow river rafters along the river bank as, your guides prepare dinner. Every night is different, but the menu may include items such as steak with sautéed onions and pasta. At night, whether you choose to sleep in your tent or under the vast canopy of stars, the fresh night air and the rhythm of the river will lull you to sleep.
You will experience Class III (moderate) rapids throughout the season as water levels of the Colorado River here are controlled by the Glen Canyon Dam. As all the water is being pulled from the bottom of the dam it does stay around a chilly 52 degrees all season.
Named after Western’s founder, Jack Curry, the “J-Rig” is a patented craft which was created by Western River Expeditions. It offers wonderful seating options and provides a very comfortable ride for all of our guests. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can sit up front where the waves hit hardest, or ride aft for more protection. There are plenty of calm sections along the river where you can move freely around the boat and trade seating positions throughout the trip.
The water consistently maintains approximately a temperature of 52. It is not ideal for prolonged swimming opportunities. However, you may have an option to refresh yourself under much warmer water in a series of waterfalls at the Travertine Grotto.
Because our trips operate in remote, backcountry settings, there are no permanent bathroom facilities. We use portable toilets that we haul with us. We’ve prepared a video describing toilet facilities on the river. Click on the link, watch the video and then call us if you have more questions.
The portable toilets described in the video are available shortly after we set up camp each afternoon until we leave camp the next morning. During the day, the guides will make frequent stops at which you can go to the bathroom if needed. During the day, urination is done into the main river channel, but if you need to do more than this, just ask your guide and he/she will introduce you to our daytime toilet system.
If you expect to be menstruating during your trip, we recommend the use of tampons rather than pads. During the day, you will constantly be getting wet, so pads are not ideal. If you choose to use pads, we recommend wearing a good pair of waterproof rain pants.
A good strategy is to bring several sandwich-sized zip-lock bags pre-packed with individual tampons. The same bag can then be used for disposal after use. Toilet facilities will always be available while in camp and the guides will stop as often as is necessary during the day to accommodate your needs. We will always provide a means for discreet disposal of feminine hygiene items. It is best that you bring your own supplies, but we also carry a supply of feminine hygiene products.
Additional tips that have come from previous guests:
One of the beautiful aspects to rafting in the Grand Canyon is the remote nature of it. You will be able to completely disconnect from the world and will be out of contact for the duration of your trip. If you are worried about an emergency arising at home while you are on the river you will want to have a plan in place with friends or family of what to do if they are not able to contact you. Please give our office number (1-800-453-7450) to any family or friends who will need to get word to you if there is an emergency. We will convey their message as soon as you are off the river and we are able pass the information to you.
There is no cell phone reception in the canyon.
The remote nature of this area is one of it’s most attractive features and we suggest that you enjoy the opportunity to disconnect and immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings.
All of our river guides are certified with a minimum of advanced first aid and many hold more advanced certifications such as Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). We carry multiple, well stocked first aid kits on every trip and the guides will provide any “first aid” level care that is needed or you have the option of using our first aid supplies to treat yourself.
If the injury or illness requires medical attention beyond what is possible on the river, we evacuate the affected guest. The most common means of evacuation is via helicopter. However, on some river stretches, evacuation may occur using a high-speed boat or even a vehicle. We carry satellite phones that allow us to communicate with emergency medical professionals.
Because we are in remote, wilderness settings, it may take a while for more advanced medical help to arrive. Please note that the satellite phones are only used during emergency situations. Because they have limited battery life, we do not leave them on at all times and it is not possible to call the satellite phone to deliver a message from off the river. There is no cell phone reception in the remote canyons in which most of our trips are conducted.
Awaken your senses early each morning as your guides prepare a delicious breakfast for you to enjoy along the banks of the Colorado River! Enjoy a delicious breakfast before returning to your campsite to take down your tent and cot and pack up your belongings in your dry bag for the day. After bringing your bag down to the boats, guests participate in the “fire line” - the way we load and unload rafts. Your help in passing the gear to the boat is greatly appreciated; however, if you have physical restrictions or limitations that would prohibit you from participating you are not required to help. Once the rafts have been loaded you are off on another fun filled day of adventure.
You will arrive back in camp in the early evening hours.
The first evening in camp, the guides will give a demonstration on how to easily assemble the cots and tents and will be available to help you if you need additional assistance. As stated in our packing list, Western River provides cots, tents, sleeping bags, sheets, camp chairs and water-proof gear bags for all guests. You’ll have no need to worry about bringing any of your own camping equipment with the exception of a small travel pillow.
While you relax at the river’s edge with your fellow guests, your guides will prepare dinner. Every night is different, but the menu may include pasta, salads, rice and steak.
Whether you choose to sleep in your tent or under the vast canopy of stars in the brilliant night sky, you will enjoy the fresh night air and the rhythm of the river as you drift off to sleep.
As stated in our packing list, Western River provides cots, tents, sleeping bags, sheets, camp chair and water-proof gear bags for all guests. You’ll have no need to worry about bringing any of your own camping equipment (with the exception of an optional small travel pillow). The tents sleep two comfortably. We highly recommend that you try a night sleeping on your cot under the brilliant and immense star filled sky!
Bathing in the Colorado River is a most refreshing experience! For ease you may want to place your cot near the edge of the river with the items needed items for you bath. These include a biodegradable soap (soaps like Dr Bronner’s Peppermint are refreshing and can be used to wash your clothes in the river and keep them smelling nice and fresh) shampoo, a bath sponge, a quick drying towel (microfiber works well) a change of clothes and lotion.
Find a shallow spot along the bank of the river. Test the area with your foot to determine the depth of the area and to ensure that you are away from the current.
Take a quick dip to get wet. Multi task by scrubbing your body and bathing suit simultaneously with the bath sponge and quickly shampoo your hair. The next step is to dash into the chilly river and take an invigorating rinse. As previously mentioned, this is also an ideal time to wash your laundry. Once your clothes are clean there are plenty of branches from which to drape your clothes or you may bring a rope and clothespins to assist in the drying process.
It is important to remember lotion. Apply an after sun lotion once you have bathed to aid in moisturizing your skin and helping it to heal from sun exposure.
You will want to use the clean filtered water we provide for brushing your teeth. Do not drink the river water.
Now breathe a deep sigh of contentment! Bathing at the end of your rafting day is a revitalizing experience which will aid in a restful slumber!
Biting insects are of little or no concern in Grand Canyon. We occasionally see horse flies, but we generally do not see mosquitoes or gnats. Other, non-biting, flying insects are present and mostly are an issue when they are attracted to your flashlight or headlamp. The way to solve this is to bring a headlamp that has the option of using a red light.
Many people worry about snakes and scorpions. Both are an important part of the desert ecosystem, but neither likes to be around humans very much. With proper precautions that will be explained by your guides, you can generally avoid them altogether.
While it is rare that we see snakes or scorpions, when we do, your guides are expert at moving them away from camp so they will not present a safety concern. We are respectful of these native creatures and we do our best not to harm them, but we also take all precautions to make sure they don’t bother our guests.
It is best to leave your jewelry behind. Rafting is an active vacation and jewelry often gets in the way. Earrings and necklaces can get caught on lifejackets. Rings can also cause injuries when you are holding on tightly to ropes.
Day One: A late breakfast will be provided by the Las Vegas Marriott, lunch and dinner will be prepared by the staff at the Bar 10 Ranch.
Day Two: Breakfast at the ranch, lunch and dinner prepared by our guides
Day Three: Breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by our guides
Day Four: Breakfast prepared by the guides, lunch box provided by Capriotti’s
Come hungry! Our guests frequently comment that they are surprised by the quality and variety of food that we are able to provide. Look forward to the smell of pancakes, bacon and sausage at breakfast. Delicious lunch buffets include deli style lunch meats and a wide selection of breads. A variety of fruits are plentiful throughout the day. Dinners are delicious and filling and include items such as meat, salad, pasta, and bread.
Western provides an unlimited quantity of water and lemonade. You will need to bring along your own water bottle (24 oz or more) for filling and refilling. We encourage you to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day to avoid dehydration in the canyon.
Western does not provide beer, liquor, or soda pop. Guests arriving on the charter flight from Las Vegas must purchase beverages before leaving Las Vegas. These items are not available for purchase at Bar 10 Ranch. TSA regulations require that liquor be under 140 proof and stored in the original container. It is recommended that any hard alcohol be transferred to a non breakable flask prior to departing on the river. Beverages are included in the 25 lb limit (20 lb duffle bag + 5 lbs of beverages) per person allowed on the charter flight. There is a $15 charge for exceeding the weight limit.
On multi-day river trips, our food service is limited by several factors:
Within these limitations, we’ve crafted a menu that is designed to be prepared quickly and efficiently and to appeal to a large variety of tastes. All of our meals are served “buffet or family style” with any custom, per person preparation being limited to things like “how would you like your steak cooked” or “do you prefer your eggs scrambled or over-easy?”
While we try to accommodate some special dietary needs, we are not always able. If you have a specific food allergy or sensitivity, please let us know. If you have dietary restrictions based on a lifestyle choice or religious practice, please let us know. If your food allergy is severe, we need to have a more in-depth conversation about what can and cannot be done.
Please understand that we may not be able to completely meet your needs. However, we have found that most people find what they need from within our established menu.
The policy we have developed to maximize the common welfare of all guests on a river trip, and to allow our guides to focus their time and attention on critical aspects of a trip is that:
Please let us know of any special dietary needs well in advance. Special food requests made within two weeks of the trip launch date may not be able to be accommodated.
We bring a variety of snacks on every trip. As a general rule, snacks will be served mid-morning and mid-afternoon while traveling down river. If you would like to bring some of your own snacks, small, pre-packaged items are best. We can provide cold or dry storage. If you have special dietary needs, bringing some of your own snacks that work well for you is a great idea.
Hard alcohol is allowed at your own discretion. Storage will be provided on the boats. Be aware that FAA guidelines require liquor to be in unopened (sealed) containers during flight, even if packed in your bags.
Note: Hydration (ie. drinking enough water to offset diuretics such as alcohol or even caffeinated beverages) is especially vital to your health and safety on the river in the hot desert sun. Also, be aware that intoxication on a rafting trip, along the river and in camp can be particularly dangerous, so we advise prudence!
Controlled substances, such as Marijuana, are illegal to possess in Grand Canyon National Park.
Cacti bloom in April and May, the big horn sheep and other wildlife are more abundant during late August and September. Air temperature is basically the only difference when choosing the ideal month. You will find milder temperatures in April, May and September. Our rafting begins in April and ends at the end of September. The water remains close to 52 degrees throughout the season.
While some months may be more ideal than others, ultimately you will be traveling through one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world! This makes anytime a great time to experience a rafting adventure through the Grand Canyon!
We always hope for good weather but you should be prepared for the possibility of cooler weather and storms. In April and May it is possible to see both snow and temperatures over 100 degrees on the same trip. During late May-September, it is normal to see average daytime temperatures over 110 degrees, with little shade.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather we suggest that you follow our suggested packing list as it is best to be prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter on your trip. This is applicable to all trips throughout the season. The following chart shows averages for the months of March through October. Temperatures and precipitation will vary. A rain storm or a cool front can happen anytime.
You can find current weather forecasts at the following link. Refer to the 7- Day Phantom Ranch Forecast as this is the closest forecast that relates to your trip:
The portion of the canyon in which you are rafting may be over 100 miles from the point at which this weather is being forecast. You may experience warmer weather on your trip than the 7- Day Phantom Ranch forecast.
Meet at 10:15 at the Las Vegas Marriott on 325 Convention Center DR., Las Vegas, Nevada. Taxi service is available from the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. The Las Vegas Marriott is conveniently located near the Las Vegas Monorail Station that goes to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Our guests staying at their property enjoy free parking and baggage storage for a rate of $6 per bag, per day. Luggage storage for guests not staying at The Las Vegas Marriott is $15 per bag, per day and parking is a $12 charge per vehicle, per day.
At the conclusion of your trip you will be returned to the Marriott at approximately 3:00 PM.
The transportation included in your trip price is as follows:
The Bar 10 Ranch is located in the heart of the Grand Canyon at a very remote location. For this reason flying is the best mode of transportation.
Leaving a vehicle is not an option at the ranch as we will not return to this location once you begin your river trip. Also, there are no paved roads requiring the use of all terrain vehicles to access the ranch.
You are responsible for any pre and post trip lodging. We do have a negotiated rate with the Las Vegas Marriott and we highly recommend this property. It is a non gaming property and is very well managed. They take exceptionally good care of our guests and have an excellent reputation for customer service.
We advise you to arrive in Las Vegas early on the day prior to your trip so as to avoid any possible flight delays. We also recommend that you plan a night’s stay the day you return from the river. Relax in a hot shower and enjoy a long night’s rest prior to returning home.
Car keys can be packed in your duffel bag. It is recommended that you place these in a zippered pocket in your bag.
This comprehensive PDF guides include river maps, overview, full itineraries, camping and weather information, details on physical requirements, packing lists and more.