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EXPEDITION GUIDE
Grand Canyon 4 Day
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Grand Canyon 4 Day Travel Route

Map of Flight to Bar Ten Ranch

Quick Facts »

  • BEGINS: [Departure time on Trip Confirmation sheet] - Las Vegas
  • TRIP LENGTH: 4 days, 89 miles
  • MINIMUM AGE: 9
  • FEATURING: Grand Canyon National Park, Parashant Nat'l Monument
  • RAFTING: Class II-III whitewater combined with calm stretches
  • BOAT TYPE: Western's J-Rig
  • HIKING: Short walks over moderate terrain (all optional)
  • CAMPING: Cots, tents, sleeping bags, chairs & water-resistant bag
  • MEALS: All meals are prepared for you between departure & return
  • TRANSFERS: Bus, plane, helicopter and jetboat transfers to/from Colorado River/Las Vegas
  • ENDS: Approximately 3:00 PM - Las Vegas Marriott

Itinerary & Travel Details

Before you begin your three day exploration of Grand Canyon, enjoy an overnight stay at Bar 10 Ranch on the Grand Canyon rim complete with horseback riding and cowboy entertainment. After your ranch stay, you’ll experience a spectacular helicopter ride down to the Colorado River. On this section of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River’s famous whitewater, though still exciting, is a bit tamer. Massive sandstone cliffs conjure up imaginary shapes. Hidden waterfalls and pools carve their way down to the river. At night, the walls unveil a heaven of innumerable stars overlooking the Grand Canyon. To top it all off, Western’s Grand Canyon four-day rafting vacations feature easy access from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Note: The outlined itinerary is provided as a sample. Daily activities and sights will vary based on weather conditions and guide preferences.

DAY ONE »

Meet in the lobby of the Las Vegas Marriott Hotel [CHECK CONFIRMATION FOR EXACT DEPARTURE TIME]. A motor coach will take you to the Boulder Terminal. Begin your Grand Canyon tour with a beautiful flight from Las Vegas to the Bar 10 Ranch. Before you start your three-day Grand Canyon adventure, you’ll enjoy an overnight stay at the Bar 10 Ranch, a working cattle ranch perched high on a plateau above the Colorado River. Your transition from civilization to wilderness includes horseback trail rides, horseshoes, ping pong, skeet shooting, dinner and evening entertainment before settling into bed in the lodge, outdoors in a covered wagon, or outside on a spacious deck. An ATV ride is available at additional cost.

​DAY TWO »
After a big country breakfast, a helicopter takes you deep into the Grand Canyon where your rafts and guides await. After orientation and introductions, you’ll be on your way downriver surrounded by soul-stirring scenery. Breathtaking canyon walls shoot skyward in a dramatic display of geologic history as you experience your first taste of Grand Canyon whitewater. Hold on for Kolb and Mile 209 Rapids!
​DAY THREE »

Our J-Rig rafts enter awesome Lower Granite Gorge with a series of moderate rapids including Granite Spring, Diamond Creek and Travertine. We take some time to hike, explore and play at Travertine Grotto, a fantastic series of hidden waterfalls and pools. Run the biggest rapids of the trip, the “230’s.” After your day of adventure, you’ll savor Western’s delicious dinners at the river’s edge and appreciate the unforgettable experience of sleeping under the stars.

​DAY FOUR »

As you near Lake Mead, the river calms and the canyon widens. Savor your final morning in Grand Canyon as you head down river and across Lake Mead to where a shuttle will return you to Las Vegas. You will travel by way of the recently completed Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge with views of the Hoover Dam.

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WHERE/WHEN TO MEET

Grand Canyon Las Vegas Marriott

Meet at Las Vegas Marriott »

LOCATION:
325 Convention Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV
Meet in the lobby of The Las Vegas Marriott

DEPARTURE: Boarding begins at 10:00 AM and bus departs at 10:15 AM for bus transfer to the Boulder Municipal Airport. A one-hour flight will bring you to the Bar 10 Ranch. Picture ID is required for all passengers 18 and older. A grab-and-go breakfast will be provided at the Marriott the morning of your flight.

RETURN TIME:
approximately 3:00 PM
Upon the conclusion of your river expedition, a charter bus will return you to the Las Vegas Marriott.

NOTE: For those choosing to stay somewhere other than the Las Vegas Marriott, it is your responsibility to arrive at the designated time and place mentioned above.

LV Marriott & Western River Block Reservations »

TIP: Plan at least 1 night before and after your trip.

Western River has secured a certain quantity of rooms at special rates for our guests. Rooms and rates are available up to 30 days prior to trip departure; after this date, discounted rates may be offered based on availability. Please make your lodging reservations online as soon as possible. if you are unable to reserve using this link, call Reservations: 1-800-244-3364. If still having problems you may contact the Marriott directly at: 1-702-650-2000 or Direct Email- lvexpeditions@marriott.com. Be sure to mention the Western River Expeditions Block.

Book for 2020

Notes from the Las Vegas Marriott »

  • PARKING: $10 per car per day for hotel guests $20 per car per day for non-guests
  • BAGGAGE STORAGE: $8.00 per bag per day for hotel guests $20.00 per bag per day for non-guests
  • CANCELLATION & NO-SHOWS: Cancellations within 72 hours of the arrival date and no shows will be charged 1 night’s room and tax.
  • Marriott reservations for the 2021 season will be available in the fall of 2020. Guests will be sent a link to make online reservations at that time.

While in Vegas

The Marriott is near the famous Las Vegas Strip, but away from the chaos. Enjoy either one! Taxi services, Uber or the Monorail are all convenient to the Marriott for transport to/from the hotel.

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Things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Pieros

Piero's Italian Cuisine »

Assuming you are staying at the Las Vegas Marriott on Convention Center Drive, you can stroll next door to Piero's Italian Cuisine for a surprisingly pleasant dining experience. Unlike virtually everything else in Las Vegas, Piero's doesn't look like much from the outside. Why? Because this is the place where the local big names and celebs from Mick Jagger to Michael Jordan go to enjoy a nice meal, undisturbed. Go inside, eat the cuisine, you'll suddenly see why.

Las Vegas the Strip

Cirque du Las Vegas »

Taxi: The concierge at the Marriott recommends a Taxi to The Strip rather than via the nearby Monorail.

Walking: Walking around the Vegas Strip is epic, but note that city blocks are gargantuan and distances are very deceptive.

Monorail: A short walk from the Marriott is the Convention Center Monorail Station that leads directly into the heart of the famous Las Vegas Strip. You will need to navigate through Bally's Casino before emerging into the open air on The Strip.

On The Strip: A focal point for the best of the strip is probably somewhere near the famous dancing fountains that grace the front of the Bellagio. The Cosmopolitan, Caesar's, Paris, are nearby. Any Cirque du Soleil show is going to impress. The Bellagio "O" show is a consistent crowd pleaser. The "Wicked Spoon" is a top rated all-you-can-eat-Vegas-buffet, located in the Cosmopolitan. Options are endless... Plan your activities carefully if you're getting up early in the morning for the river!

LAS VEGAS WEATHER
Expedition Guide

Expedition Guide & Packing List

Want to download (almost all) of this info?

The Expedition Guide for each trip contains the packing list, and most of the info seen on this page. Combine the "offline" handiness of the Expedition Guide with the online resources of this travel planning page.

Keep the PDF on your phone, or print it out for quick "offline" reference.

Download Guide

How to Pack for your Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation

Get a better idea of each of the items on your Cataract Canyon Express packing list. See an example of each item and understand why we recommend you pack it for the river.


PACKING LIST

Packing the Best Camera for Rafting

Choosing the right camera for whitewater rafting is an important decision. With so many options out there, we discuss the pros and cons of the more common cameras we see on the river.

Do you REALLY need "Quality" Rain Gear?

Western River Expeditions sent two of our intrepid guides to answer the question once and for all: "What is Quality Rain Gear and Why Do I Need it?"

See how we pack for a Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

What does it take to host a party for up to 28 people for more than a week through 277 miles of the Grand Canyon on a massive inflatable raft?

(Note: the video shows how we pack the rafts for the entire 277 miles of Grand Canyon)

The Morning of Your Rafting Trip

  • Check out of your accommodations & eat a good breakfast
  • Meet in the lobby of Las Vegas Marriott
  • Check Confirmation for exact departure time
  • Come dressed and ready to raft (see diagram on Packing List)

Items Provided by Western River Expeditions
  • Transportation to Boulder Terminal from Las Vegas Marriott
  • Charter flight from Las Vegas to Bar 10 Ranch
  • Motor coach return from river to Las Vegas
  • Professional, licensed guides
  • All meals between trip departure and return
  • All eating utensils and souvenir insulated bottle
  • Unlimited water and lemonade
  • Freshly laundered sleeping bag and sheet
  • Cot (28” x 74”)
  • Tent and ground cover
  • Water-resistant dry bag for sleeping gear and personal duffle bag
  • Custom rafts
  • US Coastguard approved whitewater life jackets
  • Wilderness First-Aid kit
  • Sanitary Facilities
Get the Gear with Redrock Outfitters

Through several decades of experience on the river, Western knows what clothing and gear will keep you smiling every second of your adventure. Specifically, we’ve bundled “The Works” for him, for her and one for gear in general. Get a FREE item with a “Works” purchase. For your convenience, you can order all these items online with Western’s retail division Red Rock Outfitters.

Things to Bring on the River

Duffel bag (approx. 12”x13”x24”), packed with personal items outlined on the packing list

Extra drinks, if desired. (Water and lemonade are available in unlimited quantities on the boats and in camp. 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. This must be purchased in Las Vegas and included in the 25 lbs limit per person or there will be a $15 charge. You may bring up to one-half case per person (12 cans).

Extra snacks, if desired. (Snacks will be provided during the trip)

Photo ID, a major credit card, and cash for gratuities.

Camera(s) - Phones as cameras in waterproof cases/sleeves (Cell service unavailable)

Things NOT to bring on the River
  • Car keys can be left at your hotel front desk, or with stored luggage while away
  • Unnecessary electronic devices (game devices for kids, etc.)
Valuables

You will want to have photo ID, a major credit card, and some cash for gratuities. All other valuables and jewelry should be left at home or in a safety deposit box at your hotel. In addition, as a safety precaution we suggest that you not wear rings on the river. Also, each year a few of our guests traveling on airlines arrive without luggage. With this in mind, we suggest you carry with you medications, prescription glasses, and anything you may not be able to replace the evening before your trip departs.

Extra Luggage

Transfer all your personal clothing and gear which you will need on your rafting trip to a small, lightweight duffle bag. Identify duffle bag with label, and leave any extra suitcases or luggage in your vehicle or at the hotel. Please DO NOT BRING SUITCASES on your river trip. As part of your camping equipment package, we provide a water-resistant bag in which you will place your duffle bag as well as the sleeping bag that we provide.

Post-Trip Travel Information »

Grand Canyon Lower Quatermaster

A mid-stream transfer from lumbering raft to speeding jetboat will take place around mid-morning. Once your jetboat arrives at the takeout ramp on Lake Mead, you'll grab a boxed lunch as you board a motor coach for Las Vegas. The return motor coach should arrive at the Marriott Hotel in Las Vegas by 3:00 PM on the last day of your trip. We highly recommend that you stay another night in Las Vegas. However, if you choose to fly out the same day your trip ends, make sure you book a late evening or night flight out of Las Vegas to ensure you have ample time to get to the airport. Taxi service is available from the Las Vegas Marriott to the airport.

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Rafts on the Grand Canyon 4 Day

Named after Western’s founder, Jack Currey, the “J-Rig” is a patented craft offering the most flexible and comfortable ride on the river. 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.

Western's J-Rig Raft

General Information & FAQS

A Typical Day on the River

After meeting your guides you will be given a trip orientation that will include how and where you can sit on the rafts, how to hold on, and safety precautions while on the river.

A typical day will include rafting for a few hours at a time, stopping for scenic side-canyon hikes, bathroom breaks, and lunch. Visiting with new-found friends and learning river lore and geology from our well-trained guides add to the enjoyment of each day.

After a full day of learning and fun we arrive in camp. Guests will be allowed to find their favorite campsite and then return to the rafts for the famous “fire line” - the way we load and unload rafts. 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 water-proof gear bags for all guests. You’ll have no need to worry about bringing any of your own camping equipment.

While you relax at the river’s edge, your guides will prepare dinner. Every night is different, but the menu may include items such as grilled chicken breast, steak with sautéed onions, pasta or fresh fish.

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.

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 fire line once again and you are off on another fun-filled day of adventure.

Rafting vs Other Vacations

The setting and pace of a rafting adventure gives you something you don’t find in other vacations. On a Western River Expedition, you will quickly discover why so many are calling this “the best vacation of their lives.” It’s the combination of drifting over tranquil pools of water under the shadows of towering rock formations, the exhilaration and thrill of rolling waves and crashing whitewater, the exploration of seldom-seen waterfalls and Native American history, the peaceful moments of reflection as you gaze up at the star-studded sky and the fresh feeling of renewal as the morning sun slowly filters through winding canyons. All this provides an indescribable sense of belonging. A sense of oneness with yourself and those around you. A sense of adventure, reflection and renewal. Come discover the difference.

Physical Requirements & Dietary Restrictions

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.


PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:

  • Fit into our Type 5 Life Jacket (maximum chest size is 52”and minimum weight is 50 pounds) required by the National Park Service.
      • Each guest wears a lifejacket and they are very effective at keeping you above water, but if you are unable to swim, it can still be a threatening situation because the waters are turbulent. The lifejackets we supply are certified by the United States Coast Guard and are approved for use by our managing agencies (National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management & Utah State Parks & Recreation). They are classified as “Type V Whitewater” jackets, and they come in two basic sizes “Youth” and “Adult Universal.”
      • Youth lifejackets fit those weighing between 50 and 90 pounds (23-41kg). An Adult Universal Jacket is rated “for persons weighing more than 90 pounds (41kg).” They are highly adjustable and fit a range of chest sizes from 30 - 52 inches (76-132 cm). Body shape can also affect the proper fit of the jacket. If you are unsure, call and speak with us. If unsure, we’ll mail you one of our jackets and you can try it on.
  • Securely grip ropes provided for handholds while running the rapids.
      • Gripping the ropes on the raft is the only way to ensure you stay on board. Factors such as where you sit in the raft in relation to where the waves crash can be a factor, but whitewater rafting can give an unpredictable ride.
      • Falling off a boat into the river, or having your boat capsize is one of the inherent risks associated with whitewater rafting. If this happens, you will need the ability to self-rescue by swimming to the boat or to shore. If you end up on shore, you will need to traverse a rocky shoreline to rejoin the boat which cannot maneuver upstream.
      • For those participants who have heart conditions or who are very overweight, falling into the river also presents the possibility of a “cold-water immersion heart attack.” This is caused when the person swimming cannot calm his/her breathing within a reasonable amount of time (generally 60 seconds).
  • Traverse and navigate uneven terrain over sand and rocks on hikes and in camp.
      • Getting on and off the boats can be very challenging. We park the boats against a variety of terrain such as rocks, steep sandy beaches, and flat locations. Boats may also be slippery.
      • As we travel down river, we make occasional stops to lead “side hikes” which can be either very short and relatively easy, or much longer, covering significant distances and elevation. We hike over uneven, rocky, and often steep surfaces. Though all the hikes are not mandatory, Guests cannot be left on the rafts due to safety concerns. Reasonable mobility is important. If you have questions about your limitations, please call.
      • In camp, you will need to have the same mobility over uneven terrain, and be able to carry your personal bags to your campsite while doing so. Also, keep in mind that paths from your campsite to the toilet facilities would not be classified as “easy” to navigate at night.
      • We camp and eat lunch on sandy beaches and on areas where the ground is mostly dirt and rocks. You must also be capable of safely walking across slippery, rocky, and sandy areas as you climb on and off the boat and walk along the beach to your personally selected campsite at night.
  • Carry your own dry bag which will include your 20-pound duffle bag along with the sleeping bag and ground cover we provide.
        • Guests are required to carry their own waterproof bags with personal gear and the additional 15 pounds of camping gear (cots & tents) to their individual campsite. This can be very difficult for some guests due to the uneven terrain, deep sand, and steep beaches.
        • A river trip is a participatory experience and requires each guest to be reasonably self-sufficient. Our guides will look after the safety and welfare of all the participants on the trip, but you are also responsible for your own safety! Our guides will provide you with the information and tools you need to participate; however, they already fill nearly every minute of their day performing their duties on behalf of the group. They will not be able to devote a lot of extra time to any one individual on the trip.

    • WEATHER:
    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.


        REMOTE LOCATIONS: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.
      Payment & Cancellation Policies

      Paying your balance

      Payment in full is due 90 days prior to trip departure and may be paid by check (preferably) or credit card. For your convenience, we offer an automatic payment service to charge the balance due to your credit card 90 days prior to trip departure. We reserve the right to cancel your reservation if full payment is not collected by the due date.

      Cancellation & refunds

      The cancellation policy applies at the time of deposit. Details regarding cancellations and travel changes for each trip can be found at WesternRiver.com or on your reservation confirmation. If you must cancel any reservation, the cancellation policy applies in every instance and there will be no exceptions for any reason. Western will not issue any refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. Western River Expeditions is not responsible for any expenses incurred in preparation for any cancelled trips or for costs incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations, or illness. If you are concerned about the possibility of having to cancel, you may find information about cancellation coverage and policy details at: www.travelguard.com/westernriver

      Other Questions

      If you have additional questions, our friendly staff is available Monday – Friday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Mountain Time.

      Call: 800-453-7450

      Also, visit us online at westernriver.com for more information. Be sure to see ALL our “FAQS & POLICIES” section for this trip.

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