Grand Canyon Rafting Bannre

5 Tips for Planning the Ultimate Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure

Are you ready to experience the Grand Canyon like never before? Rafting adventures take you through the heart of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River. The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is regarded as being one of the best white water rafting rivers in the world. You will spend 6-16 days soaking in the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural wonder. However, rafting trips in Grand Canyon are not something done on a whim. They need to be planned at least one year out because most of the outfitters will be booked solid. Also, you need to be sure you are physically able to complete a rafting adventure. If you are feeling inspired to explore the massive and remote canyons, then read on to find our 5 best tips for discovering the Grand Canyon on an unforgettable rafting adventure.


#1 How to Pick the Best Season for Rafting

Havasu Creek by Ralph Hopkins, Arizona Rafting Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: Ralph Hopkins

Anytime you choose to go down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, you’re going to have a great time. It all comes down to personal preference, ultimately. The main season is between May-August and the shoulder season is April, late September, and October. These two seasons have different pros and cons to take into consideration. However, no matter what time of year you choose to raft the Colorado River, you’re sure to love it!

Peak Season: Late May through August

  • Choose this season if you prefer to not be cold. Avoid this season if you are sensitive to heat.
  • June is the hottest month in the canyon. It makes swimming in the river and hiking to the waterfalls very enjoyable.
  • The rainy season is during July and August. Many travelers say that the storms are the highlight of their trip because it creates a dramatic experience on the river.
  • The hikes during this time period tend to be in the slot canyons and destinations like side streams and waterfalls to help you cool down and stay cool.
  • This season has the highest water levels. This means that some rapids will be washed out, but others are much more exciting at high water.

Shoulder Season (April and early May / September and October)

  • This season is great for those who do not want to be hot. The milder temperatures are still warm enough to enjoy the frigid Colorado River, but cool enough to hike throughout the day.
  • The day hikes are longer and more sun-exposed because the cooler temperatures allow it.
  • The water levels are lower and the water is slower, although this does not indicate less excitement by any means! The rapids tend to be more technical in low water and some rapids are revealed better in low water.
  • Wildflowers in April cover the landscape of the Grand Canyon and create spectacular scenery
  • April and October provide the highest chances of seeing California Condors and Bald Eagles


#2 How to Physically Prepare for a Rafting Trip

Arizona Rafting Grand Canyon by Ralph Hopkins

Photo Credit: Ralph Hopkins

Everyone who joins a rafting adventure is in different levels of physical activity in their daily lives. We would recommend, no matter how active you already are, to either start engaging in some sort of physical activity in preparation and/or to increase your current level of physical fitness. Above all else, consult your physician directly on the physical requirements for a river adventure and how best to prepare for one. We encourage you to use the following questions to help think about the ideal level of endurance and stamina needed. Can you…

  • Ascend and descend two flights of stairs carrying a 20-pound bag without using a handrail? This is similar to getting around camp with your dry bags.
  • Get up on top of a kitchen counter, stand up, and return to the floor without using a stool? This is similar to getting on and off the boats (particularly the motorboat if that’s the adventure type you’re on).
  • Climb several sets of stairs while urgently needing the bathroom? This is similar to locating and getting to the groover (toilet facilities) in camp.
  • Balance a plate of food on your lap while eating? If you choose to sit in the provided camp chair while eating dinner, your food will be on a plate in your lap.
  • Suspend your weight from a pull-up bar for 15 seconds? This is similar to holding onto the raft during the rapids. Sometimes you’re holding with all of your strength.
  • Do a UPS delivery person’s job from 6 AM-8 PM? This is similar to the activity level you’ll likely experience on your Grand Canyon rafting adventure. You’ll be sitting down and getting up multiple times a day, walking around with heavy bags, hiking and exploring, maneuvering around camp, etc.


#3 Be Ready to Fight the Dry Climate

Fishing by Ralph Hopkins,  Arizona Rafting Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: Ralph Hopkins

Be prepared for A LOT OF SAND. Keep your skin as hydrated and moisturized as possible to avoid cracking and painful cuts, especially in your hands and feet. Take a heavy-duty balm or moisturizer to fight the extreme elements (wind, water, sun, sand) you’re exposed to all day, every day. If you’re from a generally humid area, bring some saline nasal spray as your nose dries out quickly in the arid climate!


#4 How to Pick the Best Type of Trip for Your Group

Arizona Rafting Grand Canyon, Photo Credit Ralph Hopkins

Photo Credit: Ralph Hopkins

First, look at the physical abilities and interests of yourself and/or everyone in your group. The best plan is to pick the trip that works best for the one in your group with the least ability. Then, consider how long you would like to be on the river. There are trips that last one week to two weeks.


#5 How to Get to the Grand Canyon

 Arizona Rafting Grand Canyon, Photo Credit Tom Coates

Photo Credit: Tom Coates

Most visitors to the Grand Canyon fly into Phoenix Airport (PHX) or Las Vegas Airport (LVA). There is also a small airport in Flagstaff, located 1 hour 45 minutes from the South Rim, and some North Rim travelers fly into Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). No matter where you land, you will need to rent a car because public transit is very limited.


Rafting tips and photos provided by Arizona Raft Adventures.


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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

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