Grand Canyon Rafting - Colorado River
Lee's Ferry to Pearce's Ferry
While some argue the Middle Fork Salmon is the best multi-day river trip in the west, a Grand Canyon rafting or kayaking trip is the best multi-day river trip in the world. High volume whitewater rapids and a multi-week trip are the initial draws. The exquisite scenery and countless side hikes are the most memorable parts of the trip. A whitewater rafting or kayaking trip through Grand Canyon is a truly unique experience. The key is how to get on a trip. Many commercial companies are booked years in advance, and the weighted lottery system is not easy to win so plan ahead.
When to raft the Grand Canyon
One of the most common questions is when is the best time to raft the Colorado River. The obvious answer is whenever you can get on a trip. That being said, it is really about personal preference. The spring has wild flowers, milder temperatures and tends to be more windy particularly in May. While June and July are hot and dry until monsoon season start, meaning the Little Colorado is typically clear and a highlight for many.
Monsoon season of later July and August cools down temperatures some and can lead to amazing sights of hundreds of waterfalls of different colors cascading into the river and typically the highest water of the year. Unfortunately, this rules out certain hikes at times due to lightning and flash flood concerns. The fall is cooler, a little dryer and the days are shorter. As a result the dry hikes more fun. Winter can be cold with sections of the canyon where the sun never reaches the river, however there are less people on the water.
Mile 0: Put-in at Lees Ferry
Put-in at the Lees Ferry. The right side of the beach is for private trips and the left side is for commercial trips. The rangers will show up to check your pfds and make sure you are bringing all the required equipment.
Mile 17.1: House Rock
Mile 20.7: Rapid Roaring 20’s
Mile 33.3: Redwall Cavern
Mile 61.5: Little Colorado River
Mile 77.1: Hance Rapid
Mile 88.1: Phantom Ranch Boat Beach
Mile 90.8: Horn Creek Rapid
Mile 98.2: Crystal Rapid
Mile 131.1: Bedrock Rapid
Mile 134.3: Tapeats Creek
Mile 150.2: Upset Rapid
Mile 157.3: Havasu Creek
Mile 179.7: Lava Falls
Mile 187.4: Whitmore Heli-pad
Mile 225.9: Diamond Creek Take Out
A common take-out. Diamond Creek flashes yearly causing groups to have to go to the lake. This really means Pearce Ferry which is now above the lake. There are some fun challenging rapids downstream: 231 Mile Rapid, 232 Mile Rapid (worth scouting), and 234 Mile Rapid. Below Separation Canyon the river gets flat with minimal current – happy rowing! Outfitters typically have a jet boat meet trips at Separation Canyon for a fast, thrilling ride across the flatwater.
Mile 280.7: Pearce Ferry Take Out
Don’t miss the take-out. Just downstream is Pearce Rapid a nasty drop that was formed as the river cut down through the sediment of the reservoir creating a new channel.