Diamond Creek to Pearce Ferry
Length: 35 miles; 1 to 3 days
Gradient: 7 ft/mile
Permits: Required from National Park Service, must also pay fees to Hualapai to put-in at Diamond Creek
1 Day Grand Canyon River Overview
A Grand Canyon white water rafting trip is the best high volume river experience in the west. Many people don’t realize there is a way to spend just a single day rafting the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. The one day Grand Canyon rafting trip is a long day and best done by motor raft to cover the miles. Here is our page on longer Grand Canyon rafting expeditions.
The shuttle down Diamond Creek road is scenic, long and bumpy. This is the first opportunity to drive to the river in over 225 miles. Once on the water the rapids get going right away. The river is flowing through the lower Granite Gorge of the Grand Canyon which contains some of the bigger rapids on the river.
One Day Grand Canyon Map
Rating System for the Colorado River
This section of river is unique in that it doesn’t use the level I – V International Scale of River Difficulty that is used on most whitewater rivers world wide. Instead it uses a 1 through 10 system. A 10 is arguably like a class IV+ rapid. Cataract Canyon, just upstream from Lake Powell also uses this rating system.
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. Grand Canyon in 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 vibrant clear blue water. Some try to time the high water of July and August to see the biggest whitewater the Grand Canyon has to offer.
One Day Grand Canyon Rafting Reviews
Perfect day of rafting the Grand Canyon. We always wanted to raft the Grand Canyon but thought you had to spend 2 weeks on a trip. The one-day trip had time to hike and the helicopter flight out was memorable.
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Monsoon season in Grand Canyon starts in late July and continues through August. Monsoons bring afternoon thunderstorms that cool down temperatures and can lead to amazing sights of hundreds of waterfalls of different colors cascading into the river. Unfortunately, this also causes Diamond Creek to flash and routinely washes out the road. Many times the road crew is able to get the creek cleared so that day’s trip while a little beind schedule is still able to make it to the river.
The fall is the mildest time to be in the canyon. The weather is a bit cooler, a little dryer and the days are shorter.
Commercial 1-day Rafting Tours
Commercial trips meet at 7 am in Peach Springs, Arizona and the Hualapai Lodge. From here it is over an hour scenic drive to the put-in at Diamond Creek. There are port-a-poties for the last modern facilities before launching. Guides will give a pre-trip orientation and then head downstream.
Running the River
Typically there is a stop to visit Travertine Falls in between the rapids and then lunch is provided by the outfitter at a second stop. Trips arrive at the helicopter pad around 2 pm. The flight is a quick jaw-dropping 5-minutes to the rim. Those that continue on the river have a couple of hours of flatwater before reaching Pearce Ferry. It is about an hour back to Peach Springs. Those that took the helicopter ride have time for a short stop at the Skywalk and also arrive back around 6:30 pm.
The one-day Grand Canyon rafting tour costs around $350 dpending upon when you go. It is an additional $100 for the optional helicopter flight and $65 to access the Skywalk.
One Day Grand Canyon Highlights
Mile 0: Put-in at Diamond Creek
Put-in at the end of Diamond Creek “Road.” Many trips rafting the upper reaches of the Colorado River end their expeditions here. Make sure everything is rigged and ready since Diamond Creek rapid is immediately downstream.
Mile 0 (225.9): Diamond Creek Rapid (4)
A common take-out for Grand Canyon multi-day rafting trips, Diamond Creek flashes yearly closing the road keeping river runners from using the Diamond Creek access point. This really means Pearce Ferry which is now above the lake. There are some fun challenging rapids downstream:
Mile 3.4 (229.3): Travertine Rapid (2)
Travertine Falls comes in on the left. It is a beautiful cascading creek on the Hualapai Reservation. Boaters must have permission from the tribe to stop here.
Mile 5.3 (231.2): 231 Mile Rapid (5)
The canyon narrows up here causing a nice wave training and some interesting currents. Stay in your raft because swims here would not be fun.
Mile 6.5 (232.5): 232 Mile Rapid, Killer Fang Falls (5-7)
Pull off to the left side of the fun wave train before crashing into the Killer Fang rocks at the bottom. This is the rapid where it is believe the honymoon couple Glen and Bessie Hyde fell overboard and drowned in 1928.
Mile 6.5 (233.9): 234 Mile Rapid (3-6)
A fun rapid and good time to celebrate after making it through Killer Fang!
Mile 7.9 (235.3): Bridge Canyon Rapid (3-5)
Mile 8.6 (236.0): Gneiss Canyon Rapid (3-5)
Mile 12.5 (239.8): Separation Canyon Rapid (underwater)
Separation Canyon where the Powell Expedition split is also where the river ends today and becomes 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. If Lake Mead ever gets the river back into its original channel a couple more notorious rapids of the canyon Lava Cliff and Separation will reappear.
Mile 33.6 (260.9): Quarter Master Canyon
The Hualapai River Runners one and two day trips have an optional helicopter ride out of the canyon here.
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. Just upstream the canyon opens up signaling the true end to Grand Canyon.