How to Bathe on a Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

By Krystal • November 19, 2019

Bathing on your rafting trip can be challenging for a few reasons. The biggest hurdle is the cold water of the Colorado River. The water temperature is about 50 degrees, which feels quite chilly even on the hottest days. Additionally, not every campsite will have a good wading area to bathe in. Some beaches are rocky by the river, some quickly drop off, and others may have a fast flowing current nearby. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you stay clean and feeling fresh on your river trip!

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes or face wipes work great for a quick clean up at night or in the morning. You can also use wipes to clean your feet and put lotion on before getting into your sleeping bag. It is almost impossible to rinse your feet and get back to your campsite without getting sandy again.

Sit in the front

Depending on the rapid, those sitting in the front of the raft may be hit with a little splash or get completely soaked. Either way, the first seat will give you a good rinsing off.

Side streams and waterfalls

Take advantage of every opportunity you have to swim in the side streams or stand under a waterfall. The water is typically clear and not as cold as the Colorado River. Although no soap is allowed in or near side streams, they are great to rinse off in and leave you feeling refreshed.

The “jump-in/ jump-out” method

We’ve found this technique to be the best way to bathe in the Colorado River. When you come across a good bathing beach, take a deep breath and jump in quick! Then jump out, lather up, jump back in to rinse off, and jump out! Then dry off using your sarong. This is the best way to limit your time in the cold water.
Often, we try to avoid pulling into camp when it’s super sunny and hot, so you may not want to get cold and wet at that time of the day. Pack biodegradable soap in your day bag so you can bathe at lunchtime. This gives you a chance to bathe when it is usually hot and allows time to warm back up. If you have long hair, your souvenir mug can help with washing it.

Moisturizing Lotion

Lotion is a key ingredient to feeling rejuvenated as the canyon air is extremely dry. The longer your trip, the more important this is as the constant wet to dry can take a toll on your skin. You will likely want to moisturize every day.

Bathing is handled differently in the canyon and it may be challenging at times, but we think experiencing the majesty of the Grand Canyon is well worth it!