Since our trip is an outdoor activity with exposure to the elements, we consider our trips to be moderately strenuous. You should be an active and healthy person to best enjoy this trip. You are responsible for carrying your personal bags to your campsite and setting up your camping gear. Our guides will give instructions the first night to demonstrate how the camping equipment works.
As with all aspects of the trip, we encourage guests (with no medical restrictions) to participate in as many activities as possible. This includes helping the guides load and unload the rafts at camp. Some of the hikes off the river require more effort than others. The guides will try and give you a brief overview of the hike. If you would rather not participate on any hikes you may stay back at or near the rafts. You will enjoy the trip more if you have prepared with some cardio exercise and are in better physical shape.
If you book a trip with us that requires a hike-in or hike-out of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, the difficulty of the trip will increase dramatically. See the National Park Service’s Hiking Tips page for more information.
If you have any medical questions consult your own doctor and call our office so that we may help answer your questions.
We take portable toilets, which are clean and comfortable. These facilities are available morning and night while in camp. During the day, the main toilet will be stowed away, however, we do have a “backpacker’s bag” system we can use during the day if the need arises.
Please never hesitate to ask the guide if you need the facility during the day. The National Park Service asks that all guests urinate in the wet sand or into the river, due to the arid climate. For this reason, we recommend two-piece swimsuit or shorts/skirts for women.
We take pride in offering well-rounded meals that are in generous quantities to satisfy everyone’s appetite. Our menus have been crafted through years of satisfied guests.
Each morning brings a different menu of classic breakfast items. You’ll wake up to freshly prepared breakfasts such as egg omelets or pancakes and sausage. Fresh fruit, orange juice, shade-grown organic coffee, and an assortment of teas, and hot chocolate accompany each breakfast.
Lunches are a favorite for many with its variety of deli meats, with all the fixings. There are always cookies, pickles and chips to round out the meal.
At the end of an activity filled day, it’s good to recharge with a hearty meal. You’ll enjoy a variety of tasty dinners such as salmon and wild rice, build your own chicken fajitas, spaghetti, and grilled rib-eye steaks. There are always an array of side dishes and salads to fill your plate. After an active day, you can enjoy our scrumptious desserts guilt-free. An assortment of snacks (candy bars, fruit, trail mix, cookies), as well as water, sodas, and electrolyte replacement powders are available at all times on the trip.
We feel that our meals are nutritious and will accommodate the majority of guests. If you have a medically or ethically mandated special diet, please inform us so that we can determine if we can accommodate you. We happily accommodate all vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians. Please note your needs in your trip participation form, being sure to include helpful details, such as if eggs and dairy are okay.
In the dry hot climate of the canyon, with elevated exposure to the elements and physical exertion, we recommend you abandon restrictive diets that you may follow at home which are purely voluntary such as low fat or low carb. If you have any severe food allergies please contact our office with plenty of time before your trip to come up with a plan of action for your trip.
We have 7 different trips to choose from. A 3 Day Motor trip with a day at the Bar 10 Ranch, 6 and 7 Day Motor, which ventures through the heart of the Grand Canyon, 8 Day Motor, 6 or 8 Day Oar which require a hike-in or hike-out and a 13 Day Oar.
We also have a number of Hiker’s Special trips during the cooler and more hiker friendly month of April.
The simplest answer is that most people book their Colorado River rafting trip during the peak periods of the summer, (June-August). If you have flexibility in scheduling your trip and want to take advantage of the great Arizona weather, Arizona River Runners suggests booking your rafting trip from May to early June or in September.
Arizona River Runners offers two modes of transportation and each has its unique advantages. Our motorized trips are our most popular. Our guests have told us that they like the comfort of the motor trip and the ability to see more of the Grand Canyon is less time. Oar powered trips are for those who want to experience their river rafting trip in a more intimate way.
For most of our guests, this is their first river trip. Arizona River Runners provides all the equipment and expertise; you just come along for the fun!
One myth is that reservations must be made years in advance. The larger your group or more restricted your time period, the more it pays to plan ahead. For the most part, we will be taking reservations right up to the start of the season so give us a call or check our website to find out what is still available.
Being a desert environment, mosquitoes and flying insects are virtually nonexistent. Snakes and scorpions are seldom seen, but your guides will be well equipped to deal with any visitor. If you’re lucky you might have your camera ready when a Desert Big Horn Sheep or Great Blue Heron happens by.
As young as 8 years old on our 3, 6, 7 & 8-day motor trips and 12 years old for our oar powered trips. Above the minimum age requirements, limitations are only decided by your desire for adventure.
Like many outdoor activities, there are a number of risks that should be considered and whitewater rafting is no exception. However, Arizona River Runners has an outstanding safety record. Just remember, our first priority on any trip is your safety.
Once you have reserved your trip we will send you a complete information packet full of useful information including a detailed packing list. Keep in mind that Arizona River Runners provide all your camping gear as well as all your meals on the trip.
It is not necessary to know how to swim; in fact, we prefer you stay in the boat while rafting! Everyone must wear Coast Guard approved life jackets AT ALL TIMES while on the river. These PFDs are provided by Arizona River Runners. You will always be wearing your life jacket but, if you end up in the water, you do need to be able to at least move yourself around, maybe toward the boats or maybe toward shore. We think the risk of ending up in the water on a motorized trip is low. It is higher on an oar trip so, if you don’t know how to swim, you might consider choosing a motorized trip rather than an oar trip. It’s up to you to make a decision you are comfortable with.
Most rivers are rated on the International Scale of 1 to 6, with a 6 meaning the river is impassable. However, the rapids in Grand Canyon use a different scale. The Colorado River is one of three rivers in the world rated by individual rapid on a 1 to 10 scale.
This system of rating arose due to the variety of rapids and volume of water in the Canyon. Grand Canyon rapids are formed in a pool-drop system, which means after every rapid, there is a flat, calm section of water. On the 1 to 10 scale, flat water is rated a 1 while more technical rapids in Grand Canyon, like Lava Falls and Crystal, can be rated a 10 depending on water level.
CRMP stands for Colorado River Management Plan. The National Park Service re-writes a plan every 10 years that determines the use of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. Your future access on the Colorado will be determined by this plan.
We recommend you review the latest information found on the Grand Canyon National Park Service website.
It is your responsibility to research and purchase a travel protection plan to protect you and your trip investment. We highly recommend purchasing coverage as a number of guests do use their trip insurance each year. Consider travel protection for trip cancellation/trip interruption, emergency medical, trip delay, baggage delay and more. Remember to insure your flight to and from the area as well.
For information on plans offered by a suggested insurance provider, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0131.
Please see our blog post about the Essential Eligibility Criteria for rafting with Arizona River Runners.