1-day raft Grand Canyon-West rim

Old Nov 29th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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1-day raft Grand Canyon-West rim

We're heading to Vegas for our 10-year anniversary trip (without the kids!) for 6 days in June 2008. We haven't been to either Vegas or the Grand Canyon. Will probably return to Vegas later on, so we definitely wanted to reserve at least two days to experience the Grand Canyon.

Everyone wrote very positively about their river raft trips that were 3 days+. We have experience white water rafting, but only for one day trips. Didn't see anybody giving a thumbs up or thumbs down on the ONE day rafting trip run by the Hualapai Indians. Anybody?

If you don't have personal experience with this, do you know where else I could look up for unbiased comments?

The other question I have for those experienced rafters -- is the rafting experience significantly better in the South rim vs. the West rim? Should I try to talk my husband into the 3 day trip instead? He wasn't keen about doing #2 in the bushes, but I read in one of the posts that they have take along port-a-potties for that.

Here was the initial itinerary:
- 5 hour nonstop flight to Vegas arriving 2:30pm

- rent a car and drive 2 hrs. to Peach Springs - Hualapai Lodge

- get up early for 1 day raft trip, then drive about 3 hrs. to South Rim, overnight in South Rim

- enjoy the sunrise and drive along South Rim, then a 5 hr drive back to Vegas.
dalyrm is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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Do you have a web site describing the west rim raft trips? There's not many in/out spots out there and not many rapids, but it still would be a nice one day ride.

We've done several long river trips but pulled out where these likely begin. The river marker starts at Lee's Ferry (mile 0) and the next place you can take out or join a trip in progress is mile 88/89 near Phantom Ranch, below the main south rim visitor area.

From here the next 'out' spot is river mile 187, where you can chopper in/out to a guest ranch near the rim. This is downstream from Lava Falls and all the other really impressive whitewater.

This may be where the Hualapai are taking you for the start of the trip, not sure. The next take-out is mile 226 at Diamond Creek and this is on Hualapai land. This is the traditional take-out point for the two week oar powered trips and probably you are either getting out here if coming from mile 187 or putting in here and going downstream.

Below Diamond Creek (mile 226) there are only a couple of weak rapids before you hit the flat waters of upper Lake Mead, even though you are still in a canyon. Eventually this spits out into Lake Mead and the usual take-out is at Pierce Ferry (mile 280).

So I'm guessing the one day trip involves choppering in at mile 187 and getting out at mile 226 (a long day's float) and the 3 day trip goes on thru the flat water to Pierce Ferry. This would have to be on a large motorized raft.

These trips are not as prime as the upper canyon trips with the really nasty rapids but are still no doubt enjoyable and worth a short trip.

Should I try to talk my husband into the 3 day trip instead? He wasn't keen about doing #2 in the bushes, but I read in one of the posts that they have take along port-a-potties for that.

There are porta-johns and all solid human waste is taken out ... even for the 14 day trips, where the porta-potties are really full.

Go for it, you'll have a good time.

Bill_H is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Hi Bill,
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Great info.

First, here is the Hualapai website which I got from the nps.org website: http://www.destinationgrandcanyon.com/runners.html

It's very vague re: the trip, only talks about a helicopter flight.

This morning I found a tourist agency website that provided a lot more details:

Here's a cut/paste:
The trip will cover 35 miles of the Grand Canyon and includes the last rapids on the Colorado River. The rapids are in the first 10 miles of the trip followed by 25 miles of scenic calm water from Diamond Creek to Quartermaster Canyon. From there, you will be lifted out of the canyon by helicopter to the rim above. We think of this trip as a very scenic trip with a little bit of whitewater and a short but scenic helicopter flight. There are about 10 rapids, 4 of which are Class III (on a scale of I-VI) with a fun "roller coaster" type ride and you are going to get wet!

So, this raft trip is more about enjoying the scenery, and if you have limited time at the Grand Canyon.

Well, we're going to have to decide if we want the more intense rafting and spend less time in Vegas this go-around. The 3-day trip definitely sounds fun and thanks for the heads-up (pun intended) on the porta-johns.

FYI-- if you are ever in Charlotte, try to visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center. We live 25 min. from there, and it is loads of fun for a reasonable price. Recommend a morning or afternoon outing (as opposed to evening) so that you have time to decompress afterwards. Really.

Thanks again, Robin
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Hi Robin,

Looks like the one day trip puts in at mile 226 (Diamond Creek), which is where we have taken out on two long trips (after starting at mile 0 two weeks earlier).

So they go to Quartermaster Canyon at mile 260 and chopper you back to the rim. There are several medium sized rapids between mile 226 and 237, then it's flat because of the backup from Lake Mead, but you are still in a deep canyon all the way to mile 260. So it will be very beautiful and peaceful.

This would be a very nice day trip and I'd recommend it.

The 3-day trip definitely sounds fun

I'm pretty sure the 3 day trip starts at mile 187 and there are some bigger rapids between here and Diamond Creek 40 miles downstream, but you are on a bigger rubber raft (one that has brought passengers from Lee's Ferry at mile 0 to their drop-off point here at mile 187), so you don't get the thrill rides like in a smaller raft (going over class 10 Lava Falls in a small raft with its 37 ft drop is very exciting) but you would get the solitude and peace of the river nights when you camp.

I would try to do the 3 day trip if possible just for the camping experience, but if you can't find the time then the one day trip sounds like a good excursion too. If you like one of these shorter trips you can always come back for the two week floats in a small raft

Bill_H is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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we did a 3 day raft trip this summer. My wife was very nervous about everything. She is still talking about how much she enjoyed it. Spending the night in the Grand Canyon is just amazing. We enjoyed the time at Bar 10 ranch as well. Most of the rafting companies use Bar 10 as a starting or ending place. The only thing, I hate for your kids to miss out on it. They wouldn't be missing much at Vegas, but GC is as good as any Disney trip.
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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By the way, we used Arizona River Runners. They were really good, but I think most of the companies that do this type of thing do a good job. The food was better than you might think.
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Thought of this later. As far as doing #2. It is the most unusual and the most scenic "dump" one will ever take. but seriously, they put the small toilet (it is like a metal box with a toilet seat on it)
well away from the area where everyone is at. Our company put a lifevest about 100 feet away from it to act as a key. If the lifevest wasn't there, it meant someone was using the toilet. The toilet has plenty of privacy behind a bush or tree. This is one trip that you will cherish forever.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Thanks again, Bill and Mr. Spirobulldog. Sorry it's taken me a few days to write back. Been under the weather and then getting all caught up in the Christmas hub-bub.

All great info., and appreciate the logistical detail on the toilet situation too. Right now I'm leaning toward the one-day this time around and taking the longer roller coaster one later, maybe with our two girls when they are teenagers. (Would just need to make sure no teenage boys were going with us, too!) Would be good for them to "rough it" for a little while -- no makeup, no telephone, no Ipod . . . They'll just love us.

Take care, and thanks again! Robin
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Hi dalyrm: I took the one-day white water trip with the Hualapai in April of last year & had a BLAST. A couple of things: it's going to be hot on the river so once you get wet, stay wet! Also: the helicopter airlift at the end is dependent on good weather, i.e., no winds, lightning, etc. In the event of inclement weather, the helicopter flight out may be cancelled, in which case they will motor you aaaaaaaaaallllllll the way down to South Cove on Lake Mead. That will extend your trip another 2 hours, so don't schedule anything time-sensitive, such as dinner reservations or a show in Vegas, for the evening after you get off the river.

Have you decided where you're going to stay yet? If you decide to go for the 1-day trip, try to stay in Peach Springs or somewhere nearby at least the night before, I'd recommend 2 nights in case you're late getting off the river. The Hualapai Lodge is where the trip begins from, so that's the logical choice for most, BUT - it's right near a train route and those trains go by all night long and mercy but they're LOUD (in fact there's a sign by the front desk offering free earplugs"). A place that is about 10 minutes away and doesn't have a problem with train noise is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. If neither of these places has room or appeals to you, Williams, AZ would be your next best option, it's about 1 hour & change from Peach Springs.
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