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Grand Canyon Rafting Trip & finish up at Sedona Spa?

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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:11 PM
  #1
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Grand Canyon Rafting Trip & finish up at Sedona Spa?

I have a milestone birthday coming up in a couple of years - and thought I might try to scope out plans for a "Bucket List" Trip. It might just be a girlfriend trip- and would like to take a raft (with a touring company) down the river to the bottom. Stay one night at Phantom Ranch. Hike out early the next day. Then off to Sedona for 1-2 nights at a nice spa-like spot for pampering, dining and a little shopping.
Could fly in to Phoenix or Vegas - whatever makes the most sense.
Thinking September might be optimal?
Does anyone have Tour Company recommendations for the rafting trip and Itinerary recommendations? I'm anticipating this will be my one and only trip - so want to plan well. Thanks for any suggestions!
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Nov 8th, 2013, 02:31 AM
  #2
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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www.azraft.com


Classic Adventure trip. Four oar boats rowed by a crew member + one paddle boat powered by guests - everybody takes turns paddling different days.

I did the 2 week full canyon trip in May and can't say enough good things about the trip and the company.

If you can afford the two weeks (time & %) go for it, otherwise either the upper or lower half trips. Different experience, but both great. For the upper half trip you are escorted out of the canyon by crew - I don't think they will let you stay at Phantom and hike out on your own since they are responsible for getting you back safely. And honestly, after spending a week in the Canyon away from civilization staying at Phantom Ranch was the last thing I'd want to do. You see far more interesting places along the way and experience the best the canyon has to offer.

Happy to tell you anything you wish to know, either here on fodors or by pm.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 04:14 AM
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I went the Arizona River Runners and thought they were good. Are you wanting powered boat, oars, John Boat, or ??

I actually did their shortest trip which is only 2 nights on river/ 1 at Bar 10 Ranch- and what most consider the least spectacular part of the canyon (the last 90 miles). We really enjoyed it. I'm sure a longer trip would be even better.

Each of the companies operate very similar. Some of them might have better food and depending on the guide you get will determine which company would be best.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 04:16 AM
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I probably should have asked, how long do you want to spend on the river too. That is going to determine where and what kind of boat you want.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 05:34 AM
  #5
 
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If you put grand canyon rafting into the search box at the top of the page you will find lots of threads on this.

One site to look at is:

http://www.gcroa.org/Pages
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Nov 8th, 2013, 06:43 AM
  #6
J62
 
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Here's one such thread from a year ago, started by me

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-motorized.cfm
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Nov 8th, 2013, 04:39 PM
  #7
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Thanks so much! I was just thinking about 2 nights. So if we did 2 nights on the river - I'm glad to understand I may not want a 3rd at Phantom Ranch. Realistically - I would like to keep the entire trip to 7 days - include travel and 2 days in Sedona. Thanks for the tips on the Grand Canyon part of the trip!
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Nov 8th, 2013, 06:29 PM
  #8
J62
 
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Well, if you are only talking about two nights on the river that really doesn't give you may options, if any. A non-motorized trip takes 6 days to get from the starting point (Lee's Ferry) to Phantom ranch. It's 90 miles on the river. There is no other place to get in or out. The next place after PR at mile 90 is Diamond point at 230 or so.

I do not know if any motorized trips do a mid point change over at PR. They could certainly get there in 2 days but I doubt any outfitter would go that fast. Being IN the GC rafting on the river has more to do with exploring all the many side canyons, hiking, seeing ancient dwellings, etc, so I doubt anybody would rush in 2 days to PR.


A GC rafting trip is like no other experience I've ever had. For 230 miles over 2 weeks the only signs of modern civilization you see are the bridges over the river at Phantom ranch. In some ways it's very harsh. You camp on a beach, $#%$# in a makeshift outhouse overlooking the river, bathe, pee in the river, get sand everywhere, get cracked finger tips, sunburn on the top of your legs and raft burn on the bottom, get sand everywhere, especially when a wind storm kicks up in the middle of the night. You get hot during the day, and freezing whenever you go in the water that's never above 50 degrees, blisters on your feet.

Yet at the same time you have wonderful comforts. Great food, liberal over 21 beverage policy, camaraderie of singing songs in a circle after dark, no contact with the outside world - period. No radio, no wifi. No 4G, 3G, 2G, or 1G. You don't know who won the football game, and you don't care. You don't know what's up with the Karsashians, and you don't care. Tales of geology and history from knowledgeable guides, did I mention liberal over 21 beverage policy?, fresh baked cakes every night, sandwiches for lunch every day. Get it? SANDwiches.... hiking on cliff ledges 1000' above the river, with only 3' of ledge between you and a splash, wading through pristine pools and getting splashed by spring fed waterfalls in side canyons you never knew existed, and making friends with people from all over.

It really is a bucket list experience. But you need more than 2 days...
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Nov 9th, 2013, 08:07 AM
  #9
 
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Even my trip was 4 days/3 nights total. And most would consider that a very very short GC rafting trip.
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Nov 9th, 2013, 09:42 AM
  #10
 
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Look at westernriver.com or twriver.com for a 2-night rafting trip. Both had those options available but they transport you to/from Las Vegas so you would need to rent a car and then drive to Sedona.
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Nov 9th, 2013, 11:55 AM
  #11
 
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>>You don't know what's up with the Karsashians, and you don't care.<<

That's true for me wherever I am.

If you choose one of the companies WhereAreWe recommends, you might think about doing your spa time in or near Las Vegas. I can't think of the name of the place, but there is a spa in or near Las Vegas that is highly recommended by Fodorites.

Lee Ann
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Nov 11th, 2013, 12:15 AM
  #12
 
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As others have said, that is a severely limited time frame for a Grand Canyon raft trip. If you can handle hiking out with all your gear, I would recommend an "upper half" (Lee's Ferry to Phantom Ranch, hike out) trip over a Whitmore trip that begins where many "full river" trips end (river mile 187). Some companies even run empty rafts from the Whitmore helipad (where the guests depart) to the takeout; by all accounts, the scenery and rapids do not compare to the previous sections of the river.

The only 2-night trip that I could find other than Whitmore trips is the 3 day Upper Canyon motorized trip offered by Canyoneers: http://canyoneers.com/choose_flagsta...tml#UpperGrand
I would think that this trip would be really rushed; you'd probably be blowing past a lot of the attractions and side hikes. As far as I can tell, all of the other Upper Canyon trips offered are at least 4 days, 3 nights. Keep in mind you'll probably need to attend an orientation session the day before the trip.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 04:13 PM
  #13
 
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The upper half is probably your only choice if you have to make your trip that short. Even motorized, the Phantom Ranch to Whitmore Wash trip takes 4.5 days (http://www.grandcanyontourcompany.com/wwmidle.html). You'll miss the best rapids, but still plenty of amazing sights. Best trip of my life! Video inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-ZyL...uVHVgGTteCD2Gw
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 05:58 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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This s almost exactly what I want to do for my milestone b day in 2015
Can you share blue slipper what you do book or review when you get back?
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Feb 24th, 2014, 01:13 PM
  #15
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. My trip is still a ways off, too jodiehickey. I'm trying to put together and price out the plan so I can invite my friends and they know what they are committing to!
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