Our rafting trip carries us down the entire 280 miles of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park, through a hundred whitewater rapids, with a motor to keep us moving so we can relax and enjoy the changing spectacle above us. Explore hidden side canyons, hiking among rock sculptures of every color — black, red, blue, and white — and enjoying numerous waterfalls and swimming holes. Socialize over tasty meals with a small group — just 14 of us! By night, sleep under a canopy of stars, as the river continues its journey of the ages. A Brief itinerary follows. Please see www.hetravel.com for more details.
- Arrival Day +1 Fly into Las Vegas in time for our 6 pm dinner and welcome orientation. Pack our waterproof bags and head to bed. Tomorrow is an early start!
- Onto The Rafts +2 Board our comfortable bus at 5am for a drive to Lees Ferry, where we meet our boat crew mid-morning and then hop on our raft to begin our river journey. Pick your favorite spot on the boat for our first whitewater rapids! Lunch each day is a hearty picnic on a scenic beach. Each afternoon, we set up camp for the night, enjoy a hot meal, and relax while the sun sets.
- An Anasazi Relic +3 After a hot breakfast (eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and coffee) we pack up camp — and we’re off. Every day offers changing scenery and opportunities to hike and explore the river banks, with colorful local history and geology lessons along the way!
- Sipapu: The Big Navel +4 Looking high up the cliff at Nankoweap Canyon, you can see an Anasazi / Hisatsinom granary ruin. High in the cliffs, sheltered overhead by a ledge of sunburnt sandstone, four dark rectangles are just visible from the river. Conditions permitting, we may take a 30 minute hike, zig-zagging up the cliffs, to the ancient structure. Later in the day we will witness the confluence of the Little Colorado River, sometimes clear aqua blue, and sometimes full of rich and thick brown silt.
- Wet and Wild +5 “Hold on tight!” is the call of the day, as we hit several stretches of white water in quick succession. Hance Rapids, rated 8 to 9, with a 30-foot drop from start to finish, is the biggest we’ve seen yet. We snap up, then abruptly find ourselves looking right down into a foaming hole of whitewater. More rapids: Pipe Spring, Horn Creek (rated 8-9), Salt Creek, Granite, and the thrilling Hermit!
- Hiking and Waterfalls +6 We have the opportunity to take some beautiful hikes today, many ending in picturesque waterfalls: Elves Chasm, Blacktail Canyon, Stone Creek, and/or Deer Creek Falls.
- Serious Whitewater +7 The day climaxes with Lava Falls Rapids, the Grand Canyon’s roughest, biggest whitewater. It’s also known as Vulcan Rapids. Many millenia ago, a volcano deposited lava into the canyon, which temporarily dammed the river, and still impedes the water’s flow.
- Pumpkin Springs and Filet Mignon +8 It’s our last full day on the river. Yet even after a week and 200 miles, the Grand Canyon still offers new sights, like Pumpkin Springs, the only warm-water spring in the canyon. We all realize, with a touch of melancholy, that this is our last dinner, and our last night, on the river. On a sandy stretch by the river, we reminisce about the week.
- Canyon's End +9 We scramble to break down our camp for our last morning on the river. Soon we will climb into a speedboat and whisk down the lake to Pearce Ferry, where a bus waits to take us back to Las Vegas. We will dine one last time together this evening at a nearby restaurant.
- Until Next Year +10 There are no scheduled activities today, so you may schedule a flight at your convenience. Many travelers choose to spend the weekend in Las Vegas, catching a star-studded show or hitting the clubs and slot machines.
- Important Notes
“As the Science publisher for National Geographic Learning I had very high expectations for this trip. I wanted to learn more about the geology and ecology of the area, learn about the impacts people have had on this ecosystem. My expectations were exceeded every day. This was a trip of a life time and the people I met on trip are now good friends.”Carl Benoit, Decatur, MI
“This is one of my favorite trips ever, with a little of everything: quiet times meditating on the beauty of the Grand Canyon, adventure running Class 4 river rapids, exercise hiking incredible side canyons and swimming in turquoise waterfalls, camaraderie with fellow travelers, excellent food, sleeping under the stars…truly an amazing trip.”Karl S., Denver CO
Although no rowing, paddling or other special skills are required for this trip, it will provide memories for a lifetime.
A week of floating the length of Grand Canyon National Park on a 14-person motorized raft; 7 nights of riverside camping, including 2-person tents and sleeping bags; Accommodations at a hotel in Las Vegas on first and last nights, typically in 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom suites with one large bed in each room; Single accommodations at the hotel if requested, which might mean a private room, or might be a shared two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite; Transfers between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon at start and end of raft trip; All meals during the rafting, with complimentary soft drinks, wine, and beer; Welcome reception in Las Vegas on Day 1; farewell happy hour with appetizers in Las Vegas after return from rafting; Experienced professional river guide and assistant, plus HE Travel Tour leader; Contribution to Grand Canyon Conservation Fund; Canyon guidebook. All HE Travel tours include complimentary Medical & Evacution Insurance.
What’s NOT Included
Airfare to and from Las Vegas; Transfers between Las Vegas airport and hotel; Dinner on arrival day; Gratuities for guides.
: Grand Canyon
* Plunge through whitewater rapids with such colorful names as Soap Creek and Lava Falls, on a 14-person motorized raft. No paddling necessary! * Enjoy gourmet meals provided by one of the Canyon’s top outfitters. * Cool off in cascading waterfalls. * Hike to the extraordinarily beautiful ruins at Nankoweap. * Find yourself by hiking up towering side canyons rarely seen by most visitors to the Park
Available 2015 Dates
May 15 to 24 – Open
July 17 to 26 – Open
August 14 to 23 – Open
August 28 to Sept. 6 – Open
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