Best Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic locations on the planet and is recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

It was granted reserve status in 1893 and then as a national monument, before becoming a National Park on February 26th, 1919. It has duly been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering greater protection and recognition to the area.

Best Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

The sheer scale of the canyon is unlike anything else on earth, with its main body stretching 277 miles long, spreading up to 18 miles wide, and reaching depths of more than a mile deep in places.

The Canyon was formed by millions of years of erosion, as the Colorado River combined with the elements to create the spectacle we see today. 

Many people visit to seek the thrill of adventure by hiking, driving, cycling, and rafting along and across the spectacular scenery that surrounds the length of the Grand Canyon.

Although there are many activities to enjoy, this article will focus on the rafting trips available.  

Let’s explore the Best Grand Canyon Rafting Trips! 

5 Best Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Hualapai River Runners @ Grand Canyon West

The sovereign Indian Nation of the Hualapai Tribe set up the business enterprise of Grand Canyon West. Located on their ancestral reservation, visitors have the opportunity to learn firsthand all about the rich history, culture, and traditions of the people. 

Both one and two-day whitewater rafting tours are available, with some hiking and challenging rafting facing the rapids included! Visitors can also go hiking whilst learning about the area’s natural wildlife from the people who have lived there for generations and have a deep understanding and respect for nature. 

Rivers & Oceans

A one-stop shop for finding Grand Canyon rafting trips since 1987.  The company works as an intermediary between customers and each of the rafting organizations who operate in the Canyon.

Their vast experience and local adventure knowledge, as well as a strong comradery with local businesses, allow them to offer a huge variety of trips and experiences.

One can book a short tour of one or two days or commit to one of the longer trips that can last up to eighteen days! Forward-thinking is part of their model, as they are already organizing rafting trips for customers in 2023. 


Founded by George Wendt in 1969, OARS has grown into a standard-bearer for rafting tours of the Grand Canyon and numerous other locations across the country.

With decades of experience, this family-run business truly excels when it comes to adventure holidays. Their guides can share some lesser-known mysteries and secrets of the area with the knowledge they have built up over many years. 

They offer a variety of trips throughout the Canyon, which range from five days to eighteen days in length. Trips are possible in either inflatable boats or the small, wooden boats known as dories. 

Canyon Explorations / Expeditions 

The company has been running since 1987, offering hands-on, challenging, and participatory experiences on the Colorado River.  Their ‘Hybrid’ trips include the chance to be flexible, varying the kind of vessel that you traverse the waters in each day.

The ‘All Paddle’ trips mean the participants will be part of a paddle boat team each day of the trip. 

The company also offers some ‘Specialty Trips’, in which participants can enjoy a variety of focused and specialized experiences. One can go hiking, learn about local botany, or discover the mysteries of the stars through astrology.

There’s even the opportunity to experience the pleasure of a string quartet’s beautiful music echoing around the Grand Canyon! 

Outdoors Unlimited

The company has been operating since 1969, giving them incredible experience, local knowledge, and industry know-how. They use this experience to craft an engaging and exhilarating experience, whatever the length of the trip.  

They offer a fantastic range of trips from April to September, which range in length from five to fifteen days.

Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

There are opportunities to discover the Full Canyon but if time is not on your side, then they offer shorter trips along the Upper (88 miles) or Lower Canyon (192 miles). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Admission To National Parks Free?

Admission to the Grand Canyon is included as part of the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass. For those that don’t have the annual pass, then a one-off admission fee is required for those in a car, riding bicycles, or wishing to trek the area on foot. 

What Kind Of Boats Are Used On Rafting Trips?

Participants can enjoy a variety of trips using numerous water-based vessels. Paddle boats, kayaks, and dories are each used, depending on the location, water conditions, and type of trip.  

There are both motorized and non-motorized boats and rafts that are used for trips in the Canyon.  Each offers a different experience, as they range from taking a cozy trip downstream with your feet up, to taking on mother nature herself by navigating the ferocious rapids. 

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Grand Canyon?  

Although people visit the Grand Canyon all year round, not all the areas are accessible through the calendar year.

The land to the north of the Grand Canyon, the North Rim, is only open from May to October, whilst the land to the south, the South Rim, is accessible through the seasons. 

Most visit through the summer months, but it should be noted that the temperature can reach extreme levels in the depths of the Canyon.

Going late spring or early autumn is likely to provide the freshest experience, and the river will be quieter than the peak season. Visiting during the winter will also offer a unique experience, though be ready to wrap up warm! 

Do Companies Need A License To Operate In A National Park? 

Individuals, groups, companies, or any other for-profit organization is required to obtain a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) to operate within a national park area.

The specific regulations and requirements such as the cost of the application process may vary from state to state.