Grand Canyon Rafting: 1-Day Tours

Now's the time to start planning that trip to the Grand Canyon. One thing you'll definitely want to add to your itinerary is a 1-day rafting tour down the Colorado River. These trips are fun for couples and families and are guaranteed to make your National Park trip unforgettable.

Starting Points

There are two places from which you can take a one-day rafting trip: The South Rim and the West Rim. The South Rim is more applicable to travelers reaching the Park from northern Arizona cities like Phoenix, Sedona and Flagstaff. The West Rim trip is perfect for folks based in Las Vegas.

There are two kinds of South Rim trips. The basic one involves taking a bus from Grand Canyon National Park Airport to Glen Canyon Dam before embarking on the 15-mile float trip to historic Lee's Ferry. The deluxe option includes an airplane ride to the Dam and a Jeep tour of Antelope Canyon before hitting the water.

The float portion of these adventures is done on a motorized rubber pontoon boat that is equipped to hold up to 19 people including the river guide. Further, these float trips are done over smooth water, which means there are no rapids (those start after Lee's Ferry).

From Vegas

The West Rim rafting tour is actually a combo package that starts off with a helicopter ride to the bottom of the canyon. You'll get out there and explore the base as well as the Colorado River before getting back on the aircraft and ascending to the top. You'll transfer to a bus that will take you to the base of Hoover Dam.

River rafts dock at the base of the Dam. You'll head over to the watercraft, which is the same type of pontoon boat you find on South Rim trips, before shoving off down the Colorado and through majestic Black Canyon. The float itself is a bit more than 11 miles and concludes at Willow Beach in Arizona.

As noted, these adventures are rapids-free, which makes them suitable to kids ages four and up. Unlike multi-day rafting expeditions, there are no physical requirements, which also makes them ideal for active seniors. In the industry, we call these "soft" adventures, and are thus perfect for diverse groups of travelers.


One-day rafting trips are all-inclusive. This means they include round-trip ground transpiration to and from either your Las Vegas hotel or your South Rim accommodations. Lunch and professional guide service are part of the package. So is all safety equipment. The thing you have to concern yourself with the most is being at the pre-arranged pick-up point on time.

Rafting tours are seasonal and run from April to November. They can be booked anytime of the year, and, based on my experience, it's best to purchase them as far in advance as possible. Occasionally, you'll luck out and get a same-day reservation, but that's a rarity. I suggest you play it safe and book at least one week prior to your desired departure date.

Lastly, when it comes to getting the best deal on these canyon rafting adventures, I recommend purchasing them on the Internet. Further, book direct on the tour operator's website. But remember to complete your transaction online in order to qualify for the web discount.

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