If you’re looking for a multi-day adventure through the heart of the Grand Canyon that’s rigorous, challenging, and absolutely unforgettable, you have to check out Arizona Raft Adventures (or AzRA)! Experience the Canyon like never before: splashing through whitewater rapids, sleeping under the stars, embarking on side hikes through some of the Canyon’s most beautiful terrain, bonding with other adventurers and guides alike over delicious, fresh-cooked meals—and so much more. AzRA offers the perfect opportunity for families (*children must be 10 or older), groups of friends, couples, and even individual adventurers to indulge their wilderness-loving side. These adventures are definitely not for the faint of heart (or the out of shape); however, you can choose and customize tours to fit your fitness level and even to accommodate disabilities!
Arizona Raft Adventures is a third-generation family-run company, running guests down the Colorado River in rafts since 1974. Since that time, they’ve been committed to safety, true wilderness fun, guest satisfaction, and environmental awareness. Their incredibly skilled and friendly river guides have an average of 14 years’ experience, and are more than capable of helping you through just about any situation the Canyon could throw your way. You can choose from a variety of raft options and adventure length options (the entire length of the Canyon, the top half of the Canyon, or the bottom half). AzRA even offers several kinds of specialty trips (e.g., a trip specifically designed for hikers, a kayaking trip, a yoga retreat trip, and more) or custom-designed chartered adventures.
Arizona Raft Adventures is based in Flagstaff, AZ: they provide complimentary service between Flagstaff and the Colorado River at the top of the Canyon (for upper Canyon adventurers), from the River at the bottom of the Canyon back to Flagstaff (for lower Canyon adventurers), or between the River and Flagstaff at each end of the journey (for full Canyon adventurers). They also provide necessary camping gear, including a tent (for every two people on your reservation), sleeping bags, waterproof bags to hold your gear, a life jacket, a guidebook, first aid supplies, a portable toilet, cooking utensils plus all meals, and more. There’s no doubt that AzRA journeys are meant for tourists willing to “rough it” (remember aforementioned portable toilet!)—but not much can beat sleeping under the stars at the bottom of the spectacular Grand Canyon.
Arizona Raft Adventures Features and Amenities (in most tours):
- Experienced, friendly river guides who will steer you through the rapids, help you set up camp, cook delicious meals, describe the passing vistas (history, geology, ecology, etc.), and more!
- Large, sturdy rubber rafts intended for touring—propelled by a motor, guide-powered oars, or crew-powered paddles, depending on your choice
- Campsites used for decades, selected by your guides; camping gear (described above) included on every trip
- Freshly cooked meals prepared by your river guides throughout the journey
- Adventures can be tailored to accommodate individuals with physical or mental disabilities: just discuss the nature of accommodation needed with management
- Optional side adventures, including some of the Canyon’s most magnificent hikes
Notes and Things to Improve:
- Arizona Raft Adventures does not offer day trips! The shortest tour (upper Canyon) lasts 6-7 days, while the entire Canyon trip can take 14 days
- Please note that even the motorized tours require a certain level of physical fitness; similarly, the half-Canyon tours require hiking either up or down Bright Angel Trail, which is incredibly physically demanding. AzRA doesn’t have a weight limit or health requirements, but they do ask that you’re aware of your abilities and, if worried, check with your doctor before signing up for an adventure
- During AzRA adventures, you may be exposed to extreme weather conditions: extreme heat, cold, sun, winds, etc. Make sure you prepare for all conditions by bringing lots of layers (especially wicking material), lotion (skin dries out very easily under the desert sun), sunscreen, aloe in case of sunburn, etc.
- Children must be at least 10 years old to go on a Motor Adventure, 12 for a Classic Adventure, or 16 for an All Paddle Adventure; all minors must be accompanied by an adult, and if that adult is not the legal guardian, all legal guardians must provide signed permission. Note, though, that there is no upper age limit for passengers!
- Any passenger weighing more than 250 lbs or with a chest or waist circumference larger than 52 inches should contact the office so that a properly fitted life vest can be arranged. If you require medication, be sure to bring two doses so that the guides can keep one for you—just in case!
- Please note that all passengers must attend an informational meeting at 7pm the night before departure
- AzRA tours run between April and October, when there is the best water flow through the Canyon for rafting
Sample of Popular Arizona Raft Adventures Tours
Also known as the “hybrid trip,” this is AzRA’s most popular tour option, as it’s perfect for guests with a range of fitness, abilities, and interests. Choose between two types of non-motorized raft: an oar raft powered by the river guide (and/or any guests who want to participate!), or a paddle raft, where the entire crew of six guests and one guide are involved in powering and maneuvering the raft. You can choose from among the three trip options: Full Canyon (14-16 days), Upper Canyon (6-7 days), or Lower Canyon (9-10 days).
This trip is perfect for guests with any (or no!) amount of whitewater rafting experience, as well as children as young as 10—as no paddling is required. The Motor Adventure is only available to run the whole Canyon (though it takes significantly less time than a Full Canyon adventure on a non-motorized raft: only 8-10 days). This trip also allows plenty of time for outside activities such as swimming, hiking, or just relaxing and enjoying the unsurpassable views!
All Paddle Adventure:
Travelers looking for the most intense and involved whitewater rafting experience—requiring paddling the raft 100% of the time!—should look into the All Paddle Adventure. Join others who share your taste for adventure, strenuous physical challenges, and tight-knit teamwork. Like the Classic Adventure, you can choose from among the three trip options: Full Canyon (14 days), Upper Canyon (6 days), or Lower Canyon (9 days). Please note that children under 16 may not participate in this particular adventure.