There is only one way to experience the “power” behind the great wonder that is the Grand Canyon (i.e. the Colorado River) and that’s by boat. However, access to the river at the base of the Canyon means hiking or expensive flights into its depths. That’s why Papillon Tours, Grand Canyon Smooth Water Bus Tour is so special. This affordable tour shows travelers the exciting highlights of this fantastic river without the cost of more expensive aerial-based tours.
Smooth Water Bus Trip Tour Details
Travelers staying at Grand Canyon National Park’s Maswik Lodge receive door-to-door service on this tour. Otherwise, it departs from Grand Canyon Airlines terminal at Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan. The coach then begins the approximately 3-hour trip through Arizona’s Painted Desert to the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, AZ and near the Utah-Arizona border. Once at Page, visitors will descend to the bottom of Glen Canyon and greet their river guide who will take them on the 9-mile downstream rafting journey on the Colorado River. This trip brings you through the Glen Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Look up while you pass and you will see the tourists at the edge. They will look like ants. Stop for a brief walk among other natural wonders along the river’s banks. Take a swim if you like the cold water. The destination of the rafting trip is beach surrounded by pleasant hiking trails leading to an area full of Native American petroglyphs. At this point, a deli-style boxed lunch is served. The rest of the trip to Lee’s Ferry is part motorized, part drifting, allowing travelers extra time to snap photos. Discovery time is allotted in and around Lee’s Ferry before the coach returns you to the Grand Canyon that evening.
Smooth Water Bus Trip Highlight: Lee’s Ferry
Named for a ferry operator, John Boyle Lee, who used this unique geographic crossing of the Colorado to amass a fortune in the 1800s, Lee’s Ferry, AZ is a truly unique and special place to visit. The valley where the town sits, downstream from Glen Canyon and above Marble Canyon, is the only safe passageway across the Colorado River for nearly 260 miles. For this reason, it is a popular destination for river excursions including whitewater rafting journeys for which the Colorado is famous. In fact, Lee’s Ferry’s access to the Colorado and that river’s intimate association with its largest canyon makes this area the official northern border of Grand Canyon National Park. Lee’s Ferry is a member of the National Park Service and offers visitors a bevy of options for outdoor adventure, including fishing, camping, hiking, and, of course, river rafting.
Is the Smooth Water Bus Tour for You?
A much tamer option as compared to the white water rafting most often associated with the Colorado River, the Smoother Water Bus Trip is still a thrilling option for more adventurous tourists. This affordable trip allows you to see the river from the vantage point of its waters, get to know some of the outer regions of GCNP (Lee’s Ferry, the Painted Desert, etc.) as well as have the chance to view unique art and history through Native American petroglyphs. Because of the harsher nature of the rafting journey, this trip is best suited for school age children and older, as well as adults free of medical conditions which would impede their ability to withstand the rafting environment. The hiking portion, though short, may be too strenuous for older seniors, for examples. However, for the right demographic, this affordable all-day trip offers a really fun and unique way to see northern Arizona which will certainly rank among the highlights of any vacation. The rafting portion of the trip is provided by Wilderness River Adventures. A similar but more in depth option is the Scenic Canyon River Adventure. The trip begins with a Grand Canyon Airplane Tour to Page AZ, followed by a walking tour of the famous Upper Antelope Canyon. You then meet the at Wilderness River Adventures to start the Rafting Tour.