Everything you need to know for your
Grand Canyon experience
Find the trip that you reserved in the list below and download the trip prep packet and the required paperwork for the trip. The trip packet will give you additional logistical information, a detailed packing list, transportation information, and much more.
The forms should be filled out and returned to our office as soon as possible.
Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona is the closest major airport. Most of our rafters fly into Phoenix and then fly, take a shuttle, or drive a rental car to Flagstaff. Sky Harbor is a 3 hour drive or a 1/2 hour flight away from Flagstaff.
TRAVEL TIP: Plan to carry a small bag of essentials, including your rafting shoes & hiking boots onto the plane as there will not be time to locate lost luggage before your trip!
Groome Transportation provides van shuttle service between Phoenix and Flagstaff. With 13 departures each day, the shuttle is a convenient and reliable transportation option. Online reservations: www.groometransportation.com Phone reservations: (928) 350-8466 ($49 one way). Groome Transportation offers pick-up service at each terminal in Sky Harbor Airport and drop-off at the Amtrak train station in downtown Flagstaff. Amtrak is about a 10 minute cab ride from our meeting location the Holiday Inn Express.
Flagstaff is located at the intersection of I-40 (major east-west route) and at the northern terminus of I-17.
The full range of rental agencies are available in both Phoenix and Flagstaff; rates and conditions vary year to year. Locations are either downtown (closer to the Holiday Inn) or at the airport. Investigate and plan for potential difficulties with pick up after your trip including if the agency is open for vehicle pick up after 5pm, on Sundays, etc. Also please allow adequate time for the pick-up and drop-off of your rental car both before and after your trip.
What to Bring & Pack
On the river, shorts and t-shirts are the usual wear but other clothing and equipment are necessary, too. A full “bring list” will be supplied to each passenger, but here is some important advance information: A rain jacket and pants (rather than a poncho) is recommended. Everyone must have a hat or cap and sunscreen. Also bring a small towel and soap — must be biodegradable. Don’t forget a camera!
See the Trip Packets section above for a detailed packing list for each trip.
We serve coffee, tea, juices, and milk on the trips, and there is always plenty of fresh water available. We will also carry along any soda, beer, wine, or liquor you wish to purchase and have brought for you, however, your drinks must be in cans or plastic containers — no glass.
Sleeping bags, tents and sleeping pads are supplied for all passengers. We recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet for the hotter months in the summer.
Canyoneers supplies the following items for use by participants during their trip.
The large waterproof dry bag (approx 26 H x 16 Diam once properly closed) will be provided at the orientation meeting to each passenger to keep clothing, sleeping bag and ground tarp dry while on the river. The dry bag is a soft, pliable bag and will provide sufficient room for the clothing list we recommend you bring. During the day, you will not have access to the dry bag or its contents.
Passengers must use the dry bags Canyoneers supplies.
Think of the smaller dry bag as carry-on luggage for storing items you want to have access to during the day (sun shirt, sunscreen, rain gear, long underwear, sarong, etc). The bag’s measurements are 13” Height x 8” Diam. You’ll take this dry bag onto whichever boat you want to ride in for the day along with your life jacket, your water bottles and your ammo can.
Provided for toiletry items, sunscreen, extra film, medication, etc. We recommend putting these items in small ziplock bags in the ammo can. The ammo can is approximately 12 x 7 x 6.
Life jacket US Coast Guard approved class V life jackets.
Canyoneers provides camp chairs (with legs) on our trips.
Medium weight sleeping bags are provided for all passengers. The sleeping bag will be packed (in addition to your personal belongings) in the dry bag issued to you at the orientation meeting.
Our sleeping pad measurements are 77″ x25″x2″ (paco pads for motor trips, therm-a-rest Base Camp inflatable pads for oar trips). We suggest you use our pads rather than bringing your own simply for ease of storage and because space is limited. Air mattresses take too much time to fill and empty to be worthwhile — we recommend you do not bring them. The ground tarp may be used under your sleeping bag if you wish to sleep under the stars rather than in a tent.
A tent will be assigned to each trip participant/couple. The tents are dome tents with a bottom and a zip closure. They sleep two comfortably. If you are traveling alone, you may have a tent to yourself — please request ahead of time so we are sure to have plenty. Your Guides will provide instructions/demonstrate how to set up your tent.
During the hotter months, it is recommended that you bring a twin-size sheet to use for cover if wishing to sleep on top of the sleeping bag.
Pillows take too much room, so bring a pillowcase to fill with clothing instead, or purchase the small pocket pillow listed in our River Trip Supply catalog.
Additional communal dry bags are provided for hiking shoes so these bulky and sometimes dirty items will not need to be stored with your clothing in your large dry bag. The shoe bags are available prior to every hike so you can change out of your river sandals and into hiking shoes if you like.
You will have access to your day dry bag (clothing changes), ammo can (toiletries) and personal water bottles through out the day; they will be stored on the boat right next to you. Water bottles and the small day dry bag can be clipped together to facilitate carrying and storing them on the rafts.
In the morning, a blow on the conch shell announces coffee is ready. Pack up your sleep kit and clothing dry bag; reorganize your day gear and day pack for the day’s hike(s). After breakfast, the process of putting camp away begins with calls such as, “last call for juice,” “last call for the water filter” and “may I have the tent bag?.” Next, the boats are reloaded with everyone’s help. Choose a boat for the day as you get ready to embark on another day in Grand Canyon.
Generally, you will be in the boats about half of each day and will make several stops: lunch, side canyon hikes, interpretive talks, and “frequent bathroom breaks.”
You may hike once a day or do up to three shorter hikes in a day. You may spend all day hiking one day and make up river miles another day or over several days. Some hikes begin at camp, others involve boating to reach the hiking area. There is time to disembark as a group, access shoe storage bags, refill water bottles, and grab daypacks.
Your guides will talk about the Canyon’s natural and cultural features in a variety of settings including while hiking, when stopping at an attraction site, while in camp, and while on the boat as you pass significant features.
Dine by the river at a new campsite each night. Your Trip Leader provides a nightly talk covering the next day’s logistics. Camp under the stars.
The inner canyon is a semi-arid desert environment. Temperatures are generally 20° warmer than the canyon rim, because it drops nearly a mile in elevation.
Weather in transitional seasons, spring (April – May) and fall (September), varies. In these months, there are fewer people, days are warm but not hot, nights are cool but not cold, and moderate temps are great for extended day hikes. In April you’ll catch the beautiful wildflowers blooming. There’s less rainfall from mid-April to May and in September. The softer spring and fall sunlight are a photographer’s delight.
Average April temperatures range from a low of 50°F to a high of 82°F; May and September reach into the 90s with lows in the 60s.
Summer weather (June – August) is the hottest time of the year in the inner canyon. Daytime temps range from 80°F to 115°F, and night temps range from 70°F to 90°F. Although 115°F is hot, the splashing Colorado River keeps you cool. Monsoon storms with heavy rain and sometimes hail are common in late June to early August.
The historic Phantom Ranch is located beside the creek in Bright Angel Canyon. It offers the only guest facility at the bottom of Grand Canyon near the Colorado River. It’s known for its rustic dining room and a chance to purchase drinks, snacks and send a postcard mailed by mule from the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Lee’s Ferry is located at the Colorado River near Marble Canyon and Page, AZ. Full and Upper trips will begin here. It is the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park by boat.
Hiking in or out, you will experience weather up on the south rim of Grand Canyon, which is much cooler and higher in elevation than temperatures down on the Colorado River.
The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world because of its magnificent natural features. Exposed geologic rock – layer upon layer in a rainbow of colored strata—rise over a mile above the river, revealing one of the most complete records of geological history that can be seen anywhere in the world. Grand Canyon is home to over 1500 species of unique vascular plants, 75 species of mammals, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, 25 species of fish, and over 300 species of birds.
We are dedicated to minimizing our environmental footprint in the world at large and to stewardship of the Canyon’s fragile environment. We are devoted to:
- Buying as much locally-sourced food as we can
- Using environmentally friendly products and recycled supplies on-river and in our office/warehouse
- Minimizing packaging waste by buying items in bulk
- Recycling in the office/warehouse and on-river
- Designing an on-river menu featuring organic and natural foods