Grand Canyon National Park Rafting Begins With One-Day Float Tours

Travel & LeisureOutdoors

  • Author Susan Bissonnette
  • Published September 12, 2013
  • Word count 549

Summer is a great time to go rafting in the Grand Canyon. But don't wait until the last minute to book your tour as these trips are famous for selling out.

Google Maps

First, let's look at one-day raft tours that depart from the Grand Canyon's South Rim, which is the main point of entry to the National Park. If you are trying to find this location on Google Maps, search for the town of Tusayan.

Anyhow, South Rim rafting tours come in two versions. The first tour takes you by bus to your raft, which waits at the base of Glen Canyon Dam in Page, AZ. The other tour takes you to Page by airplane instead and also includes a fun Jeep ride through Antelope Canyon.

The raft tour itself covers 15.3 miles of river and takes you to Lee's Ferry. After that, you take a bus ride back to where you started in Tusayan.

No Rough Water

The water on this stretch of the river is always calm, so kids ages four and older are allowed. It is actually a great tour for everyone, even senior citizens. You can take a whitewater tour if you want, these are the multi-day tours that cost around $1500 for each person.

There is another fun one-day raft tour that leaves from Las Vegas. This one kicks off with a helicopter tour to the bottom of the West Rim. From there, you'll ascend, transfer to a bus and go to the base of iconic Hoover Dam.

This float tour is eleven miles long. You will meander through the picturesque Black Canyon on your way to Willow Beach. You will have great fun catching glimpses of the many species of wildlife that call the Grand Canyon home.


Grand Canyon rafting trips operate April to November. This is because the water is brutally cold during winter and early spring. The waters are also swift during the winter and spring since the melting snow from the Rockies flows through the canyon on its way to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

Be prepared for how popular these tours are with travelers to the Grand Canyon. Because of that, you need to book your seats at least a week in advance. Waiting until the last minute to get your seats is just too risky. Forget trying to book within 24 hours, especially if you are staying in Flagstaff or Williams (if you do, factor in a 60-mile drive and a 6 a.m. tour check in).

The simplest thing to do is book your seats online. Just stay away from the travel sites. Instead, go direct to the actual tour supplier. These are the company's that own and operate the tours and are the only ones in the position to offer their trips at a discount. Be sure to complete your transaction on the site so you can get the low Internet rate.

Let's Recap

Your entire family will have a blast on one of these float tours. You can tour the South Rim from Tusayan or the West Rim from Vegas. The tours take all day so be prepared to leave early, there are no half-day tours. Book these trips well in advance and buy them on the Internet as doing so will save you significant cash.

Travel reviewer Susan B. is a specialist on Grand Canyon river rafting. She recommends beginning here in order to get these tours at the cheapest possible rate:

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