Grand Canyon National Park – the Colorado River Trip
From any angle, the Grand Canyon is spectacular. However, to really experience the Canyon you need to journey along its River, the Colorado River is for most once in a lifetime adventure. The challenge of navigating the Colorado River through Grand Canyon is intense and one of the premier outdoor experiences in the world. The Grand Canyon National Park Service is an effort to keep the Grand Canyon wild; limits the number of the trips in any year.
Cruises on the River in Grand Canyon
Most of the expeditions are commercial trips and members of private parties often wait years to secure the valued permit in a lottery. Visitors draft on the river range from smaller kayaks and rafts with oars and paddles to the big S&J Rays which are up to thirty-seven feet long and fifteen feet wide; designed especially for Grand Canyons, these motorized vehicles can carry up to thirty people. The big rafts move rapidly over the Placid stretches of the river, leaving more time for exploring and hiking. The commercial raft trips are shorter lasting less than a week and the power trips can two weeks more.
What’s so special about the Colorado River Cruises?
Exploring the Colorado River is no picnic, there is work; loading the rafts with provisions and gears is the first step. Travelers are then given the safety instructions. Despite the challenge of the wild river, the tours have an excellent safety record. The commercial guides on the boat wear many hats from driving the boat to cooking the food and entertainment. The travelers became the guide’s trusted crew. Rafting on the river evolves into a daily routine. At the end of the day, the crew unloads the watercraft. Each person has a waterproof bag of clothing as well as for sleeping. The next step is setting up the tents. Evening meals are not always steaks but the food on the commercial trips is consistently good. Travelers get up early in a morning for breakfast and quickly loads the boats for day’s adventure. In the summer, it can be very hot. However, in spring or fall, one day probably hot and sunny and the next is cool and even cold. The water is fed by snow melt Rocky Mountains is always a chilly fifty degrees.
Stopping for lunch can often be a chance to explore; along the river, there are many opportunities for discoveries. Ancient fossils embedded in the rocks tell the story of a life about a half a billion years ago. Archaeological evidence of ancient people ranges from granaries on the Grand Canyon cliffs. Those with the thirst of adventure can take side trips; waiting up the Havasu Creek leads to a series of swimming pools. Just above the Deer Creek Falls, the trail leads to a Narrow section which is carved from the hard resistance sandstones. The Narrows is a spectacular side of a side canyon. Perhaps the most enchanting experience is watching the light change on the gigantic canyon walls especially at the sunset. For many commercial travelers, the trip ends at Diamond Bar where a helicopter lifts groups out of the Grand Canyon.