(Check out the Beginner’s Guide for more basic rafting information)
Only a few companies offer day-trips on the Colorado River near Grand Canyon. The guides will take you rafting for 1 day (Or a “half-day”), and provide round-trip transportation from places like Page AZ and Peach Springs, AZ.
Just one of these tours is actually in the Grand Canyon. The rest are still awesome, popular trips that offer a “Grand Canyon” experience.
A longer trip through the heart of the Canyon is more ideal, but maybe you just don’t have the time or budget (Right? Those extended trips are expensive).
Maybe you just don’t like the sound of “white water” and “rapid?”
Then you’re in the right place, because the smooth water float is just for you – family friendly and chill.
The Smooth Water 1 Day Trip
The 1/2 day float trip starts at the Glen Canyon Dam and ends at Lee’s Ferry (River mile zero). Lee’s Ferry marks the official beginning of Grand Canyon National Park on the Colorado River – so you’re technically not in the proper Canyon, but it’s the only day trip without rapids.
It’s a motor trip offered by Aramark Wilderness River Adventures.
These day trips operate from March through November, based out of Page, Arizona. Highlights include stopping to view ancient petroglyphs and floating through the scene of the famous Horseshoe Bend.
The entire experience is a round trip of about 6 hours, beginning and ending in Page.
Here’s the Google Map link to their office where the tours begin and end.
Rates (including park fees) are about $100 per person, and children must be a minimum of 4 years old.
Rafting in a day from the South Rim
If you’re hanging out at the South Rim of Grand Canyon and don’t care to drive all the way to Page AZ and back for just a one-day rafting trip, then Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines will do the driving for you.
They’ll pick you up at your South Rim area hotel for the float trip, returning you to South Rim 12.5 hours later.
The airlines at the South Rim formerly offered deluxe day trips to Page via plane or helicopter that involved the smooth water float, but they don’t seem to be offering this anymore.
The Hualapai White Water
The Hualapai River Runners offer the only one-day, whitewater rafting trip that’s legitimately in the Grand Canyon. They provide round-trip transportation for the day, beginning and ending in Peach Springs, Arizona.
Peach Springs is located roughly halfway between the South Rim and Las Vegas, on historic Route 66.
This is a motor ride that’s available from March through October. The put-in is at Diamond Creek, and there’s an option to take-out via a helicopter flight that lands you in Grand Canyon West (the Skywalk).
You run a few notable whitewater rapids (Like the Killer Fang!), stop at a waterfall, and take in some history at Separation Canyon.
The cost for this rafting trip in 2021 starts at $325 per person.
The Black Canyon below Hoover Dam (Las Vegas)
Black Canyon is not a part of the Grand Canyon, but provides a viable day trip in the area on the Colorado River.
It’s more of a Las Vegas oriented river adventure, since Black Canyon is below Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, beyond the end of the Grand Canyon.
This is a smooth water motor trip. It runs year-round, with limited availability in winter. You’ll spend about 3 hours on the water, or 6 hours door-to-door from Las Vegas.
Rates are $115 per person.