GRAND CANYON TOUR GUIDE - Spring/Summer 2017


Running the river

From the Grand Canyon Tour Guide print publication

In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell led one of the first documented explorations down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with nine men in four wooden boats. After several months, Powell completed this first harrowing journey with just five men and one boat less.

That was almost 150 years ago. Nearly everything related to rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon has changed. That is, except for the passion and desire of many to run the river!  For many, running this stretch of river ranks up there with a safari to the Serengeti Plain, climbing one of the world’s tallest peaks or visiting the world’s ancient cultural icons.

Each year approximately 20,000 people from all over the world make their pilgrimage to northern Arizona to join one of the sixteen professional river outfitters licensed and exclusively authorized by the National Park Service.

Life on a Grand Canyon rafting tour is pleasant and refreshing. Multiple days of exciting rapids, exploration and sleeping under the stars will likely pass much too quickly. Add some incredible side-hike options throughout the Canyon and this is definitely a life-changing experience.

To many, the most thrilling event on a Grand Canyon white water rafting trip is riding the rapids. Only after passing through rapids like Soap Creek, Hance and Sockdolager can one appreciate the achievements of Major Powell and other early river explorers.

Each river running outfitter prides itself on being incredible stewards of the Canyon. River running outfitters are passionate about protecting this resource and sharing the Grand Canyon with their guests.

A rafting vacation requires some advanced planning, but it is well worth the time and effort. One of the easiest ways to find more information and select an outfitter is to visit the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association website at