Colorado River Smoothwater Rafting near Grand Canyon

Smoothwater Rafting near Grand Canyon

If you want to enjoy the beauty of the Colorado River without the whitewater rapids, a smoothwater rafting or kayaking  adventure is the trip for you. Smooth Water rafting and kayaking trips takes place at two different locations just outside Grand Canyon National Park. One takes place in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area a few miles above the park and actually ends at Lee's Ferry in Grand Canyon National Park. The other option is rafting and kayaking trips through Black Canyon below the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, close to Las Vegas, NV. These are  great trips for families and first time boaters traveling in the Grand Canyon area. Read the guide below to learn more about smoothwater trips.

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Colorado River Smoothwater Rafting and Kayaking Options

Smooth Water Rafting Trip to the Grand Canyon

This scenic river trip begins outside of Page, AZ at Lake Powell's Glen Canyon Dam and ends at historic Lee's Ferry in Grand Canyon National Park. From Page, a two-mile ride through the Glen Canyon Dam Access Tunnel will bring you to the bottom of the dam, where you'll start your journey down the Colorado River. A trip the whole family can enjoy, this 15-mile ride will bring you past towering sandstone cliffs to historic Lee's Ferry. Ancient pictographs, desert wildlife, and awesome vistas await! After a relaxing day on the river you'll continue your tour in a comfortable coach bus or van, with a beautiful drive across the scenic Navajo Indian Reservation back to Page, AZ. This trip is also a short drive from the North Rim and South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Smooth Water Kayaking and Rafting Trips through Black Canyon

Kayaking or Rafting the Colorado River through Black Canyon is an adventure you won't soon forget.  The water runs clear and green through the lower Colorado River for a smoothwater kayaking and camping trip the whole family can enjoy. This stretch of river starts below the Hoover Dam and goes down river to Willow Beach.  On the way you'll have a chance to see bighorn sheep, raptors, and other desert wildlife. The trip includes numerous beautiful side canyons as well as Emerald Cave, one of the trips most photographed destinations. One of the highlights of the trip is experiencing Sauna Cave and the Arizona Hot Springs which are a short hike from the river. Stopping along the Colorado River’s beautiful beaches and sleeping under the stars makes this trip an incredible experience. Lake Mead is a short drive from here and Las Vegas Nevada is less than an hours drive.

One-Day Rafting and Kayaking Checklist

Below is a quick checklist for a one-day whitewater or smoothwater rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. This list is for people doing a motorized whitewater rafting trip with the Hualapai River Runners in the lower Grand Canyon or a smoothwater rafting or kayaking trip from Glen Canyon or Black Canyon.

Rafting Tours (Motorized Rafts)

Your Grand Canyon whitewater adventure uses motorized rafts that are designed specifically for traversing the Colorado River. The Colorado River uses a rating scale of 1-10. Rapids on the one-day whitewater trip are up to class 7. This is comparable to a class III+ to IV rapid on a regular whitewater scale. You will not encounter any rapids on the one-day smoothwater rafting or kayaking trip.

Kayak and Canoe Rentals

Canoe and Kayak rentals are a great way for boaters who are comfortable on the water and want to do their own trip but don’t have whitewater boating expereince. These rentals are only available for Black Canyon trips, Glen Canyon trips are guided rafting tours only.

Personal Gear & Packing List

  • We highly recommend the following personal gear:
  • Waterproof shorts (lightweight, fast drying material)
  • Rain jacket/poncho for use through rapids
  • Tennis/athletic shoes or river-type sandals
  • Lightweight jacket/polar fleece sweatshirt
  • Lightweight pants for sun protection *
  • Hat with retention strap
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • Small bag for belongings
  • Swimsuit (optional)
  • T-shirt
  • Sun block
  • Bandanna
  • Towel
  • Money
  • Phones/cameras- We suggest keeping your phone/camera in a zip-lock bag, even when it is in your dry storage container or has a waterproof case when you're not using it.
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