Frequently Asked Questions
"The Grand Canyon"
- Is a chasm 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide
- Is 2,400 feet above sea level below Yavapai Point, about 4,500 feet below the South Rim and 5,400 feet below the North Rim, for an average depth of about one mile.
- Took 3 to 6 million years to form; erosion continues to alter its contours.
- Includes approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles and five species of amphibians.
- Comprises six of the seven climatic belts recognized throughout the world, varying from Mexican desert at the bottom to Arctic-Alpine in the San Francisco peaks.
- Was formed by seismic upheaval.
- Continues to be shaped by the Colorado River, which flows west through the canyon, averages 300 feet in width (at the gauging station near Kaibab Bridge), 45 feet in depth, and flows at an average speed of 4 miles per hour.
"The Grand Canyon National Park"
- Was made a national monument in 1908, and became a national park in 1919.
- Encompasses 1,900 square miles.
- Is 190 miles long.
- Contains some 277 miles of the Colorado River.
- Is populated by five Indian tribes: the Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute and Hualpai.
Q: Why are your rafting trips eight or fourteen days? Isn't it possible to go through faster?
A: We take the time to make sure you have the best experience possible. We refuse to rush you. Our Grand Canyon raft tours become unforgettable trips for every participant. Only when you have looked up at its rim towering a mile above you, explored its many side canyons, ridden the Colorado's exciting rapids, and camped on the river’s beaches can you begin to appreciate the Grand Canyon. Time never seems sufficient for all there is to see and do on a Grand Canyon river rafting excursion.
Q: Which month is the best month to go on a Grand Canyon white water adventure?
A: We do the most Grand Canyon river rafting trips during June, July, and August, when many families plan their vacations. During the summer, daytime temperatures range from 80 to 100 degrees, with a 10 to 20 degree drop at night. The lack of humidity, coupled with frequent swimming or wading, helps keep you comfortable. Temperatures are milder in the spring and fall, but it is still pleasant to be in the canyon. Many wildflowers are in bloom in April and May. In the fall, fishing is generally very good.
Q: Is it a problem if I cannot swim?
A: It is not a problem if you cannot swim. In fact, neither can many of the people who come on our Grand Canyon raft excursions. We supply U.S. Coast Guard-approved life preservers. Each person is required to wear one at all times when aboard one of the boats or rafts.
Q: We would like to bring our children. Is there a minimum age requirement for GCE river rafting excursions?
A: We recommend our expeditions for children eight and older. If your children have camping experience, enjoy outdoor life, feel at home around water, and adjust easily to being with an adult group, they will enjoy the trip with you. We leave the final decision to parents. We require that adults accompany youth under 16 on all of our Grand Canyon rafting excursions.
Q: What if I have never been camping before I come on a Grand Canyon raft trip?
A: It is not out of the ordinary for some of our passengers to have never slept outdoors. If your impression of camping is a damp and “buggy” experience, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The canyon is a friendly place to sleep—you can roll out your bed almost anywhere. Infrequent rain showers seldom last long, and with the right gear, you can enjoy them. Chances are, once you try river camping you will look forward to sleeping under the stars in the clear canyon air
Q: I am on a special diet. Will it be possible to stay on it while on the river?
A: If we know before your Grand Canyon river trip, we will try to bring the special foods you prefer, or you may bring them and we will provide the storage.
Q: What kind of toilet facilities will we use on the river?
A: We carry portable sanitary toilets, which will be set up near camp every evening in locations that ensure privacy and stunning canyon vistas. They will also be available for use through the following morning. We stop frequently throughout the day. Your guide will explain the proper sanitary procedures for these rest stops.
Q: I get seasick easily. Is this a problem on a river trip?
A: You are extremely unlikely to experience any kind of motion sickness while aboard our rafts. This has not been a problem with any of our guests. The up-and-down action of the boat while going through rapids is fun and lasts for just a few minutes at a time. On calmer water, the motions you feel are relaxing.
Q: Is it possible to charter a river trip?
A: We arrange private Grand Canyon rafting trips for many different groups and organizations. Special charter rates are available.
Q: Is there fishing on your Grand Canyon river rafting excursions?
A: Yes. Rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout are plentiful in the Colorado River, and you will find ample time for angling. We invite you to bring a rod. Please make it the small folding type that can be easily stored when not in use.
Q: Have you delayed or canceled any of your previous trips?
A: We have seldom canceled, postponed, or delayed one of our scheduled Grand Canyon river rafting excursions. However, due to weather conditions, water fluctuations, insufficient reservations or other factors beyond our control, we cannot be responsible for the delay, cancellation, or rescheduling of any trip. In the event we cancel or reschedule your trip, we will refund your money or apply it toward another trip, whichever you prefer.
Q: Should I purchase vacation insurance? What if there is an emergency on the trip?
A: We encourage our river raft passengers to purchase vacation insurance, which covers personal property and personal injury. Many insurance companies offer such policies at modest daily rates. Although we spare no effort to assure a safe trip, a river expedition or a canyon hike is not without some risks. We are equipped to handle emergency first aid. In case of illness or accident, Grand Canyon Expeditions Co. will attempt to provide aid and arrange evacuation when your guide determines evacuation is necessary. We cannot assume responsibility for injury to passengers or personal belongings, or for time or expenses incurred from negligence of others. Cost of specialized means of evacuation, such as helicopters, and medical care beyond first aid are the financial responsibility of the ill or injured person.
Q: The fourteen-day rowing trip consists of several Dories. What is a Dory?
A: A Dory is a hard-hulled boat approximately 18 feet in length that carries a maximum of five guests. The dories present an extremely graceful ride through the canyon.
Q: I still have questions about the trip I've selected.
A: If our detailed information, which we will send to you when your reservations are confirmed, does not answer your questions, please call or write our office and we will gladly assist you.