By Luke Plunket

Searching for the Grand Canyon smooth-water rafting tour which has it all? Here’s one which includes a smooth-water float tour, a backcountry Jeep trip, and an plane ride which will cover in thirty minutes what would take days to see on foot.

This seasonal journey (runs from April to November) begins with an plane trip from the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Airport. The airplane heads east where you will see The Painted Desert, the Navajo Indian Reservation, and the very stretch of Colorado River on which you will be floating.

You will get off the plane at Page, AZ, and move to a 4×4 Jeep for a backcountry trip to famed Antelope Canyon, where you can find slot canyons. These slim pathways, a few of which scarcely let a group walk single-file between them, are made from superbly weathered Navajo sandstone and are a photographer’s heaven.

The Jeep then takes you to awe-inspiring Glen Canyon Dam, a 700-foot giant that imposes its will over the awesome Colorado River. You’ll drill down through a two-mile access tunnel before you get to the riverbank where you will get on your professional-grade river raft.


The float trip goes to Horseshoe Bend, an excellent “U” in the river that brilliantly contrasts the river’s turquoise waters with the iridescent orange sandstone cliffs. Downstream, you’ll get out on a sandy beach and have a quick walk to view a set of old petroglyphs.

You’ll go on to pontoon on the Colorado River before you get to the historic town of Lee’s Ferry, started by John D. Lee, who was retained by the Mormon Church to operate the ferryboat service so church members could make their way south. Development of Navajo Bridge in 1928 closed down the ferry. These days, the town, which consists of a preserved fort and trading post, is the kick off point for multi-day white-water trips.

Lee’s Ferry will be where you’ll switch to a climate-controlled luxury coach and will be your mode of transport back to the National Park. On the way, you’ll see from ground level everything you covered previously by air. Additionally there is a stop at Cameron Trading Post, which sells genuine Navajo Indian crafts.

During summer time, bring plenty of sun block and dress yourself in loose-fitting clothes. Furthermore, I suggest a hat with a brim. Swimming is encouraged, so either wear your suit at the get-go or have on your suit beneath your clothes. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water, which will be provided as part of the trip.

Great guides make this tour remarkable. The plane portion has a taped narration interpreted in 10 different languages. Your river guide understands the Colorado like the back of his hand and is very happy to talk about the area’s geology and natural history. Bus drivers are very well versed on the phenomenal scenery and points of interest you will be passing through on the way to the South Rim.

I’ve found this water-rafting tour with plane flight and bus trip to be among the best trip packages available at the South Rim. It is also priced right. But experienced travelers can usually get a much better deal when they buy it on the web. Amazingly, I have seen it reduced by up to 35 %.

This one-day smooth-water float tour is a fantastic way to see the Grand Canyon. Making it an even more wonderful package are the plane, jeep, and coach segments. Children ages four years and up are capable of doing it. And there are no demanding fitness specifications. All you have to bring is your sense of adventure. Then get ready for the greatest canyon experience of your life.

About the Author: Mr. Plunket is a travel journalist who reports on all things Grand Canyon. He recommends checking out this Grand Canyon Rafting site if readers want a special price if readers want a special price on the float tour mentioned in this article.


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