River Trips Grand Canyon
The Colorado River flows through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Arizona and Nevada. (Photo: Colorado River image by TurboJJJ from Fotolia.com )
A mile deep and 10 miles wide, the Grand Canyon is a massive monument to the sheer force of nature. Nearly 2 billion years of the earth's geological history can be found by surveying its rocks. The 144, 500 mile long Colorado River snakes its way through the canyon and flows all the way to Mexico. Tours of the river by boat range from day-long sightseeing tours to week-long rafting excursions with meals, deluxe camping equipment and helicopter transfers included.
Both motorized and nonmotorized boat tours on the Colorado river are available. Nonmotorized boat tours offer a chance to enjoy the canyon at the pace of the Colorado river. Motorized boat tours are slightly less likely to capsize and offer riders a chance to walk around on the raft while floating. If traveling with an experienced guide, capsizing should not be a problem. Riders may choose to raft down whitewater or smooth water sections of the river on either single or multiple-day trips. Three- to 18-day trips can be expensive, and you must reserve those at least one year in advance.
In May the weather tends to be mild, but the river is often crowded. June and July can be extremely hot. August monsoons can create waterfalls down the canyon. From the middle of September to the end of October, the river is quieter, but occasional cold weather can make getting splashed more of a concern.
Colorado River Discovery
Colorado River Discovery offers a tour for people who have less money and time to spend and would rather enjoy a smooth water tour of the river. The tour company offers half-day guided raft tours of the Colorado River from the base of Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry. The six-hour excursion begins with a leisurely trip down the Glen Canyon access tunnel. Raft guides explore the history and wildlife of the river while explaining its current role in providing water and power to the Southwest.
Western River Expeditions
Western River Expeditions offers 187-mile six- or seven-day, motorized boat trips down the Colorado River with daily side hikes past streams, pools, green fern glens and Anasazi ruins. The tour meets in either Las Vegas or Marble Canyon, Arizona, and includes helicopter transport to the Colorado River's largest rapid, Lava Falls.
Colorado River and Trails Expeditions
Colorado River and Trail Expeditions offers both motorized and nonmotorized boat tours of the Colorado River. Motor boat trips range from eight to 10 days and cover either the lower or upper Grand Canyon regions. A deluxe grand canyon motor trip down the Colorado River also includes transportation to and from Las Vegas.
Both Outdoors Unlimited and Canyon Explorations/Expeditions offer trips down the Colorado River on a paddleboat, which is similar to a raft but smaller. In a paddleboat, six passengers paddle, assisted by a guide who helps steer. These tours have more of a reputation for capsizing and paddling requires more physical exertion than other tours, but the experience provides a work out for active riders.
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