SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2008

Life List: Raft And Hike The Grand Canyon

Explore hidden gorges and spy rarely seen wonders on this three-week raft trip designed specifically for hikers.

by: Tyler Williams

Grand Canyon, courtesy National Park Service
Grand Canyon, courtesy National Park Service

Back in the day, hiking and rafting in the Grand Canyon were as separate as boys and girls at a Catholic boarding school. They were two different pursuits requiring two different trips. But recently, raft companies have been experimenting with hybrid vacations that let you do both on one itinerary. Many outfitters now guide three-week "hiker trips," where the focus of the journey is as much about the trail time as the rafting. You can hike to the Anasazi granaries at Nankoweap, march to Thunder River, hit the North and South Bass Trails, and tick off the most amazing raft adventure of your life. It's the best of both worlds–lavish meals, monster rapids, and trailheads that most hikers can't reach.

You'll start this three-week epic at Lees Ferry and float a total of 277 miles, doing about 36 miles of hiking on the way. By mile 20, most trips have already knocked off their first river-access-only hike at North Canyon, where a natural water slide is pinched by polished canyon narrows. Each night, the guides scout out campsites on beaches or stairstep ledges notched into the world's greatest gorge. And the boatmen take care of dinner.

In the cooler shoulder seasons (especially April and October), many companies will call an impromptu layover day to set out on day climbs to the top of towering buttes or up seemingly endless side canyons. Got a fit group? Attempt the summit of the giant church-shaped Tabernacle above the inner gorge at mile 74, or loop from the narrows of Carbon Canyon to psychedelic Lava Creek beneath the eastern canyon's Palisades of the Desert near mile 69. Getting to either of these spots from the canyon rims takes days; from the river, it's an afternoon jaunt.

Sunrise, coffee, morning hike, midday float, afternoon hike, gourmet dinner, sunset. Repeat. You could get used to a rhythm like this.

Guide
Each of the following outfitters runs at least one hiker trip per season: Arizona Raft Adventures (azraft.co); Arizona River Runners (raftarizona.com); Canyon Explorations (canyonx.com); and Hatch River Expeditions (hatchriverexpeditions.com). Prices range from $3,000 to $4,000 per person.

Guidebook
Find loads of side hikes in Grand Canyon River Hikes, by Tyler Williams ($19, funhogpress.com).




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Burger King moving headquarters to Canada
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: star
Pacific Northwest
Alaska
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: NicholasBell
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions