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Planning a girls only trip and need some
advice/recommendations. Any rafting companies recommended?
Specific guides? Time of the year to go? Minimum/maximum
number of days to spend? Any advice on logistics? Any other
advice that I haven't thought to ask? Thanks for your responses
Celebrating Our Milestone Birthdays
Check out www.westernriver.com for their great Grand Canyon river
trips. A group of us went on the 6 day last summer and had the
time of our lives. It was the best trip we ever took (and we've
all traveled a lot). Go for the 6 day, not the 3 day (too mild,
end of the trip for guides, not as scenic). They were a top
notch outfit - fantastic guides, great food, big safe yet awesome
raft, cots to sleep on, perfect in every way! Would go again!
You may have your heart set on the Grand Canyon and I certainly wouldn't blame you. I
wanted to throw out a recommendation anyway. In Stanley, Idaho there is a company called
Rapid Transit. They run trips (I think 7 days or so) down the Middle Fork of the Salmon
river. I have done this trip twice with friends and it is truly one of the most
beautiful remote places I have ever seen. (I have done a lot of hiking around the Grand
Canyon and it's great as well). I would at least check it out. The guides are
wonderful, usually play guitar, set up tents and cots for you and cook gourmet dinners.
This is one of those undiscovered things. I believe the Grand Canyon trips run anywhere
from 7 days to 3 weeks.
Hi - My husband has decided that he'd like to celebrate his
50th birthday next year with a family raft trip down the
Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Now we just need a
great company to raft with, and would appreciate any
recommendations, cautionary tales, or advice about specific
companies, times of year to go, other relevant advice. Our
kids will be 10 and 12 and are good swimmers and hearty
campers. I think one week would be better than two, which
seems one week too long. The website has recommendations for
California and Oregon trips but not Arizona's Colorado River.
Many thanks for your input. D
Good friends of mine just took a 7 day river rafting trip down
the Colorado this summer - the same reason - to celebrate #50!
They loved it and the company they used, Arizona River Runners.
Their web site is http://www.arizonariverrunners.com/
a few ideas though my trip was 11 years ago so can't remember
the name of the company. went in late May, weather was warm
enough and there were not the huge crowds of summer tourists,
(however Northern Arizona does get cold at night and cold!
winters so you might want to research typical May weather to
decide.) Otherwise you might try for later summer which would be
more crowded but the sun has warmed the river some by then. I
had to choose between 5 days or 10 days, though without kids,
was very glad I was able to do the 10 days. 7 would be good, as
you said one week, but if your choice is 5 or something more,
you can really see a lot more, and much more remote parts of the
canyon, by going longer (even though the first 5 days are
incredible, too.) My trip ended at a place where we got
helicopters out and landed on the Utah side (and bus back to the
south rim). The shorter trip would end at one of the spots where
you can hike out of the canyon. You can probably get
a ''dragon'' map of the river at REI (forget the proper name of
these) and see where the different stops along the river are.
Flagstaff is a cute mountain town with shops, some good
restaurants, hiking, etc. if you decide to stay along the way to
the G.C. Happy Rafting.
The Grand Canyon is a wonder, and it is a privilege to be there.
It is considered ''Mecca'' in the river rafting world - I have
been down there three times and consider it to be one of the most
life changing experiences of my life.
Because I am a river rafter myself, my trips have been ''private
trips'' organized by friends, however I do know of a couple
companies that are highly regarded. In order to give you an
appropriate recommendation, however, I would need to know what
you are looking for. Do you want to travel downriver in an oar
raft with guide and a few other people? Or do you want to be on
a big motor rig with up to 35-40 other people? Two
reputablecompanies that do a very good job are Outdoors Unlimited
and Oars, to get you started.
I disagree with you about timeline - in my humble opinion one
week would be far, far too short to experience the wonder of the
place. If you go on a one week trip, you are going to be in a
motor boat, flying past some of the best side hikes and scenery
that the world has to offer. When I was down in the canyon, I
would often see these folks flying by and think of how much they
Feel free to contact me - it would be a pleasure to help your
family with what could very well be a trip you will all cherish
for the rest of your lives.
My best friend just returned from what sounds like an awesome
trip. this is what she had to say: Hi - I just returned from a
Grand Canyon rafting trip. It was incredible. I went on a two
week hybrid trip with AZRA (www.azraft.com). I wanted to have
the option of paddling, and also the option of lounging around.
It was also important to me that there was no motor boat
associated with the trip. The two week trip travels
approximately 225 miles on the river - and it is awesome. The
AZRA guides were knowledgeable, skilled, safe and fun.
The oar boats had 5 people (4 guests and 1 guide) and the paddle
boat had 7 people (6 guest and 1 guide). Everyday you can just
jump on whatever boat with whoever you want to hang out with that
day . The weather was perfect. It wasn't too hot during the day
and it was very nice in the evening. I think a trip in the
middle of summer would be a bit too hot. It was wonderful to be
away for two weeks...I think the minimum age for some of the
trips is 12 - so you'll have to check that out for the 10 yr old
The one week trip means you only travel half the canyon. If you
start at Lee's Ferry (16 miles below the dam) you will hike out
at Phantom Ranch - in the Grand Canyon. It is a tough vertical
hike (with your pack) and, though beautiful - it is not a mellow
way to end a raft trip. You also miss most of the super big
rapids. People who were on our trip who left us at Phantom Ranch
regretted not doing the entire trip. The alternative is to hike
in at Phantom Ranch. 4 people joined our group at Phantom Ranch.
They also had a tough time coming down (in fact guides had to
hike up and assist them down) - and they had wobbly legs for
about two days. I suppose if you go on a motorized trip you can
do the entire thing in a week - but it looked like a very
It depends on what the person really wants to do.
We found the people at Rivers and Oceans
(www.rivers-oceans.com/home.html) to be very helpful in getting
info about all the different outfitters and trip options. They
were not helpful as a travel agent. I suggest doing your
research through them and then booking a trip directly with the
outfitter that is offering the trip.
We middle-aging parents and our teenager would like to spend a
couple of days in August within a half-day's drive of the East
Bay where we could do a couple of half-day or three-quarter-day
semi-challenging guided rafting trips, plus maybe some trail
riding or other kind of fun, active land activity. Would like
specific recommendations for locations, guide companies, etc. --
also places to stay nearby and restaurants. Thanks!
Friends of ours, Mel and Scott, own and run River and Rock
Adventures (http://www.riverandrockadventures.com/) near Coloma
on the South Fork of the American River. They offer a number of
rafting options from 1/2 day trips to 2 day trips geared
towards families (and have 2 small boys of their own). We went
rafting with them two summers ago and had a great time. They
have camping available but can probably recommend nearby motels
if you would prefer that. Check out their website for more
information. Happy rafting!
I have done a bunch of rafting trips up on the American, near
Lotus, CA. The Middle Fork is the best for beginners. I have
also done the North Fork twice which is for more advanced
rafters. There are about 30 companies up there. I would
recommend Whitewater Voyages owned by Bill McGinnis. Very
experienced. Very nice job. www.whitewatervoyages.com, I think.
I feel compelled to correct an earlier statement: the Middle
Fork is NOT best for beginners, the South Fork IS. The Middle
Fork is rated Class IV, out of V, while the South Fork is a
Class III. In addition, the Middle Fork has a rapid that is so
difficult that all rafters must walk around the rapid (called
a ''portage''). Class III is fun, but not dangerous, and is
plenty exciting and great for kids. The North Fork, also
mentioned by a previous poster, is rated Class V, and should
definitely NOT be a choice for kids, or those without some
previous rafting experience. Do have fun and enjoy, there is
nothing quite like rafting to make your spirits soar!!!
River Guide Mommy
Wondering if anyone in the digest community has positive
experiences to recommend regarding river rafting with kids in
the 8 - 10 year old range. Would especially appreciate the
name of a reliable, experienced river rafting company with
trips within reasonably close driving range to the Bay Area
(such as the American River) and one that has experience with
trips for kids would, of course, be best. Thanks so much.
Future River Rafters
My wife and I took our nearly 8-year-old daughter on a half-day
rafting trip on the American River this summer. The company was
Gold Rush River Rafting. We got drenched; we had a blast. The
guides let her ''paddle'' for part of the trip. Remember to wear a
bathing suit, T-shirt and tight-fitting hat, and bring a change
Turtle River Rafting Company is great with small children (age 4 and up). http:/
/www.turtleriver.com/ My family started with them when my children were little
and then graduated to ARTA.
I'm seeking tips on river-rafting tour companies in the Sierra.
We're hoping for a one-day trip on a fairly easy river (our
daughter is 7, swims well and loves water), preferably with a
stop for swimming. The American seems like a good candidate, but
we're open to other rivers.
Hooray for you! I can't wait to introduce my children to
rafting - aged 2.5 and 8 mos, so I have a bit to wait :-) It is
a wonderful activity to share with your family.
The South Fork of the American is the standard, accessible river
commonly run around here. There are several outfits that service
the S. Fork American, all are pretty reputable, and there really
isn't that much to distinguish them, except for the ''non-
traditional'' outfits. Examples: Outdoors Unlimited at UCSF and
Friends of the River both run trips to the American, but are not
traditional rafting companies. With OU, your money goes to
support other outdoor activities at UCSF, and at FOR, your money
goes to protecting rivers. Both great outfits. (conflict of
interest disclaimer: I learned to guide at OU, and used to guide
for them regularly, until my little ones arrived on the scene).
There are also other rivers to try: No. Fork American: more
difficult, but I believe there is a shorter run that is pretty
easy; Trinity River, down south; East Fork of the Carson, East
side Sierra; Klamath River, up north; etc. Most of these runs
are either much farther away, or have much shorter seasons. So,
for a first time, your best advice is the American.
Hope you have a great trip! Feel free to contact me if you have
any more questions.
Sign me: can't wait to get back on the river!
I recommend you contact Turtle River Rafting company for a
family rafting trip. They are a great, very family oriented
company. 1-800-726-3223. They may have one day trips.
Regarding the American River. Most people go down the
South Fork of the American River, which is a class III river. It
may be too festive for a 7 year old and scare her. There is a
class II run on the South Fork American. Ask them about
I've been river-rafting for twenty-five years and have rafted the
American River probably close to a hundred times
(including working as guide for a commercial outfitter). The
South Fork of the American is a good candidate for you to
consider. There are two sections -- commonly called the
Upper and Lower (or Gorge) section. The minimum age for
most of the commercial outfitters is 8...but if your daughter is
a good swimmer and comfortable with the water, she
should do fine. I would recommend you do the Lower
(Gorge) section. The first couple of hours is very calm
water, giving you (and everyone else on the raft) time to get
used to paddling. On the Upper section, the more exciting
Class III whitewater comes fairly soon after putting in.
Other options for Northern California river trips that are
do-able with a seven year old include Cache Creek and
sections of the Klamath. But there are far fewer commercial
outfitters offering trips on those rivers.
The company I used to work for (on weekends) is a great
company. It's one of the largest (in California), they have an
excellent safety record, and do a good job. They're called All
Outdoors and they can be reached at 925-932-8993.
Have a great time! We took our (then) five-year old on her
first trip last summer on the Rogue River up in Oregon and
she loved it.
this page was last updated: Apr 12, 2011
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