Rafting th Grand Canyon with Outdoors Unlimited

Frequently Asked Questions

Food & Beverages

What are the meals like?
Meals on the river are hearty and plentiful. Eating well is very important when living and playing in the outdoors, not to mention one of the big pleasures! Lots of cooler and storage space allows us the capability of bringing generous quantities of fresh food along! We eat very well on the river, please click this link, "Satisfying A Hearty Appetite", for more info.

Can you accommodate vegetarian diets?
We offer meatless alternatives to all of the meals we serve and carry plentiful amounts of fresh fruits and produce. If your requirements prevent you from eating any animal products at all, you should plan to bring along some of the food supplements that you commonly use. Please advise us ahead of time and we will provide for storage on the rafts as needed. It is also possible to ship your supplements to us ahead of time and we will pack them in advance making things easier for both of us (especially if you're hiking in to join the trip at Phantom Ranch!).

Do you supply beer, wine or soda pop?
Outdoors Unlimited cannot provide alcoholic beverages, however, we are allowed to bring your beer and wine for you. With your reservation packet you will receive an order form for a selection of beer and wine available through a local retailer. Once you place your order it is delivered, packed for your trip, and made available to you on the trip. Drinking alcoholic beverages prior to making camp in the evening is discouraged.

On the river we will always have fresh drinking water available, as well as powdered drink mixes (such as Gatorade) to flavor and otherwise enhance your drinking water. Water is the preferred choice when it comes to maintaining proper hydration and in such a dry environment your health and happiness depend on it. For those of you who do not wish to order beer or wine an equal amount of soda of different varieties will be on hand as well.

Preparing for Your Trip

What about "hard to find" items?
Some items mentioned in "What to Bring" are hard to find in some areas of the country; things like synthetic thermal clothing, river sandals, waterproof camera containers and aqua socks. We suggest you check with local outdoor retailers, mail order catalogs, or the Internet for retailers such as LL Bean, REI, Patagonia, and Northwest River Supply for these items. Many of these things are also in stock at the Marble Canyon Lodge store for those of you starting your trip from Lee's Ferry.

Environmental Concerns

What about snakes and insects?
The Grand Canyon is a very user friendly place to go camping. Snakes are rarely seen and generally stay away from campsites and other places frequented by people. Insects are seldom bothersome and those that are common are easy to avoid. Insect repellent is very rarely necessary, though it is listed as an optional item to bring. However, anyone who knows that they are very allergic to certain types of insect stings or bites should definitely bring any medications that they have for just such a situation.

What can I expect for weather?
Temperatures in the Grand Canyon range from lows of around 60 degrees to highs around 100 degrees in May and September. It is warmer in June, July and August, with temperatures ranging between 75 degrees and 115 degrees. Humidity is very low and the sun is very intense. The rainy season usually begins around the middle of July and lasts 4-6 weeks. Afternoon temperatures are generally lower at this time and rain showers can materialize suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. It is best to prepare with good rain gear no matter what time of year you visit as the water temperature of the river is about 48-50 degrees at Lee's Ferry and only slowly warms as it flows through the Canyon. Fleece or other insulating layers (not made of cotton!) are strongly recommended for trips in April, early May and September. In June, July, and August mid-weight polypropylene should be all you need.

Rafting, Hiking & Camping

How much time do we spend on the river each day?
We average 4-5 hours per day on the river plus another 3-4 hours for side hikes and a lunch stop. Some days may be devoted mostly to floating, other days when the attraction sites are plentiful, we will spend more time exploring and less time on the water.

Are side hikes strenuous?
Hikes are always optional and they vary in difficulty from a simple walk to occasional short vertical climbs to the more ambitious treks. Most guests are capable of handling all the hikes, but on the longer, more strenuous ones, pre-conditioning will pay off.

Can I get to my belongings during the day on the river?
A common dry bag is carried in each boat for items you need during the day, such as extra clothing, sun screen, camera, extra film, etc., with access available at any time during the day. For avid shutterbugs you should plan to bring your own waterproof container, such as a Sport Pouch. This container should have a strap or line so that it can be attached to the raft. The rest of your gear is packed away in your issued dry bags. Just as checked luggage is not accessible until you reach your destination when you fly, your dry bags are not accessible until unloaded at that evening's camp.

What kind of toilet facilities are there on the river?
Ah, the one question that everyone asks sooner or later, usually sooner. All river trips in Grand Canyon National Park are required to use portable re-useable camp toilets. For all practical purposes using the toilet system provided by Outdoors Unlimited is no different than using what you have at home with the exception of being able to flush. Toilet facilities are set up at each night's camp in a naturally private and open air location optimized for seclusion and canyon scenery.

How's the fishing?
Among trout fishing circles it is widely known that some very good fishing is to be had in the Colorado River! The river has been stocked by Arizona Game and Fish and the fishery is thriving. Fishing is best between Lee's Ferry and the confluence with the Little Colorado River, 60 miles downstream, on the Upper Trip. You will need an Arizona Fishing License which can be purchased at Marble Canyon Lodge or at Phantom Ranch. During the rainy season fishing is not as dependable. If fishing is a passion you should avoid late July and August.

Safety Concerns

How safe is the trip?
Outdoors Unlimited has an unmatched safety record. We carry satellite phones, ground-to-air transceivers, complete first aid kits, and our entire staff is qualified in Wilderness or EMT levels of first aid. Good equipment, great guides and responsible passengers are the key ingredients in the maintenance of our excellent record.

Do I need extra insurance?
Although actual incidents seldom occur, occasionally a camera or other valuable item is damaged or lost, commonly off-river. Due to the lead time necessary for OU to book a trip, cancellation of your reservation could be costly. Accident/sickness, trip-cancellation and personal property insurance information through Travel Insurance Services can be obtained online at www.travelinsure.com.

Grand Canyon Whitewater rafting with Outdoors Unlimited

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