If you are getting ready to take a river trip, be sure to watch the Grand Canyon National Park Orientation Video available on Grand Canyon’s website. This 40-minute video includes some beautiful scenery as well as extremely useful information.
You can also download a copy of the Noncommercial River Trip Regulations here (PDF – 860 KB). It includes the definition of a noncommercial river trip as well as the general requirements, trip leader and qualifying boatman experience, equipment requirements and procedures, camping and visitation restrictions, and much more.
There are two different ranges in length of trips that will affect where you can actually take your private trip. Noncommercial river trips which launch from Diamond Creek (river mile 225) take 2 to 5 days. This section of the Colorado River is located at the west end of Grand Canyon National Park and is often referred to as the Lower Gorge. It includes 52 river miles of smooth and white water, with many dramatic and colorful views. Noncommercial River Permits are required, and since the access crosses Hualapai Indian Reservation, a separate permit fee is required by the tribe. You can find more information about these shorter trips on the NPS Diamond Creek page.
The second option is the 12 to 25 day Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek stretch which takes you through the main section of the Grand Canyon. There are no places for trips to put in or take out in between Lees Ferry and Diamond Creek, a distance of 226 miles. Permits for these trips are made available to the public through a weighted lottery. This is a technical trip and requires strong whitewater skills. Find out more about the lottery system, FAQs, river trip support companies, and regulations on the NPS Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek page.
Grand Canyon River Permits Office
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Toll Free: (800) 959-9164
Outside USA: (928) 638-7843
FAX: (928) 638-7844
Grand Canyon also has a web page listing Noncommercial River Trip Support Companies that provide equipment rentals as well as support and shuttle services. They also have an excellent page called Helpful Links for Noncommercial River Trips that includes links to much of the information you’ll need or want for planning your trip.
Other resources for private boaters
- Grand Canyon’s Helpful Links for Noncommercial River Trips
- Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki – A peer-produced on-line guide to all aspects of planning, conducting, and participating in a journey through Grand Canyon National Park on the Colorado River. An excellent resource!
- Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association
- Colorado River Flow Data—Lees Ferry. USGS real-time flow data for the Colorado River at Lees Ferry
- Colorado River Flow Data—Diamond Creek. USGS real-time flow data for the Colorado River at Diamond Creek
- Colorado basin river flow information. NOAA forecasts for river conditions
- River Runners for Wilderness – River Runners for Wilderness is an organization for all river runners dedicated to the Wilderness Colorado River and its tributaries.
- River Runners for Wilderness Facebook Fan page – The best way to stay updated!
- Ceiba Adventures River Outfitting Services – Outfitters for rental river equipment, food packs, and shuttle services. Outfits river trips for Grand Canyon as well as other rivers in Arizona. Based out of Flagstaff, Arizona.