Frequently Asked Questions
A: We raft the Green River and Colorado River, including Cataract Canyon, Desolation Canyon, and Westwater Canyon. We also raft the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers in Alaska.
A: Yes, we have a minimum age requirement on all of our rafting trips. The age requirement varies depending upon the trip. We have these age requirements in place for safety reasons. Our minimum age requirements are as follows:
Grand Canyon: 12 Years Old (Motorized) | 14-16 Years Old depending on child’s size and experience (Rowing/Paddle)
Cataract Canyon: 12-14 Years Old (Depending on River Flows)
Desolation Canyon: 6-8 Years Old with a minimum weight of 50 lbs
Westwater Canyon: 12-14 Years Old (Depending on River Flows)
Alaska Rafting: 14 Years Old (Depending on River Flows)
1-Day Trips: 6-8 Years Old with a minimum weight of 50 lbs
If you are looking for a multi-day trip that is great for families, the Green River through Desolation Canyon is a wonderful option. With its warm water, great beaches, amazing side hikes, and mellow, but fun rapids, this trip has it all.
A: All of the river trips offered by Colorado River & Trail Expeditions are “world class” in scope and character. We are confident that whichever expedition you choose, you will find beauty, wildness, and enjoyment that you seek. We recommend that you first determine how much time you have for the trip. The length of our trips are determined by the amount of time necessary for a quality experience. You are better off taking a complete 3- or 4-day trip than just 3 or 4 days as part of a longer expedition. If you are looking for the biggest rapids, you should consider Grand Canyon Rafting (any time), Cataract Canyon (May-June), or Westwater Canyon (June-July). For scenery, every trip is great! For hiking and exploring, every trip is great! For children and beginners, Desolation Canyon is best. For more information, give us a call. We will be happy to answer your questions and offer suggestions.
A: We have scheduled our expeditions during the times of year that we think are most appropriate and enjoyable. It doesn’t really matter when you go. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can think of April and May as the most moderate months as far as temperatures go. It can be kind of chilly on the river, especially when you are splashed in the rapids, but it’s usually perfect for long off-river hikes. This is also the best time to see wildflowers in bloom. June and July are warm and dry, perfect for running rapids and playing in side streams, waterfalls, and natural pools. In August, thundershowers cool things off a bit, and the rain causes cactus and other desert plants to bloom. Early-to-mid September, like the spring month, offers cooler temperatures and ideal weather for off-river trekking.
A: Our Green River Wilderness expedition through Desolation Canyon is a terrific river trip for the whole family, especially those with young children. The rapids are fun, but not too scary. There are a lot of things to do and see, so little people don’t get bored or restless. Older children and teenagers have a ball paddling their own inflatable kayaks.
A: We offer trips from 1 to 14 days in length.
A: You do not have to be in great shape to participate in one of our river expeditions, however a basic level of fitness will make the trip more enjoyable.
- Fit into our Type V Life jacket (maximum chest size 58”)
- Participants must be able to get around on their own
- Be able to navigate sand, rocks and other uneven terrain
- Climb Stairs
- Must be capable of holding on to ropes, handholds and safety lines aboard the raft
- Be able to climb on and off the boat
- Be able to assist in self rescue in case of falling overboard
- Carry own gear – 30 pound weight limit
- General campsite set up involving cots, tents, and sleeping gear
A: A few months before your river trip, start physically conditioning yourself by walking or hiking multiple times a week.
Practice walking up and downhill and take the stairs when possible. Get in the habit of eating and drinking water during your conditioning. If possible, hike on unpaved, rocky hiking trails. It is important to break in any new gear/shoes prior to your trip. Practice carrying water and a day pack.
A: You do not need to know how to swim. However, it is helpful if you do and are comfortable in and around water. You will be required to wear one of our approved life jackets at all times while on the water. You will not be allowed to bring your own.
A: We do not offer 1-Day Rafting Trip in the Grand Canyon. Access in and out of the Grand Canyon is very limited. There are two companies that offer 1-Day Trips in and around Grand Canyon. Wilderness River Adventures offers a one day river trip above Lees Ferry, and Hualapai River Runners offers a trip below Diamond Creek.
A: No, we do not rent any raft equipment or lifejackets.
A: At this time, we do not accept reservations online. We feel that it’s important to talk with our clients before they sign up for a trip. This way we can make sure to help you choose the best trip for your needs.
A: Take a look at our Reservation Page for all the details on signing up for a trip. You can give us a call at 1-800-253-7328 or send us an e-mail ([email protected]). We will need you to complete a Reservation Form and send it back to us by e-mail, mail or fax.
A: We require a $300.00 per-person deposit to reserve space. Half of your deposit is refundable up to 120 days prior to the trip departure date. For Group Charter Trips, a $500.00 per-person non-refundable deposit is required.
A: Final payment is due 90 days prior to your trip departure date (120 days for Group Charters). Final payments can be made with a Visa/MasterCard or by personal check.
A: All monies are non-refundable if you have to cancel after making your final payment. However, you can transfer your reservation to a replacement person. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance in case of needing to cancel. There are no exceptions to our policy.
A: We offer a 10% repeat customer discount. For groups of 12 or more, we offer a 10% discount on any of our trips. We have discounted youth rates for our Desolation Canyon rafting trips. We offer a 2% cash discount for all final payments made by check instead of credit card.
A: For a private group charter trip in the Grand Canyon, we require 24 (motor) or 16 (non-motor) paid participants. Charters subject to availability.
A: A lot of people plan about a year to a year and a half ahead.
A: We strongly recommend that you obtain travel insurance that will cover emergency evacuation from the river, medical care and related transportation, and will reimburse you for non-refundable trip fees in the event you must cancel after all monies have been paid.
A: The price you pay for any of our river trips is “all inclusive.” We provide sleeping bag, foam pad, and ground cloth; cots on motorized expeditions; water proof bags for camping equipment and personal clothing; waterproof camera boxes; delicious meals beginning with lunch the first day; plates cups and utensils; Coast Guard-approved life preservers; and round-trip transportation from the designated meeting place.
- Lodging before/after your river trip
- Transportation to/from meeting location
- National Park Entry Fees/BLM Fees
- Alcoholic beverages or preferred soft drinks
- Travel Insurance
- Flight cost (Desolation & Cataract Canyons)
A: If you are given an ammo can on your trip, you will use it for anything you want to access during the day. Sunscreen, River Maps, Sunglasses, Camera, etc.
A: See the About Our Rafts Page for more information.
A: Yes! We will provide you with a suggested packing list in our trip planning handbook.
A: The industry standard is 10% of your trip cost. Your guides will make every effort to see that your trip is enjoyable and successful. Gratuities for guides are appropriate, greatly appreciated and at your discretion, as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and service.
A: Yes! A two-piece waterproof jacket and pants are recommended for possible thunderstorms, and to offer protection during the rapids, especially on shady mornings or evenings. You’ll be glad you have it!
A: Most of the hiking we do can be accomplished in sandals or athletic shoes. You are welcome to bring hiking boots if you prefer extra support and protection.
A: For early spring and autumn trips, you may want to bring some extra clothing items for warmth. It’s always a good idea to throw something warm into the bottom of your bag just in case.
A: Yes, definitely! People bring all types of cameras from iPhones, iPads to DSLR Cameras. If you plan to bring a DSLR Camera with lenses, be sure to have your own durable, waterproof case (i.e., Pelican Case).
A: Yes. Hiking poles must be collapsible. You will be able to give them to your guide to store on the boat.
A: Yes, you may bring a collapsible fishing pole. There are fish in the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. However, if the river is muddy, the fishing isn’t very good. You must obtain an Arizona Fishing License before your trip.
A: No. All guests are required to wear Coast Guard approved life jackets provided by us.
A: Bug spray is not necessary for Grand Canyon trips. We do recommend bringing some for our Utah river trips.
A: Delicious Dutch-oven dinners, sandwich bar lunches, and hearty camp breakfasts are provided throughout the river trip. We think our menu will satisfy everyone, from those who are watching calories and cholesterol to those who want to splurge on the richest desserts and the biggest steaks! With ample quantities of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and pasta, non-meat eaters also have a variety of good foods from which to choose. Hot beverages such as coffee, tea, and cocoa are served in camp. Assorted non-alcoholic cold drinks are available throughout the day.
A: It is important to note that we may not have the resources in the wilderness environment to accommodate your particular food needs, especially if your diet is very restrictive or requires extra time or preparations. If you follow a specific diet for non-medical reasons, please consider being flexible with your diet during your river trip. The more time our guides spend in the kitchen, the less time we get to spend hiking, rafting and exploring the Canyon.
If you have any questions about the meals we provide or if you wish to discuss your particular diet needs, please call or email our office. We will let you know if we are able to accommodate your requests or we may suggest that you bring some of your own food items to supplement our menu. Please note that cooler storage and the use of our stove will not be available to our clients
A: If you have any allergies which might cause difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis or other life-threatening reaction, please consult our office before confirming your reservation. Due to the nature of our expeditions, this rafting trip may not be suitable for you. We do not recommend this trip for people with severe food allergies. Our guides cannot prevent cross-contamination of food ingredients and there may be hidden or trace ingredients in food we provide. If your food allergy is non-severe and you decide to travel with us, it is important that you take responsibility to read ingredient labels and self-monitor your food consumption during the trip.
Please be aware that you will be traveling in a remote wilderness area and emergency response time and evacuation could be delayed by hours or even days, depending on the circumstances.
A: We do not provide alcoholic beverages, but adult guests may bring small amounts of beer, wine, or liquor for their personal use. For Grand Canyon trips, you may place an alcohol order with Judd Auto. Contact our office for ordering instructions. Any alcohol orders will need to be placed well in advance before your trip. Our crew will find a safe place to store it on the boat. Please bring non-breakable containers for beer, wine and liquor.
A: Alcohol should not be consumed during the day while rafting, and only in moderate quantities at all other times.
A: We provide a variety of snacks, but if there is something that you specifically like, bring it with you.
A: If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or something special, let us know ahead of time and we can provide a special dessert.
A: Feel free to ask us about special requests. We do our best to accommodate them, but it is not always possible.
A: Yes! We love to hike. We try to stop and hike as much as we can, depending upon the trip schedule and group interest. If you love longer hikes, you may be interested in our 11-Day Spring Hiking trip.
A: All hikes vary in length and difficulty depending upon what trip you do. All of our side hikes are optional. If you are on an upper or lower Grand canyon trip, the hike in/out of the Canyon is NOT optional.
A: Depending upon what trip you take, time of year and your own physical health, these all can be factors of how strenuous the hiking on your trip will be. It does take physical requirement to be able to participate on the river trip and during hikes. We recommend engaging in some physical activity and training before the trip.
A: The hike in/out of the Grand Canyon is VERY strenuous. The Bight Angel trail is 9.2 miles and one mile in elevation gain. You must be physically capable to do this hike. Prior to your river trip you should be able to comfortably hike 6-9 miles. You should train carrying a pack with similar weight of the pack you will be carrying on your hike.
A: No problem! We try to make it as easy as possible. We do require passengers to be in charge of their own gear and setting up their camps. Need a little extra help setting up your cot or closing your waterproof bag, feel free to ask any of our crew.
A: It is okay to bathe and/or wash in the river, providing you use biodegradable soap and shampoo. Hand washing devices are set up in every camp. We carry clean, easy-to-use portable toilet facilities with us. They are set up in each camp and concealed in large, roomy tents for privacy.
A: We highly recommend sleeping out under the stars if the weather cooperates. The night sky in Canyon Country can be truly spectacular. In case of inclement weather or customer preference, we do have 2 person tents available. Singles are not required to share a tent.
A: Our guides will wake you early in the morning with a call for “coffee.” When you hear the “breakfast” call, it means time to come to the kitchen area. After eating your breakfast, you will have a chance to pack your personal camping gear. The guides will break-down the kitchen and start to load the rafts. You may carry your gear to the beach area in front of the boats and when the guides have secured the deck, they will ask for your help loading personal dry bags. We ask passengers not to board the rafts until all gear is stored securely. We stop during the day for lunch, usually on a sandy beach along the bank of the river. After a full day of rafting and hiking, we will find a place to set up camp. We ask everyone who is able to help the crew unload the boats by forming a “bucket line” to pass the gear off the boats and up to the beach. Guides will set up the kitchen and community camping gear while individuals set up their personal area. If you have physical limitations, our guides are happy to assist you. Soon after making camp, the guides will begin to cook dinner. This is often a good time to write in your journal, read a book, or take a refreshing bath or “power nap.” Those who want to help out with camp chores are always welcome!
A: As you make your way down the river, we try to stop as much as we can for side hikes, archeological interests, lunch, etc. However, you will be spending a good portion of the day on and off the boat.
A: Depending on what trip you take, you can usually expect to be back around late afternoon. For our Grand Canyon trips, we recommend that you spend a night in Las Vegas after your trip.
A: Yes! Don’t be afraid to come alone! You will make lots of friends on your trip.
A: Your cell phone will not work while you are on the river. Relax, unplug and enjoy your time in the wilderness.
A: There is no way to charge your camera or phone while on the river. If possible, plan to bring extra camera batteries with you or portable chargers.
A: CPAP Machines and the outdoors are doable, but offer some challenges. Depending on your trip, we sometimes can supply a car battery to use as a power source for your machine. You will have to purchase an inverter to be able to get power from the battery to your machine. We cannot guarantee that the battery will last the entire trip. Please contact our office with questions or more information.
See our blog post about CPap Machines in the Outdoors.
A: No. We wish to preserve the natural quiet by not using electronic music players or being overly loud in camp or at off river attractions. We want to provide our guests with opportunities for peaceful solitude in this magnificent wilderness area.
A: It’s important to be prepared for the various weather conditions that might be present during your trip. Many times during the summer it will be sunny and warm, however there are times that we might see occasional rainstorms or cooler temperatures. You can check the average weather chart on each trip page.
A: Our guides are capable of handling emergencies as they arise, although they are generally few and far between. Trip leaders and guides are certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Our emergency equipment includes wilderness oriented first-aid-kits, aircraft transceiver radios, and satellite communications systems. We are able to call for medical assistance or evacuation if necessary. If an evacuation is necessary, you will be helicoptered out and to the nearest medical clinic. The cost associated with evacuation from the river and subsequent medical treatment is the financial responsibility of the ill or injured person. If there is an emergency at home, please tell your family members to call our office at 1-800-253-7328. We will do what we can to be of assistance, but we may not be able to contact you while you are on the river.
A: We recommend that you sign up for travel insurance to protect the monetary investment you have made in your river trip. In addition to the cancellation insurance discussed below, a travel insurance policy will help cover emergency evacuation and medical treatment due to an illness or injury that is sustained while on the river trip.
For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here to enroll online or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 44-0060.
Important Pre-Existing Condition Waiver – 15-Day Window to Purchase
If you or a close family member or a traveling companion has a pre-existing medical condition that might flare up and prevent you from going on the river trip, the condition will be waived if you purchase a Travel Select policy within 15 days of making the deposit on your trip.
A: If you have not already done so on your Reservation Form, please let us know if you have any allergies that we should be aware of. This might include food allergies, plant allergies, potential reactions to insect bites or stings and allergies to certain elements such as iodine. We need to know the severity of your potential allergic reaction (anaphylactic, gastrointestinal, etc.) as well as the correct emergency first-aid procedures. If you have a severe allergy, please notify our office and plan to bring Epi Pens on the trip. Please let our guides know that you are carrying an Epi Pen and where it can be located. You should carry your Epi Pen on all off-river hikes.
A: We (David and Vicki Mackay) started our own company in 1971. Prior to that time, David had worked as a river guide while completing math and zoology degrees at the University of Utah. We met on a Grand Canyon Rafting river trip in 1968 and have been running rivers together ever since. Now our two children, Bonnie and Walker, share the fun and adventure with us.
A: Our company name goes back to the roots of our beginnings. When we started our company in 1971, we ran only the Colorado River. Then, as now, we emphasized off-river hiking and back country exploration on every expedition. Thus, “Colorado River & Trail Expeditions” was a good and fitting name. Over the years, we’ve branched out a bit, but the heart and soul of our river running operation is still the Colorado River and the canyon country of southeastern Utah and northern Arizona.
A: If you appreciate personal service and enjoy being treated more like a “friend” than a “client,” you will probably like going with us. From office staff to river crew, we will do everything we can to help you plan, prepare and enjoy your time on the river. Our guides are the best! In addition to their training and experience, they are kind and friendly and enthusiastic. You should also consider we do not overcrowd our trips or our rafts. Our equipment is in excellent condition. We love what we do!
A: Most of our guides develop their expertise through an in-house training program that gives them an opportunity to learn everything about the river business from the bottom up. They participate in numerous training trips as helpers, or “swampers,” and must be able to repair rafts, motors and other equipment before they start operating their own rafts with customers on board. This usually requires two seasons. Most of our guides have a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience. Our veteran guides have been with us from 10-20 years.
A: Our main office is located in Salt Lake City, UT. We have warehouses in Green River, UT, Fredonia, AZ and Haines, AK.
CRATE Rafting Trips Since 1971
Free PDF copy of our Rafting Brochure!