Grand Canyon Rafting: Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch

Starts: Flagstaff, United States
Finishes: South Rim, United States

Visit: Flagstaff, South Rim

Tour Type: Small Group

Accommodation: Moderate

Activity: Grand Canyon,Rafting


Starting in Flagstaff , Arizona , this 87-mile section of the Colorado River is an excellent introduction to the canyon by dory as the Colorado's rapids progress from small to extra large and the cliffs and rock layers of the Grand Canyon rise at an almost incomprehensible rate. We see some of the most striking and vibrantly colored limestone cliffs of all as we pass through Marble Canyon . This Grand Canyon Dory adventure includes visits to Native American ruins, the fern-fringed spring of Vasey's Paradise , the cool recess of Redwall Cavern, ancient fossils and a swim in the turquoise blue Little Colorado. At the end of the week of floating, hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon, we arrive at the boat beach near Phantom Ranch, deep in the granite gorge. The last night is spent at Phantom Ranch before the 9.7 mile hike up to the South Rim of the canyon the next morning.

Boat Type:
On our Grand Canyon Dories trips we use 17-foot hard-hulled boats. The dories are elegant, handcrafted vessels which are not only enjoyable to look at, but provide an exciting and responsive ride. They hold up to four passengers. We travel in a flotilla with the maximum group size of 16-20 passengers

There are 19 rapids rated 5 or higher on the Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch section. Whitewater in the Canyon is rated on a scale of 1 10 (unlike most western rivers which use the I VI scale). A "1" is a small riffle, and a "10" is the most difficult rapid still considered runnable. Two of these, Unkar and Nevills produce consistent 6 (sometimes 7) whitewater, and Hance, Sockdolager, and Grapevine rapids are always an 8 or 9. The intensity of all rapids naturally depends on the water level, so readings for low and high water levels may vary slightly.

Based on various circumstances such as water levels and current flow we occasionally find it necessary to have our passengers walk around certain rapids. The decision is made by the trip leader with the first concern being the safety of each passenger and secondly the ability to run a rapid without damaging the boats. This will give you a great opportunity to take some wonderful photos of the dories as you watch your guides demonstrate their boating skills. When conditions warrant, you may also be asked by your trip leader to wear a helmet. For your own safety, however, you may feel more comfortable with wearing the helmet even more than specifically requested by the trip leader.

Hikes Along the River:
Each day varies, but on average you'll spend three-five hours on the boats. The rest of the time is spent hiking and exploring side canyons, eating, or just relaxing in camp. The easiest hikes are no more difficult than negotiating a few yards of beach sand or stepping over a few rocks. Others may go for several miles over a rough trail, climb steeply up a hot hillside, require the use of both hands over awkward boulders and demand caution as you totter on a narrow trail above a steep cliff. Our guides are happy to help novices with hand and footholds and reassurance. Many times their helpfulness enables the timid and inexperienced to get to special places that many other groups pass by. Remember, however, all hikes are optional and you can choose to relax and take in a few tanning rays or read a book instead.

Minimum Age: 12 Yrs


    • Experience the Colorado River through Grand Canyon by dory
    • Explore Redwall Cavern, the Little Colorado & Nautiloid Canyon
    • Hike to Nankoweep & explore Native American ruins
    • Raft 19 major rapids like Unkar, Hance, Sockdolager & Grapevine
    • Our dory trip concludes with a 9.7-mile hike out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail

Trip Details

The Trip

Product Code: 127859
Tour Type: Small Group
Accommodation: Moderate
Transport: Private##Private
Guide Language: Engligh

Starts: Flagstaff, United States
Finishes: South Rim, United States
Duration: 7 days
Physical rating: Basic


  • Skilled professional guide service
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 to a sack lunch on your last day while hiking out of the canyon.
  • Overnight at Phantom Ranch on last night in a dorm (bunk beds, air cooled, shower, sink and toilet facilities) or continue camping when not available
  • Transport of one (1) duffel per person by mule from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim
  • Two waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 20” tall x 14” diameter). Your sleeping bag and pad must fit into one bag and your remaining gear will fit into the other bag. Please note: If you rent our gear it will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags. Your remaining gear, therefore, must fit in one
  • One small waterproof bag for camera and film and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter).
  • 2-person tents on a shared basis (there is a $35 charge for a private tent)
  • Personal flotation device (PFD) which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with National Park Service regulations
  • 12-ounce insulated Klean Kanteen with Café Lid to use for drinks in camp
  • Camp chairs
  • Eating utensils, cups and plates
  • Highest quality rafts and related equipment
  • Transportation by van from Flagstaff to put-in at Lees Ferry



Price person (sharing double) $2,945 ($421/day)


$1000 per person for bookings made 60 days or more prior to departure

Full Amount for bookings made less than 60 days prior to departure

Cancellation: Super Strict

Trip Notes

Price does not include airfare (to the Trip start & from the end location)

Trip Price generally includes accommodation, transport/transfer, activities, services of a professional guide & more. (Please refer to the include/excludes section for details)

Tour packages spare you the hassles of trip planning, a la carte booking, organizing and managing the logistics at a foreign location.


Personalize itinerary with your departure date

United States Flagstaff, Badger & Soap Creek Rapids, North Canyon, Marble Canyon, Vasey Paradise, Redwall Cavern, Nautiloid Canyon, Granite Gorge, Phantom Ranch
Grand Canyon,Rafting



Overall Rating










Kim-bowrunner from Traverse City, MI 

What an incredible experience! I can't say enough but must share our unique circumstance. Our group was caught in a rock fall. It was a downright life-flashes-before-your-eyes experience. One in our group was seriously injured and had to be EVACed out. I was amazed at the level of skill and care that was taken to ensure our safety and the treatment she received in the canyone. Bronco and his team were absolute professionals. You never think something like that will happen to you, but if it does, you want to be with a crew like these guys!! We were in good hands.

Overall Rating










Dianne from McLean, VA 

Beyond anything I could imagine -- wholly unique. The sheer beauty, the remoteness, the silence of the dories, the fun of the rapids along with the skill and confidence of our guides, the stars! I was forewarned about the hike out but was still surprised at the challenge for me. Anyone who has the stamina for this trip should do it and with Grand Canyon Dories.

Tour Operator


Since 1969 O.A.R.S. has been setting the unforgettable standard in rafting, sea kayaking and hiking adventures, with destinations & unparalleled experiences on the most legendary rivers, coastlines & mountains in the world – from California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, British Columbia, and Arizona’s Grand Canyon to the opulent gorges of Fiji and the Galapagos Islands, O.A.R.S. specializes in first-class adventures throughout Western North America, South America and the South Pacific.

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the “Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S. trips have been honored as “50 Tours of a Lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler.

In Business Since 1969

Operator Rating:

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