Grand Alternatives

Length of Trip:

1-2 days

  • Tuolumne River, considered the crown jewel of California whitewater, located just outside Yosemite National Park in central California. (1 or 2 days)

3-5 days

6-7 days

More than 7 days:

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Activity Level:

Leisurely Adventure and Family Fun

Adventure

Adrenaline-Infused Adventure

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Dory Adventures:

Dory trips are offered on a variety of rivers...


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Though our roots lie deep in the Grand Canyon, we have perfected the magic of whitewater river rafting and adventure travel on rivers throughout the West.  We are the largest and most diverse river company in North America, running rivers throughout Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Wyoming, the Grand Canyon - as well as Canada, Latin America and even Fiji.

Take into consideration the most popular vacation months in the U.S., June/July/August, are the warmest in the Grand Canyon.  Temperatures regularly surpass 100 degrees F, often rising above 105 or even 110 degrees.  O.A.R.S. offers a variety of vacation choices for you to chill out in the heat of summer.

May we suggest these Grand Alternatives, looked at from a number of different perspectives?

Type of Scenery:

Desert Southwest...

Green River though the Gates of Lodore

Discover the depth of human and geologic history found in the spectacular canyons of the Desert Southwest.

Colorado River through Cataract Canyon
Experience Grand Canyon-style rapids while rafting through the heart of Canyonlands National Park.  In the high-water season of May and June, the famous “Big Drops” rapid can make even the Grand Canyon’s Lava and Crystal Rapids seem tame.  Hike into side canyons; explore Prehistoric Puebloan ruins and camp under the Milky Way on sandy beaches.  Trips run April through October.

Colorado and Green River Hiker Special
Raft into the untouched heart of a majestic red rock wilderness and enjoy an in-depth exploration, on foot – away from the rafts, of remote canyons, Pre-Pueblo ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and fascinating geology.  This special trip runs in September.

Green River through the Gates of Lodore
An ideal family adventure.  Travel through Dinosaur National Monument in an open-air archive of far-out fossils.  Explore scarlet slot canyons, yawning valleys and lush ledges of emerald evergreen and brush.  Trips run May through September.

San Juan River
A major tributary of the Colorado River, this relaxing float trip offers terrific hiking opportunities, a high concentration of accessible Anasazi ruins, warm weather and warm water.  In addition to the seemingly painted canyon walls, the San Juan rolls past some of southeastern Utah’s renowned stretches of breathtaking buttes, mesas, and pinnacles – including Monument Valley.  Trips run March through July.

Yampa River
The Yampa River is the only major tributary of the mighty Colorado River that runs wild and free.The trip spans western Colorado and eastern Utah into a cradle of North American prehistory and history.  A variety of hiking trails lead to waterfalls, caves, Indian petroglyphs, old cowboy sites, side canyon oases and more.  Trips run May through July.

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Diverse Landscape:  high country forest, granite canyons
and swirling seas of grassland…

Diverse Landscapes in Idaho

Idaho's diversity goes beyond spectacular scenery with trips for all ages and abilities.

Main Salmon River
A highlight of any Main Salmon trip is Barth Hot Springs, a natural steaming mineral bath near the shore of the river.  Inflatable kayaking, spotting wildlife, swimming, fishing, hiking, and beach games are activities the whole family will love.  Trips run June through September.

Middle Fork Salmon River
This superlative adventure is becoming as legendary as rafting through the Grand Canyon.  The Middle Fork of the Wild and Scenic Salmon River has more whitewater rapids than any similar-length river in the U.S.—over 100 rapids in 100 miles.  One of the most notable highlights of the Middle Fork Salmon is its constantly changing terrain. Beginning at 6000 feet in elevation, the Middle Fork is initially a high alpine river. But as it continues, the scenery changes significantly as the river travels through forested hills, open, rolling grasslands, and finally into a narrow, rocky gorge called Impassable Canyon.  Trips run May through September.

Snake River through Hells Canyon
The deepest gorge in North America.  The Snake River in Hells Canyon cuts through some of the most rugged, spectacular rockscapes on earth.  Short walks available in Hells Canyon lead to historic sites and Indian rock art, and for the more intrepid hikers, the spectacular vista from Suicide Point.  This canyon was home to the Nez Perce Indians and their ancestors for 6,000-8,000 years.  Trips run May through September.

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Pacific Northwest…

grand-altpacnw

From easy to epic, the cool, clear waters of California and the Pacific Northwest are a refreshing choice.

Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser Rivers
Float 130 miles through crystal clear, turquoise water of an incredible desert river, which drops over 3000 vertical feet.  The Chilko flows into the Chilcotin, which flows into the mighty Fraser.  The dramatically different sections of river offer a diversity of scenery, wildlife and roller coaster rapids.  Contrary to popular belief, O.A.R.S. guests are not experienced adventurers.  Participants come from all walks of professional life and find it easy to check out of civilization in Chilcotin country—it’s checking back in that’s tough.  Trips run from June through September.

Rogue River
The Wild and Scenic Rogue River winds its way through one of the most beautiful pine-forested canyons in North America.  Side canyons, swimming holes and sandy beaches make being out of the rafts as much fun as on them.  Wildlife sightings commonly include deer, beaver and river otter, along with an occasional black bear.  This river canyon is the birdwatcher’s and fisherman’s delight.   The generally moderate whitewater is ideal for all levels of experience, from beginner to intermediate.   Trips run May through September.

Tuolumne River
The Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River is less than four hours from the San Francisco Bay Area and minutes from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. This crown jewel of California whitewater rafting cascades through a spectacular and steep canyon that is lush green in the spring months and golden-hued throughout the summer. The canyon is a natural habitat for eagles, ring-tailed cats, river otter and other wildlife.

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Arctic Exploration…

grand-altarctic.tat

The top-of-the-world Tatshenshini River Expedition should be at the top of your list for remote adventure.

Tatshenshini River
Journey through alpine tundra and towering mountains rising to 8000+ feet with massive glaciers that often reach into the river and finally out onto the narrow coastal plain.  This is a primeval land of the grizzly, the raven and the eagle: wilderness in its purest form.   Trips run July through August.

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grand-alt-owyheeBe one of the few to explore a lesser known gem

Owyhee River:  the Grand Canyon of Oregon
This river offers breathtaking towering cliffs above the river and picturesque multi-colored geological formations of basalt flows interspersed with sedimentary rock and fossil deposits.  The river has cut deep canyons into the landscape revealing a geologic history beginning nearly 14 million years ago.  The headwaters of the Owyhee River are in Nevada.  After flowing through Idaho, it crosses the Owyhee uplands of southeastern Oregon, eventually flowing into the Snake River.  The trip offers side hikes, big sandy beaches and riverside hot springs.  Trips run April through May.

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Time of Year:

TRIP NAME
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
Cataract Canyon
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser Rivers
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Colorado and Green River Hiker Special
Yes
Green River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wild Alaska
Yes
Yes
Hells Canyon
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Main Salmon River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Middle Fork Salmon River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Owyhee River
Yes
Yes
Rogue River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
San Juan River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Tatshenshini River
Yes
Tuolumne River
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yampa River
Yes
Yes
Yes

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Company Info

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

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 Magazine 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 and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact info@oars.com or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
©2014
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222