Grand Canyon Dories: Whitmore Wash to Pearce Ferry

Location Grand Canyon, Arizona Adventure Level Moderate Minimum age 7 River Rating Class III (Class IV possible at certain water levels) From $3499
Call toll-free 1 (800) 346-6277

This Grand Canyon dory trip is the best way to explore below the rim if you’re short on time or looking for a family-friendly adventure. Stay at a working ranch, take a scenic helicopter ride to the put-in, and explore the final stretch of the majestic Lower Grand Canyon by dory.

The Whitmore Wash to Pearce Ferry section of the Colorado River is a good trial for folks not sure they are ready for a longer Grand Canyon dory trip. We meet you in Las Vegas and transport you by van and small plane to Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim of Grand Canyon for an afternoon of ranch activities including horseback riding, horseshoe pitching, hiking, and skeet shooting, topped off with an evening of country entertainment.

The next morning, you fly into Grand Canyon by helicopter where your guides await your arrival at Whitmore Wash. We’ll cross the shattered Hurricane fault zone before heading west into the final majesty of the Lower Grand Canyon. This dory trip affords an opportunity to hike and explore this exquisite desert wonderland by foot. Several beautiful side canyons invite you to linger in spring-fed streams. Your Grand Canyon adventure ends with a jet boat ride to Pearce Ferry and a return shuttle to Las Vegas by van.

Trip Highlights
  • Scenic flight from Las Vegas
  • Stay at a working cattle ranch and hike, horseback ride, or skeet shoot
  • Helicopter ride to the river
  • Experience the allure of a Grand Canyon dory trip in fun whitewater, ideal for first-timers
  • Riverside camping with fresh, delicious guide-prepared meals

What to Expect

Itinerary & Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Grand Canyon dory trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water, camp locations, and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:

Day 1

We’ll meet at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. From here, we drive you to nearby Boulder City Airport where you will board a small plane for the 45-50 minute flight to Bar 10 Ranch.

Lunch will be served at Bar 10, and afterward, you are free to participate in any of the activities that the ranch has to offer. Finish the day with some country-western entertainment provided by the ranch hands.

Day 2

The aroma of a country breakfast gently awakens you. Following breakfast, you’ll fly by helicopter to the river’s edge at Whitmore Wash, where your river guides await your arrival. After repacking your gear into the waterproof bags and a safety talk, we’ll load the dories, fit you with a personal flotation device (PFD) and start down the river. Whitmore Rapid soon whets your appetite.

Ideally, we reach camp each day with plenty of time to relax, play beach games, or chat with new friends as the guides prepare a delicious meal.

Day 3

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll repack our gear and load the boats for a full day on the water.

Today, we’ll discover splashy, fun-filled rapids like 205, 209, and 217 Mile, which discount the myth that all the good whitewater occurs above Whitmore Wash. 

More than just whitewater, however, this Grand Canyon dory trip affords an opportunity to hike and explore this exquisite desert wonderland.

Day 4

Our last full day on the river, we slip past Diamond Creek and enter the Lower Granite Gorge. We make our final camp at or just above Separation Rapid. As we set up our final campsite, we feel a strange sense of loss – our adventure is coming to a close. The stars seem extra lovely tonight.

Day 5

In the morning, you’ll board a jet boat for an ~1 hour, 40-mile ride downstream to the take-out at Pearce Ferry. From here, you travel by van shuttle (approximately 3 hours) back to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas

Meeting time

10:20 AM

Return

1 to 3 PM to Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas

Trip Map

Dates & Prices

2024 DeparturesPrice
June 6, 25$3,499
July 16$3,499
August 6, 16$3,499
September 4, 8$3,499
2025 DeparturesPrice
June 12, 24$3,599
July 15$3,599
August 4, 15 $3,599
September 3$3,599

Deposit

• First deposit: $500 per person (due at the time of booking)
• Second deposit: $500 per person (due by November 1 of the year before your trip)

Additional Costs

• $20 GCNP Entrance Fee
• Sleep kit and tent rental included


Prices subject to National Park Service review

The Need-to-Know Info

Trip Details

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation by van and plane from Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport to Bar 10 Ranch
  • Lodging at Bar 10 Ranch, plus select ranch activities (e.g. horseback riding, skeet shooting, and hiking)
  • Helicopter ride from Bar 10 Ranch to Whitmore Wash
  • Skilled professional guide service
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on the last day
  • Expedition equipment, including 2-person shared tent, personal flotation device (PFD), helmet, waterproof bags, camp chair, as well as eating utensils and plates
  • Van Shuttle from Pearce Ferry to Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation to and from Las Vegas
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
  • Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Fee
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
A guide rows four guests through a rapid in a dory named Lava Cliff on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

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

After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Our first task is to unload the boats using a fire-line of crew and guests to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. 

While you put up your tent, the guides will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet, where privacy is assured.

As guides prepare dinner, hors d’oeuvres are served. This is an opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink if you wish, and reflect on the day with your fellow traveling companions.

In the morning, the first wake-up call lets you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit, and cold cereal are ready. You can fill your mug and grab a bite, then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the guides prepare breakfast.

After breakfast, the entire camp is broken down and packed up. Once the guides have all of the gear loaded back onto the boats, we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.

More info about Meals & Dietary Restrictions can be found on our Trip Resources page.

There are no absolutes when talking about the weather in Grand Canyon. Temperatures and weather can fluctuate greatly throughout the day. It can be clear, dry, and hot, and in the next moment, it can be cool and rainy. These conditions can manifest in any month. The descriptions and chart below list average weather conditions, maximum and minimum temperatures, and average rainfall. This chart should be used only as a general guide.

April: April is less crowded in the canyon and is an excellent time to view cacti in bloom. The days are shorter with a chance of possible storms, but at night you can sit around the campfire (April & October only).

May: Weather is moderate and consistent, but can be windy at times. The water is very often clear from mid to late May.

June: Early June has hot days and mild nights with temperatures increasing with each day into the month. A very busy time to be in the canyon.

July: Very hot with the chance of some early monsoons. Any and all weather can be experienced at this time

August: Hot and typically monsoon season with thunderstorms. The clouds and showers help lower the temperatures for a period of time.

September: Moderate temperatures, cooling as the month progresses. There is less traffic in the canyon since September 15 is the last launch date for motorized trips.

October: Can be very nice, but always presents a possibility of storms. Need to be prepared for changes in weather conditions. Nice temperatures for side hikes and opportunities to sit around the campfires at night (April & October only).

 

Average Air Temperatures & Rainfall

Day (°F)Night (°F)Rainfall
April8256.47″
May9263.36″
June10172.30″
July10678.84″
August103751.40″
September9769.97″
October8458.65″

Summer temperatures (June, July & August): Please note that the average summer temperatures listed can be misleading. These temperatures are recorded in very specific locations and circumstances. In the summer it is not uncommon for the temperature to rise above 110° F. At the same time, temperatures can suddenly plummet with increased cloud cover. The advice is to always be prepared with rain gear and clothing that can be layered.

Temperature at the Rim: The temperature at the rim is generally 20-30 degrees cooler than along the river since the South Rim is around 7,000’ in elevation. Keep this in mind, especially if you are on an early spring or late fall trip.

WATER LEVELS & TEMPERATURE

The water levels of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon are regulated by the release of water from the Glen Canyon Dam. The Colorado generally fluctuates up and down several feet within the day, based on the time of year and demand for electricity. Because the flow is dam regulated, even in a drought year, the water levels are fairly consistent. The temperature of the river has historically been 48°- 55° F, though it can trend warmer when upstream reservoir levels are lower.

Whitewater

The sun reflects off the top of rapids as an OARS dory heads into turbulent waters in Grand Canyon

There are 5 rapids rated 5 or higher on the Whitmore Wash to Lake Mead 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. This section has milder whitewater than the river upstream, but it still provides plenty of cool, splashy fun.

Before booking your trip with OARS, there are a few important considerations we’d like you to know about.

  • Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. If you exceed 245 pounds, please give us a call. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

  • Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our Whitewater Orientation video before joining us.
  • Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation email for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.

Reservations and Payments

  • For Whitmore Wash to Pearce Ferry trips, a deposit of $500/person is required at the time of reservation. A second deposit of $500/person is due in our office by November 1 of the year before your trip.
  • If you make your reservation after November 1 of the year before your trip, the entire $1000/person deposit is due at the time of reservation.
  • Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled.

Payments can be made by check, money order, eCheck, wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency. Your payment is fully refundable for 7 days, less a 3% processing fee, after making a reservation when you reserve a trip 7 days or more prior the final payment due date.

Cancellations and Refunds

Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.

If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

Date of CancellationCancellation Fee
180 or more days before your trip$200/person
179 – 120 days before your trip$400/person
119 – 90 days before your trip$750/person
89 days or less before your tripFull Fare

Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation email for details.

Canceled Trips

OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days prior to departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.

Transfers

Because our trips in Grand Canyon are heavily booked or completely sold out 12-18 months in advance, there are limited opportunities to transfer to a new trip. Generally, transfer requests must be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above. Contact our Grand Canyon reservations department for more information.

National Park Service Authorized Concessioner

O.A.R.S. Grand Canyon, Inc. is an authorized concessioner of Grand Canyon National Park

Ancestral Lands Acknowledgement

We respect and recognize that many of the river canyons on state and federal lands where we operate are the ancestral homes of indigenous communities. Where we operate on the Colorado River between Whitmore Wash and Pearce Ferry, we acknowledge the territories of the Navajo Nation, the Pueblo of Zuni, Ute, Southern Paiute, Hopi, Hualapai, and Havasupai.

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