|MEETING PLACE:||DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 1175 W Route 66, Flagstaff, Arizona|
|MEETING TIME:||7:00 PM, the evening prior to your trip|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 3-4:00 PM to the DoubleTree in Flagstaff|
|HIKER RATING:||Moderate to strenuous|
|MILES COVERED:||10-miles of flatwater paddling & 1-9 miles hiking/day|
|TRIP LENGTH:||4 days/3 nights|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 12 years old|
|ACTIVITIES:||Flatwater kayaking on the Colorado River, hiking on the North Rim of Grand Canyon|
ATTENTION: OARS has developed a COVID-19 General Mitigation Plan that seeks to minimize the chances that disease transmission will occur on our trips. A condition of participation is to read, understand and agree to follow the rules and guidelines and participate in all screening measures. Failure to comply with these conditions of participation will result in declination of service and/or removal from the trip.
This exclusive, multi-sport Grand Canyon adventure is an active exploration of the park’s less-crowded North Rim and its vast surrounding wilderness. The lodge-based trip begins with a day of scenic paddling along the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From the unique vantage point of a kayak, we’ll explore the stunning Horseshoe Bend corridor, stopping at fascinating sites along the way. Back in Marble Canyon, we’ll enjoy a comfortable night of lodging before making our way to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Here, we’ll venture out to Cape Royal for hiking and some of the park’s most impressive panoramic views before spending a restful night at a nearby lodge. The next day takes us down the challenging North Kaibab Trail into the Inner Gorge of the canyon where every step rewards us with awe-inspiring vistas. Our intended destination is Roaring Springs; however, we may opt to hike out from Redwall Bridge depending on the group. A worthy celebration dinner awaits us back on the rim. The last day of this unique adventure includes a visit to the historic Navajo Bridge and well-deserved Navajo tacos at the renowned Cameron Trading Post before our return to Flagstaff.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, and sometimes the weather. Please refer to your confirmation letter for the exact dates of your trip. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
The Day Before Your Trip. . .
We’ll meet at 7:00 PM in the lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel in Flagstaff for a pre-trip meeting. This is an opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers and guides and ask any last-minute questions. Your guides will give you a thorough trip orientation and confirm the meeting time for the following morning.
We’ll depart Flagstaff early for the drive to Marble Canyon, stopping en route for some much needed coffee and a light breakfast. Arriving along the Colorado River at Marble Canyon, the starting point for Grand Canyon rafting trips, we’ll meet up with our backhaul service. This “water taxi” will transport us upstream approximately 1 hour just beyond Horseshoe Bend, and provide a preview of the sites that we’ll enjoy at a more leisurely pace from our kayaks.
After some paddling familiarization, we’ll begin our gentle float down the clear, calm waters of the Colorado, making stops to visit ancient petroglyphs and other points of interest only accessible by boat.
We’ll pull over for a picnic lunch on a beautiful white sand beach, and if we’re lucky, we may spot some Desert Bighorn Sheep, Osprey, California Condor, or even a wild horse or two!
After a day of paddling, we’ll check in to our lodge for the evening which affords us majestic views of the surrounding Vermilion Cliffs. Time permitting, we may take a short walk to the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic Site, or depending on interest, a more ambitious hike along the Spencer Trail, which provides a grand overview of the day’s paddling journey. Whichever option the group chooses, we’ll be more than ready for a hearty meal at the local restaurant.
(B, L, D) Cliff Dwellers Lodge or similar
A later start this morning, gives us the chance to enjoy the view and a leisurely breakfast. We plan to arrive at the North Rim by mid-day.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll take a winding, scenic drive across the Walhalla Plateau to Cape Royal, the southernmost viewpoint of the North Rim. A walking path leads us across the narrow neck on top of Angels Window, a naturally-formed arch in the Kaibab Limestone, to the edge of the canyon. From here, we’ll have the widest panorama of any Grand Canyon overlook with views including the Colorado River, the tall rocky summit of Vishnu Temple, the isolated wooded mesa of Wotans Throne and the South Rim.
After a day of exploring, we’ll check in to our lodge and enjoy dinner before retiring for the evening.
(B, L, D) Grand Canyon Lodge or similar
We meet early in the morning and drive to the North Kaibab Trailhead where we’re offered impressive views of the expansive canyon below. The hike begins with a series of steep, snaking switchbacks which take us through Roaring Springs Canyon. Upon arrival at the Supai Tunnel, we’ll find our first water and restrooms. The trail continues to descend rapidly through a massive Redwall Limestone layer that clings precipitously to the wall of the cliff while offering amazing vistas. At Bright Angel Canyon, the trail begins to flatten out and descend more gradually. As we approach Roaring Springs, the water source for both the North and South Rims, we can hear the raging torrent of water long before we see it. A short trail leads to the springs gushing from the Muav Limestone as it cascades below over ferns and moss into Bright Angel Creek. Depending upon the group, we may turn back at Redwall Bridge, but either option will test our endurance on the hike out.
After reaching the rim, you’ll have free time to relax or venture out on your own. In the evening, we’ll gather for dinner to celebrate a great day of hiking. After dinner, depending on the season, your guide may present an interpretive program covering a variety of interesting canyon topics.
(B, L, D) Grand Canyon Lodge or similar
Early risers may enjoy a short hike along the Transept Trail, which follows the rim of a side canyon, and offers a relaxing yet moderate hike with great rim views just off the path.
After a final breakfast, we’ll visit Navajo Bridge within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Between Bitter Springs and Jacob Lake, we arrive at two bridges similar in appearance, spanning the Colorado River. These two bridges, one historic and one new, represent one of only seven land crossings of the Colorado River for 750 miles (1207 km). The historic Navajo Bridge is a great spot to look for a California Condor.
On the drive back to Flagstaff, we’ll stop at Cameron Trading Post for Native American jewelry, rugs, pottery and art, and try some traditional Navajo frybread (tacos) for lunch. We will arrive back in Flagstaff mid-afternoon.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Round-trip transportation by van from Flagstaff
- Skilled, professional, experienced hiking guide(s)
- Highest quality kayaks and related equipment
- Meals as outlined in the itinerary
- 40-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle
- Three nights lodging (based on double occupancy)
- National Monument/Recreation Area entrance fees
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Flagstaff
- Single supplement $200
- Grand Canyon National Park entrance fee
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Items of a personal nature (an equipment list provided below)
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not included in itinerary
Trip Preparation Checklist
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.
☐ Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail 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.
☐ Reserve flights, shuttles and lodging: Verify with your adventure consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ 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. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Flagstaff is the meeting point and ending point for your Grand Canyon North Rim Explorer trip.
Meeting Place & Time
- The day before your trip we will meet at 7:00 PM in the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Flagstaff for a pre-trip meeting. Your trip leader will provide a thorough trip orientation and go over the packing procedure. You’ll have the opportunity to meet others on your trip and ask any last-minute questions. The trip leader will also confirm the meeting time for the following morning.
Getting to Flagstaff
American Airlines (800-433-7300) has flights into Flagstaff via Phoenix or Dallas.
United Airlines (800-864-8331) has flights into Flagstaff via Denver.
By Van from Phoenix
If you fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, you can arrange to be met at the airport and transferred by van shuttle to Flagstaff. Passengers are dropped-off at the Flagstaff Amtrak Station.
The trip takes about 3 hours and can be arranged through the following company (Advance reservations required & prices subject to change without notice):
Groome Transportation 928-350-8466; One-way fare: $49 per person
Additional Transportation Options
If the van shuttle times do not accommodate your travel schedule or if you need transportation to a different city, you may wish to contact one of the following companies:
A Friendly Cab: 800-853-4445 or 928-774-4444
Services Northern Arizona including the Grand Canyon
We suggest you leave your car at the DoubleTree Hotel in Flagstaff. They have a long-term lot, which is complimentary to OARS passengers who stay at the DoubleTree Hotel before or after their trip.
|Mileage and Driving Times to Flagstaff, AZ|
|Los Angeles||466 miles (7½ hours)|
|Phoenix||145 miles (2 ½ hours)|
|Las Vegas||254 miles (4 ½ hours)|
By Bus or Train
Greyhound and Amtrak both service Flagstaff. Amtrak arrives each evening from the East and every morning from the West.
After Your Trip
On the final day of your adventure, you will be returned to the DoubleTree Hotel in Flagstaff. You should arrive back by approximately 3:00-4:00 PM.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend that you reserve rooms well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff*
1175 W. Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
*The link above will take you directly to a site to book under our specially negotiated rate.
To make a reservation, call the number above and mention that you are traveling with OARS Grand Canyon Hikers to receive the special rate (reservations open 12 months in advance). The DoubleTree Hotel offers complimentary van transportation from the airport and Amtrak station. Call the hotel upon arrival for pick-up.
*Please note: you are not obligated to stay at the DoubleTree, there are a number of accommodation alternatives available in Flagstaff.
HIKING IN GRAND CANYON
Previous hiking experience is required for this trip. Even though this trip is escorted by an experienced hiking guide, it is necessary for participants to take the time to get into very good physical condition before beginning the trip. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of hiking into and out of the Grand Canyon and please don’t overestimate your physical capabilities. You will be required to carry a daypack holding your water bottles, breakfast/lunch, snacks, camera, etc. The extra weight of your daypack significantly increases the stress and amount of effort exerted.
If you have any concerns or are unsure whether you are in good enough shape for this trip, we strongly urge you to get your physician’s approval.
You’ll be hiking on maintained dirt trails. They are dusty, often steep and present occasional reinforced log steps and loose rock. They range in width from 3 to 5 feet with exposed overlooks. Hikers heading uphill are given the right of way.
North Kaibab Trail
The North Kaibab Trail is the most difficult and least visited of the three maintained trails in Grand Canyon National Park. Nearly a thousand feet higher at the trailhead than the South Rim trails, it was the last of the three to be built. After the completion of the South Kaibab Trail in the late 1920s, the park service sought to draw more tourists and increase access to the canyon from the North Rim. Plans were drawn up to cut a new trail between the North Rim and the river, replacing the then present-day route which crossed the Bright Angel Creek numerous times. The trail was masterfully constructed from the bottom up and in 1928 the North Kaibab Trail was finished. After connecting it to the South Kaibab Trail, the only maintained trans-canyon rim to rim trail was formed.
At the North Rim our accommodations will be at Grand Canyon Lodge.* The lodge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is the only lodging at the North Rim inside the park. Nestled in a forested setting, the lodge overlooks the North Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Creek. It features rustic motel rooms and cabins, a dining room with views of the canyon, sun room, snack shop, saloon and gift shop.
*Please note: Accommodations at Grand Canyon Lodge are occasionally unavailable, and we must modify our trips slightly. On these modified trips you will stay in a lodge of similar quality just outside the park boundary. We will let you know as soon as possible if this applies to your trip.
While out exploring, your guide will set up lunch options at nearby picnic areas. For provided restaurant meals, you will be able to order from the standard menus.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. For certain serious food allergies or medical restrictions, it may not be possible to accommodate your needs.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy.
Please discuss with your adventure consultant if you have any questions regarding the meals on this trip.
Beverages / Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of your adventure, but are available for purchase at the lodges.
OARS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our guests and for our staff. We ask that smoking of any kind be done away and downwind from other trip participants.
We are obligated to adhere to the regulations established by the managing agency with jurisdiction over the area in which our trip operates. Use of marijuana on federal lands, whether it be medicinal or recreational, is illegal and therefore we ask that you refrain from bringing it with you on your OARS trip.
Drinking Water Along the Trail
You should have a minimum of 2 liters (~64 ounces) of water with you before you leave the rim. A hydration system, such as a CamelBak® is a great option. There is drinking water available at the North Kaibab trailhead, and additional points along the trail.
Resthouses Along the Trail
There are permanent resthouses with pit toilets along the North Kaibab trail.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. You can use sandwich-sized Ziploc baggies during the day to store feminine products while you are hiking, and you can then discretely dispose of the baggies when you reach the lodge. When possible, we recommend o.b.® tampons, which are 1/3 the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping. If you use pads, be sure to bring extras. Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes.
Good foot care is a must. You should have footwear that is comfortable and well broken-in. Trim your toenails a little below the tip of your toe before you begin your hike. As you hike downhill your toes will be pushed into the end of your boots. Toenails that are too long will jam into the front of your boot which can cause severe bruising to the point that they may fall off. If you start getting hot spots put some moleskin or second skin on the spot before it blisters. Change socks, slow down, rest in the shade.
You will want to store your camera in your hiking pack through the day, so ensure your hiking pack has enough room and protection for your camera equipment. We strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries and any other extras you will need.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you please be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip, and leave your drone at home*.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is limited cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are properly stowed. If you intend to take your phone with you, consider investing in an appropriate anti-impact cover for your phone.
*The use of drones is prohibited by Grand Canyon National Park
If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). We will relay the message to you, however please keep in mind, that it could be several hours or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
Fire activity frequently impacts the air quality on our trips, and occasionally wildfires may be present in the immediate vicinity of where we’re traveling. Smoke impacts are more likely in the latter-half of the summer season, so those with asthma or other respiratory conditions may wish to steer clear of this time frame. In general, we will not cancel a trip on account of smoky conditions, except in cases of clear danger to life or property. Necessary changes to logistics and/or destination may occur with very short notice as fire conditions are constantly changing. We will do our best to keep you apprised of excessively smoky conditions that can be foreseen for your upcoming trip, but we also encourage you to stay informed about local fire activity: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Our standard cancellation terms & conditions apply should you choose to cancel due to environmental conditions resulting from a wildfire near to where our trip operates. Please review our Terms & Conditions section in this document, below. Furthermore, we recommend you consider investing in a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan that provides you the ability to “cancel for any reason” should you feel conditions from a nearby wildfire may result in you canceling your reservation.
If you require the use of a CPAP machine and intend to bring one with you, be sure to alert your OARS Adventure Consultant prior to your trip to let us know the dimensions of the machine, description of battery(s), and any protective case(s). Travel-sized CPAP’s are readily available and often come with a battery kit. You must assess the power needs of your CPAP and bring the battery(s) needed to operate it for each night of your travels. If this is a challenge for you please contact your OARS Adventure Consultant and our team will work to ensure you’re able to power the machine during the trip. We’re able to accommodate the transportation of your machine and accessories on the trip in metal dry boxes or soft dry bags; however, please understand that despite efforts to protect your equipment we can’t guarantee your machine and accessories won’t suffer water or impact damage and therefore we recommend additional protective case(s) for your machine & accessories.
Our guides do not carry firearms on our trips, and in most cases are prohibited from doing so by the managing agency. As a matter of preference, we ask all our guests to kindly leave your own firearms at home or in your vehicle.
Your trip will visit areas ranging from 6000 – 8400 feet above sea level, therefore you may experience symptoms associated with altitude illness. We recommend the following measures to help prevent altitude illness: arrive ahead of your scheduled departure to allow for acclimatization; drink 3-4 quarts of water every day; make sure about 70% of your calories come from carbs; only use alcohol, tobacco or sleeping aid medications in moderation or not all. Please familiarize yourself with symptoms, treatment and more about altitude illness at the CDC.
In the desert climate of the Grand Canyon, temperatures and weather can fluctuate a great deal 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. There are no absolutes when talking about weather in the canyon.
The temperature at the rim of the canyon is generally about 20-30 degrees cooler then the temperature in the canyon since the rim is close to 8000 feet in elevation. There is also the possibility of early snow storms on the rim in October.
The descriptions and chart below lists average weather conditions, maximum and minimum temperatures and average rainfall. This chart should be used only as a general guide. Packing according to the list will prepare you for all weather conditions.
Average Air Temperatures (°F) and Rainfall
|Marble Canyon||North Rim|
Current Weather Conditions
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date forecast. We recommend the following web site: www.weather.gov. Below is a list of what you’ll need to type in the “search box” on the web site:
|City/Region||Type in Search Box|
|Marble Canyon/Lees Ferry||Marble Canyon|
|Grand Canyon North Rim||North Rim|
Hikers Responsibility Code
- Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.
- Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.
- Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.
- Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.
- Abide by the managing agency’s rules.
- No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip; alcohol is allowed in moderation in the evening on overnight trips.
- Minimize your impact on the environment.
- Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
- Your children are your responsibility!
Essential Eligibility Criteria for Hiking Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS hiking trip.
1. Ability to walk ten or more miles in a backcountry environment.
2. Ability to independently navigate rough terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
3. Ability to walk and maintain your balance on backcountry hiking trails, including trails with rocks, roots and low branches. The trails are dusty, steep, and present numerous reinforced log steps, loose rocks, and mule excrement. They range in width from 3 to 5 feet with exposed overlooks.
4. Ability to carry your own daypack with a minimum of 4 liters of water, rain gear, insulating layers, sunscreen and food (approx. 10 lbs).
5. Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
6. Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
7. If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
8. Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn and frostbite.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a hiking trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria,” but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness hiking trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including excessive heat and the potential for cold, sun, wind, rain and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters in the wilderness can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense, and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on the trail (by way of example) are: walking around without shoes in camp, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.
Backcountry hiking trips are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your hiking ability.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. For this trip you should be exercising 3-5 times a week. The best way to get ready for a hike in the Grand Canyon is to combine cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, strength training and hiking. Walking or slow jogging is not enough. More strenuous activity such as lengthy hikes on inclines, running or cycling is required. Running and exercising on elliptical machines and stair steppers are also great ways to increase your endurance and strengthen your legs at the same time. While hiking, it is helpful to carry a weighted daypack and wear the same footwear that you will be using for your Grand Canyon hike. Please refer to the document “Training for your Grand Canyon Hiker Trip.” Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
Packing for Your Trip
The information below is subject to when your trip takes place. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.
Hand Sanitizer and Face Coverings
All guests must supply their own hand sanitizer and reusable/washable face coverings (minimum of two) consisting of two or more layers. A clean face covering should be used each day of your trip; masks may be reused if they are washed.
For more information, visit the CDC
Paddling — Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks as a base layer. Additional layers for sun protection or insulation can be added and subtracted depending on the weather, temperature and how wet you plan on getting!
Hiking wear – Start with sunscreen, shorts or long pants (convertible pants are great), and long or short-sleeved shirt. Then add additional layers for sun protection or insulation depending on the time of year. As the day warms up layers can be taken off and stored in your daypack, but you should come prepared as weather conditions can be extremely varied.
Evening wear – After a long day on the trail you may want to refresh and change into clean, comfortable clothing. Soft, loose-fitting shorts/pants, t-shirts/shirts, etc. will allow you to truly relax in the evening. Dinner attire in Marble Canyon, and on the rim is casual.
Footwear will make or break your trip. On the trail you will want a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots with good support and soles. A pair of sandals or flip flops to change into at the end of the day will give your feet a break from your trail shoes and will provide additional comfort.
Please note: If you plan to buy footwear for the trip make sure you get it far enough in advance to break it in and wear your footwear until it’s comfy—if your feet hurt you won’t enjoy the trip!
Wide-brimmed hats or ball caps are a good choice for sun protection. When the weather is cooler, you may also want a beanie-style hat.
Hot Weather Trips
A good way to keep cool is with long-sleeved cotton shirts. Old collared dress shirts work well. They can be soaked in the water and worn while hiking. This method of evaporative cooling is very effective. Bandanas are another useful item that can be used in this manner. During summer months, conditions on the trail will be hot and sunny. These trips require less gear than spring or fall trips, but thoughtful packing is still required. Protection from the sun and heat will be critical to your enjoyment and health while hiking.
Late June, July and August Trips: This can be some of the hottest times to be in the inner canyon, but can also bring thunderstorms with heavy downpours. At this time of year you should plan on carrying your rain gear with you in your daypack.
Late September and October Trips: These are surely some of the most beautiful months in the canyon, but they can also produce some surprisingly chilly times. During the spring and fall the sun is not far enough north in the sky to reach its warming rays down into the bottom of the canyon for as many hours a day as it does in the summer. This means more shady areas, fewer sunny ones.
To Avoid Being Cold:
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on trips. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet, dries quickly, it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your daypack after you take it off, and can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
Rain gear protects you from rain and wind. It is one of the essential items that all hikers should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for a jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. Rheos, the official sunglasses sponsor of OARS guides, offers polarized floatable nautical eyewear with 100% UV protection at www.rheosgear.com. Use promo code OARS15 to save 15% on any purchase from The Nautical Eyewear Collection.
In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. Be sure to bring a good hat that offers full coverage, such as a wide-brimmed hat.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes are generally not a problem on this trip, although it’s a good idea to come prepared with a small amount of insect repellent just in case.
Suggested Packing List
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Daypack with hip-belt: should be large enough to carry water, lunch and a camera, as well as a warm layer of clothing and rain jacket (750 – 2000 cu. in)
☐ Hydration pack with 2 liter capacity
☐ Water bottle: 1 liter capacity, durable and reusable (OARS will provide a 40-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle)
☐ Trekking poles: collapsible (we will provide trekking poles if you don’t have your own)
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized such as Rheos floatable eyewear www.rheosgear.com) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, second skin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ Face coverings (2)
☐ Cash for goodies at Phantom Ranch (they also accept credit cards), gratuities and meals not included in the itinerary
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®) “Aqua socks”
☐ Lightweight hiking boots or shoes: comfortable, with good tread and well broken-in (not new)
☐ Sandals or flip flops for evening after hiking
☐ Hiking socks: 3-4 pair mid-weight (Merino wool is best)
☐ Swimwear: a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the
restroom. Tankinis and board shorts are a great option
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Long pants and/or shorts: lightweight and light color for sun protection (convertible pants are great)
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant) for rain and wind. A hooded jacket is recommended
☐ T-shirts or lightweight breathable tops
☐ Synthetic or merino wool long underwear: 1 set top & bottom: mid-weight
☐ Jacket: fleece or down/synthetic fill puffy (depending on the time of year)
☐ Fleece top: mid-weight
☐ Warm hat and gloves
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Hand sanitizer: small bottle
☐ Plastic and zip-lock bags to separate clean and dry clothes from wet and dirty
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Binoculars: lightweight and small
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore (www.oars.com/OARStore) and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Local Outdoor Equipment Stores
14 W Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001; (928) 779-4521
Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters
12 East Aspen Avenue, Flagstaff, AZ 86001; (928) 774-4775
Packing Your Gear
As this is a lodge-based adventure, you will have access to your main luggage at all times. A daypack to carry water, snacks, sunscreen and rain gear is essential.
We recommend you leave your valuables at home. For necessary personal items such as a wallet, credit cards, etc., we recommend carrying those in the bottom of your daypack.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 8 – 12% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader in the form of cash or personal check, who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll notice a $1/person/day donation to the Grand Canyon Fund, an environmental trust fund. Your contribution will be deposited with the foundation, through which grants are distributed to organizations such as the Grand Canyon Trust. This donation is voluntary and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to the The Pam & George Wendt Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit https://www.oars.com/oars-foundation/ to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
Gear up in the OARStore where 15% of all purchases help fund outdoor adventures for under-resourced youth
Shop for the latest in top-quality clothing, footwear & outdoor gear
Explore gear made and tested for water-lovers
The best Grand Canyon books
OARS practices a Leave No Trace conservation ethic
Watch our “How To Pack For A River Trip” video
Flagstaff Visitors Convention & Visitors Bureau
Grand Canyon info and area maps
Terms and Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $400/person deposit is required at the time of booking. Deposits may be made by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). 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.
Cancelling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 50 days prior to the departure date will be cancelled without exception.
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 do 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 (see Travel Protection below).
Date of Cancellation Cancellation Fee
180 or more days prior to your trip $50/person
179 – 90 days prior to your trip $100/person
89 – 60 days prior to your trip $200/person
59 days or less prior to your trip Full Fare
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 cancelled 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 cancelled trip.
If you need to move your reservation to a different trip during the same season, or to a credit account for the following year, there is a $25/person fee up until 90 days prior to departure for a one-time transfer of your payment. Transfer requests made 89 days or less prior to departure will be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
Within 5 days prior to your trip departure date, you must complete a Health and Hygiene Pledge for your travel unit and answer questions regarding whether you have had any recent symptoms of respiratory illness associated with COVID-19 or other communicable disease. You will be screened at the beginning of the trip and on subsequent days throughout the trip for fever, breathing problems and other symptoms. If you exhibit symptoms, you may be quarantined from the group or required to evacuate at your own expense.
Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.
Liability Release / Assumption of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release / assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. West, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, pandemics, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and wellbeing of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 4 guests – 6 for gourmet, craft beer and wine trips), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. Upon advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.