Rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is a trip of a lifetime. You’ll spend more than two adventure-packed weeks floating through mile-deep canyons, camping on riverside beaches, hiking to towering waterfalls and plowing through overhead waves at Lava Falls, the biggest rapid in the canyon.
Rafting requires a boatload of people to work together to navigate around obstacles and swiftly maneuver the raft where it needs to go. That sense of teamwork translates to life off the river, too. “A sport like whitewater rafting, while requiring a strenuous physical and mental challenge, also requires you to work together as a team and respond to a rapidly and constantly changing external environment where teamwork is essential,” says Lawrence van Lingen, a sports therapist at Rausch Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. “The rigid athlete unable to adapt and respond will rapidly find himself at odds with his teammates.”
Book a guided trip, where a crew of experienced guides will escort you down the river and also cater delicious meals. To get the full feel of the Grand Canyon, opt for the complete 280-mile journey from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead, which takes 14 to 17 days. Some companies, like OARS, also offer five-day sampler trips, where you’ll fly into the lower section of the canyon. The best times of year are the shoulder seasons: April and May or September and October.