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Rafting Grand Canyon’s Granite Gorge

Program No. 21044RJ
Few adventures in life can match the thrill of rafting the Colorado River. Come experience this journey as you join local experts to raft through the Grand Canyon and learn a whole lot!
7 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at

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DATES & starting prices
Apr 25 - May 1, 2023
Starting at
May 9 - May 15, 2023
Starting at
Sep 19 - Sep 25, 2023
Starting at
Oct 3 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Apr 25 - May 1, 2023
Starting at
May 9 - May 15, 2023
Starting at
Sep 19 - Sep 25, 2023
Starting at
Oct 3 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at

At a Glance

Rafting the Colorado River through Grand Canyon's Granite Gorge is the best way to access spectacular rapids and remote beaches. Experience the canyon on a hike-and-raft expedition in a little-seen part of western Grand Canyon uncovering a geologic past stretching back almost 2 billion years! Local experts provide knowledge and leadership on river and trail and prepare meals as you relax on spectacular riverside campsites.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking 2-5 miles. Rafting three days. Sleeping in tents on a pad with sleeping bag. Daytime summer temperatures in the inner canyon can exceed 100 F. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.
Micro Group
Micro Group
These adventures feature our smallest group size, with 12 participants or fewer.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Camp for three days in the Grand Canyon and raft the Granite Gorge through thrilling whitewater rapids.
  • Study the geologic and natural history of the Grand Canyon with a geologist/naturalist.
  • Spend a day hiking in Grand Canyon National Park for a comprehensive view of this incomparable destination.

General Notes

This is a Micro Group program, with 12 or fewer participants. River permits cannot be acquired until five months prior to program start date. Check with Road Scholar before purchasing plane tickets as program dates may change. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Kristin Hooten
Kristin Hooten has spent the majority of her life in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned a bachelor's degree in Parks and Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Education and Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Kristin has worked in the outdoor industry in different capacities and enjoys her ongoing education with the surrounding region. When not in the office or field, she is found enjoying the great outdoors either on a paddleboard or in her camper.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Kristin Hooten
Kristin Hooten View biography
Kristin Hooten has spent the majority of her life in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned a bachelor's degree in Parks and Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Education and Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Kristin has worked in the outdoor industry in different capacities and enjoys her ongoing education with the surrounding region. When not in the office or field, she is found enjoying the great outdoors either on a paddleboard or in her camper.
Profile Image of Brendan O'Brien
Brendan O'Brien View biography
Brendan O’Brien holds a Master of Science in Geography degree from Northern Arizona University and calls Flagstaff home. He has held jobs in the outdoor education field for much of the last decade with time spent as a Park Ranger in White Sands National Monument and a forest technician in Flathead National Forest. Brendan loves all the outdoor activities that Northern Arizona offers and especially its crystal clear night skies where he can enjoy his passion for star gazing.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis
by Glennon, Robert
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry.
Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories, and Mystery
by Ranney, Wayne
Ranney explains how rivers in general can physically carve canyons, looks chronologically at the numerous theories that have been presented by successive generations of geologists regarding the Grand Canyon's formation, and describes a plausible sequence of geologic events that could create such a landscape. Numerous color photographs, detailed illustrations, and maps are provided. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR 160pp; 2nd edition 2012.
Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region
by Anderson, Michael F
A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
by Powell, John Wesley
Full text of Powell's 1,000-mile expedition down the fabled Colorado in 1869. Superb account of terrain, geology, vegetation, Indians, famine, mutiny, treacherous rapids, mighty canyons. 240 illustrations. 432pp
The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
by Fletcher, Colin
The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon. 256pp
Writing Down the River: Into the Heart of the Grand Canyon
by Collection of Authors
Copious, dramatic color photographs and poetic quotations illustrate these essays describing the whitewater rafting experiences of 15 prominent female writers sent down the Colorado River during the summer of 1997.
Woman of the River: Georgie White Clark, White-Water Pioneer
by Richard E. Westwood
Georgie White Clark-adventurer, raconteur, eccentric--first came to know the canyons of the Colorado River by swimming portions of them with a single companion. She subsequently hiked and rafted portions of the canyons, increasingly sharing her love of the Colorado River with friends and acquaintances. At first establishing a part-time guide service as a way to support her own river trips, she went on to become perhaps the canyons' best-known river guide, introducing their rapids to many others-on the river, via her large-capacity rubber rafts, and across the nation, via magazine articles and movies. Georgie Clark saw the river and her sport change with the building of Glen Canyon Dam, enormous increases in the popularity of river running, and increased National Park Service regulation of rafting and river guides. Adjusting, though not always easily, to the changes, she helped transform an elite adventure sport into a major tourist activity.
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West
by Stegner, Wallace
Here Wallace Stegner, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, gives us a thrilling account of Powell's struggle against western geography and Washington politics. We witness the successes and frustrations of Powell's distinguished career, and appreciate his unparalleled understanding of the West. "Stegner's most exciting work." (San Francisco Chronicle) 496pp
I Am the Grand Canyon: The Story of the Havasupai People
by Hirst, Stephen
I Am the Grand Canyon is the story of the Havasupai people. From their origins among the first group of Indians to arrive in North America some 20,000 years ago to their epic struggle to regain traditional lands taken from them in the nineteenth century, the Havasupai have a long and colorful history. The story of this tiny tribe once confined to a too small reservation depicts a people with deep cultural ties to the land, both on their former reservation below the rim of the Grand Canyon and on the surrounding plateaus. 276pp
The Emerald Mile
by Kevin Fedarko
In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd, but downright suicidal. The Emerald Mile, at one time slated to be destroyed, was rescued and brought back to life by Kenton Grua, the man at the oars, who intended to use this flood as a kind of hydraulic sling-shot. The goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled—by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself—down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.
Sunk Without a Sound
by Brad Dimock
Grand Canyon, this adventure / mystery / biography details the true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, who vanished on their 1928 honeymoon river trip through Grand Canyon. When they did not appear at journey's end, Glen's father launched an exhaustive search of Grand Canyon. Although the boat was soon found upright and fully loaded, no trace of the honeymooners was ever found. They had vanished from the face of the earth. Or had they? In the years since, four people appearing to be either Glen or Bessie have emerged, each with a tale implying murder and mayhem. Author and boatman Brad Dimock has unearthed the true story of the Hydes, followed each tale to its source, and gone so far as to retrace the Hydes' fateful voyage in a replica of their archaic scow.
11 Reviews
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5 Average
(5) Review left 10/20/2022

Everyone should put rafting in the Granite Gorge in the Grand Canyon at the top of their bucket list. It is a once in a lifetime adventure.

(5) Review left 10/02/2022

From beginning to end, this Grand Canyon river rafting and camping trip was phenomenal. The professional and super-proficient crew, the organizational preparation down to the tiniest detail, the spectacular landscapes and memorable river adventures—all made our 14th Road Scholar trip unforgettable. We are not campers, have never camped outdoors in our lives, never spent a night in a tent, but found this doable, accessible, manageable because the crew does the set-up, provides the meals, and makes it all flow in a well-practiced sequence, with plenty of room for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries. We still haven’t spent a night in a tent because we chose to sleep outside under the stars with our pad and sleeping bag and the Milky Way overhead. I know there’s always a waitlist for this trip, but do what you can to be a part of this outdoor exploration. We discovered we’re capable of more than we thought. It’s challenging, it’s intense, it’s rewarding, it’s extraordinary. —Ben and Joyce Wiley/Florida

(5) Review left 9/27/2022

Outstanding awesome trip experiencing the canyon from the rim and the river. Be sure to try rowing the paddleboat the last morning even if only for a few minutes and be sure to take a turn in the duckies. There are two tiny rapids; maybe even give steering rapids a try. Also be sure to read the trip specific packing instructions very carefully so you aren't caught off guard once on the river. The weather will do anything it wants and practically nothing that is predicted. Enjoy.

(5) Review left 10/21/2021

Great fun, great weather, great friends and staff!

(5) Review left 5/23/2019

21044 River Rafting the Granite Gorge was the best yet of the two I have taken, mainly because it was a bit out of my comfort zone. I love the learning part that goes with the program, partly because I love to learn about my world, but also because the learning part and activity ratings weed out the people that would slow down the group. Everyone in our group was enthusiastic, fun, ready to help and share. I enjoyed it immensely and can’t wait for #3. I travel by myself and have no qualms doing that as a female who is an active 71. Thank You Road Scholar!

(5) Review left 5/21/2019

Exceptional experience. This was our first Roads Scholar course and will not be the last. Professionalism is a constant. Top quality Guide/Instructor (thanks Mike...hope we meet again) who’s exceptional knowledge of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, great rafting skills, affability, and outstanding people skills made this adventure so enjoyable. Top quality rafting crew....four friendly and energetic young men who give me hope for the future (thanks Clint, Evan, Alex and Quinn...great job). Camping under the stars or in a tent was fantastic. Food top notch. You really forget about the outside world while on this trip and marvel at the natural wonder and treasure that is the Grand Canyon. As a bonus, you meet great people who you can form lasting friendships in the future. Loved small group...eleven students. A perspective on the Grand Canyon that is a MUST if you’re up to the challenge.

(5) Review left 5/12/2019

A terrific experience -- rafting through the Grand Canyon, on moderately challenging rapids, camping on the riverbank, sleeping under the stars, eating great food, and with a fun group of participants, boatmen, and guide. All around, an A+ experience!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 5/06/2019

This was an outstanding trip. We had 4 days of beautiful sights from the Colorado River. Side hikes took us to secreted away waterfalls. Our guide, Jeff, had an astounding wealth of knowledge about the area, and the crew from NAU (Clint, Evan, Benny and Alex) were marvelous.

(5) Review left 5/02/2019

I loved experiencing the Grand Canyon from a unique perspective! The first day’s hike along the South Rim is a great start to learning about the history and geology - our Road Scholar trip leader Jeff is an encyclopedia on everything about the Grand Canyon. The first 2 rafting days are class 3-4 whitewater. I had no whitewater experience but always felt safe with our very experienced river guides. The guides also took us to beautiful waterfalls via easy hikes, and if anyone in our group needed help, the guides were there to provide assistance. Camping on the river is not for everyone but I loved it. The stars are spectacular! You need to be able to carry your dry bag up sandy beaches. I was most worried about the “groover” but it was easy. The meals provided by the river guides were very good. This trip was AWESOME and I highly recommend it!

(5) Review left 5/01/2019

If you've ever dreamed about white water rafting down the Grand Canyon, this may be the trip for you! Paddling down the river with fun, experienced raftsmen, enjoying great meals prepared by them, and sleeping under an amazing star lit sky are only a few of the benefits of this program. Do this trip - you will be so glad you did!

(5) Review left 5/01/2019

A wonderful, exciting, beautiful week of rafting, hiking and camping under the stars. The food was amazing, the staff and group leader were kind, knowledgeable and welcoming to everyone. Amazing, I would recommend this to anyone who really wants to experience the Grand Canyon "up close!"

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