Imagine this: It’s your second day in the canyon and you are overwhelmed by how monumentally tall the walls around you seem to have gotten in such a short time. In the distance you see what appears to be a small sliver of cave and beach (though when you get close you will realize it is actually the enormous Redwall Cavern—large enough for a comfortable game of Frisbee or Wiffle ball). Over your head, dark clouds have been gathering, and as you approach the cavern, they break open and begin to rain. All around you, waterfalls begin to cascade down the sides of the massive Redwall cliffs. This is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Monsoon season can be one of the most beautiful times to raft through Grand Canyon. During drier times the sun looms overhead, heating everything and washing out the brilliant colors around you. But in the rain, sunlight filters through the clouds and all the colors feel a little richer. Waterfalls appear where there is otherwise only rock. The air around you cools, and everything in the canyon seems to take a big, long drink.

In most cases (even during monsoon season), storms like these are short lived. In this desert environment rain tends to come all at once and then subside, and we welcome it gladly. Count yourself lucky if you have a chance to experience one of these incredible storms and all the changes it brings to the canyon.

And if you’re nervous about camping in the rain, don’t worry. We’ve got tips for how to get the most out of even the rainiest trips down the Colorado River.

[Photo credit: Charles Maudlin]

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