Frequently Asked Questions

We've got answers to your most common questions

Booking, Pricing, and Cancellations

How do I go rafting in Grand Canyon?

There are two ways people are able to arrange rafting trips down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. One is by obtaining a permit for a non-commercial (or “private”) trip through a lottery system, and the other is by booking a trip with a commercial outfitter.

Non-commercial trips are more appropriate for people who are able to assemble a group of people with whitewater rafting experience. For more information about non-commercial permits, visit the website for Grand Canyon National Park. (link to:

Commercial river trips are the style offered by Hatch. These trips are more appropriate for individuals and groups that may contain novice rafters, campers, and hikers. Commercial river trips include guided rafting with interpretation of the history, geology, archaeology, and other interesting facets of Grand Canyon. Additionally, on commercial river trips, essential camping and rafting gear as well as meals are provided. Commercial trips give people without personal rafting expertise an opportunity to access the beautiful and remote depths of Grand Canyon that few visitors ever see.

How far in advance should I book my Grand Canyon rafting trip with Hatch?

For most trips, booking 1 year in advance gives you plenty of time.

If you have a smaller group and aren’t picky about dates, you can often find a trip that will suit you during the same calendar year that you would like to travel.

If you have a large group or you have a very narrow window of dates that will work, you may want to get in touch with us a year to a year and a half in advance. Oar-powered trips, Upper and Lower Canyon trips, and Hiking Focused trips have much more limited offerings and also tend to book up sooner than 1 year in advance.

Do you offer day trips or half day trips?

Nope. It’s important to remember that the Colorado River flows through the bottom of the Grand Canyon—famous for its size and depth. This means that there are a limited number of access points where people and boats can get to and from the river. Those points are simply too far apart to make a day trip possible.

If you have an opportunity to take a little more time, we highly recommend it. One of the things people love about rafting in Grand Canyon is unplugging from their normal lives for an extended stay in this remote, backcountry environment.

Opportunities for day trips or half day trips on the Colorado River may be available outside of Grand Canyon National Park in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

What types and lengths of trips do you offer?

With Hatch, you can choose from 3 main trip types. Some of our trips also allow you to choose different sections of the canyon to travel. Different sections take different amounts of time to complete depending on your trip type. Note: Some of these trips have very limited offerings and require booking well in advance in order to secure space.

Motorized Trips

Oar-Powered Trips

Hiking Focused Trips (on motorized rafts)

If you are interested in doing a Full Canyon motorized trip with a charter group and would like to spend a bit more time on the river, contact us to ask about the possibility of adding additional days.

How much does a Grand Canyon river trip cost?

The standard rate for a 7 day motorized rafting trip with Hatch in 2023 is $3495 per person. You can explore through different trip types, different years, and different times of year to find different rates. For future years that have not been released yet, you can anticipate an increase of a few percent each year.

What is included in the price of my trip?

All trips include:

  • Meals and snacks (from launch to departure)
  • Beverages (excluding alcohol, soda, and other specialty drinks – guests may bring their own)
  • A souvenir insulated mug
  • Use of camping gear including:
    • Dishes and utensils
    • A lifejacket
    • A tent (one for every two guests)
    • A sleep kit (a sheet, pillow, ground cloth, and either a cot (motor trips) or a sleeping pad (oar trips))
    • A camp chair

Check the information pertaining to your particular trip type to determine whether any lodging or transportation is included in your trip cost.

A National Park entrance fee of $20 is charged separately from your trip cost.

Is guide gratuity included in the price of my trip?

No. Guide gratuity is greatly appreciated and at your discretion. A suggested guideline is at least 10% of your trip cost. Cash & checks (made out to the head boatman) should be given to the trip leader who will divide it equally among the crew. Please DO NOT issue checks to Hatch River Expeditions. We cannot accept credit cards for tips.

Do I have to pay a deposit? When is my full payment due?

An initial non-refundable deposit of $500 for each person is required to reserve your space. Your deposit must be in our office within 14 days of making your reservation. If a deposit is not received within 14 days we reserve the right to cancel the reservation. We accept personal checks, VISA, MasterCard, and money orders.

Final payment of the balance is due 120 days before trip departure. If final payment is not received when due, Hatch River Expeditions reserves the right to cancel the reservation without refunding the original deposit.

You can review all of our policies on our Risks and Requirements page.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes, we will work with you on finding a payment plan that fits your budget. Please contact our office directly for more information. 800.856.8966

What is your cancellation policy?

If you must cancel your reservation more than 120 days before your trip, you must notify us in writing. After we receive your written cancellation, you will be refunded any amount you have paid less the non-refundable deposit and a 5% processing fee. Refunds made more than 90 days after payment will be issued as U.S. checks only.

If you must cancel less than 120 days prior to your trip, no refunds will be made and you will forfeit any funds paid to Hatch River Expeditions.

This cancellation policy applies in every situation and there will be no exceptions made for any reason. We will not issue refunds for cancellations due to illness or late arrivals due to travel delays. Our company has a limited amount of spaces and a short season. Once we accept your deposit we can no longer sell that space to other possible guests and have likely already invested time, money and energy preparing for your trip and cannot afford the financial loss.

If you are concerned about the possibility of canceling your trip we urge you to purchase travel insurance.

You can review all of our policies on our Risks and Requirements page.

Should I purchase travel insurance?

Yes. Although it is not a requirement to book a trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan with a “Cancel for Any Reason” option. Many guests have last minute injuries, emergencies, or life changes disrupt their plans and wish they had a way to recoup their lost expenses.

Most providers that offer a “Cancel for Any Reason” option require that guests purchase their policies within a few weeks of booking. Make sure to look into these options immediately after paying the deposit for your trip.

Can I use my National Park Pass for my trip?

We are always happy to see more National Park Pass holders and are happy to accept your card. Read our policy below on how and when you can use your pass.

A fee of $20 per person 16 years and older will be added to all invoices for the National Park Entrance Fee. If you are a National Park Pass holder the fee can be waived once we have received a valid pass number. Each pass can be applied to up to 3 guests in addition to the pass holder. Office staff may apply a pass number to other guests only if specifically requested. National Park Pass card information must be provided on or prior to the balance due date 120 days before trip departure. A refund cannot be guaranteed after that date.

Can I check availability and book my trip online?

Yes. You can find out which trips are available through our booking website. Visit and use "Explore Trips" to navigate to the style of trip you are interested in. Click the "Book Now" button to be taken to the booking website.

Enter the number of guests in your party at the top of the page. Dates that have enough space for your group will have a blue "reserve" button beside them. Dates that do not have enough space will have a grey "Add to Waitlist" button. Click "reserve" to book online or "inquire" to be added to our waitlist.

Note: Trip dates for the current year will not have the year listed as part of the date. Trip dates for future years will include the year as part of the trip date.

Can I pay for my trip and complete registration forms online?

Yes. Starting with our 2020 season, all registration forms have been moved to a secure online portal. Once you book, you can use your Activity Manager to complete your registration, make payments, sign necessary trip forms, access important trip documents, and even interact with other guests on your trip.

You will receive a personalized and secure Activity Manager link via email after booking with Hatch. Make sure to save that email or bookmark that link for easy and continued access to this portal.

Note: if you do not have access to the internet, please contact our office directly for assistance.

When do you need names and contact information for the guests in my group?

We require a full guest list within 14 days of booking your reservation. For spaces on a reservation to be guaranteed, we require both a deposit and a guest name.

You can review all of our policies on our Risks and Requirements page.

A Hatch trip doesn't work with my schedule. Can you recommend another company?

If a Hatch trip doesn't work for you, try one with another member of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association:

Important Contact Info

Hatch River Expeditions Office: 800-856-8966

Bar 10 Transportation: 435-628-4010

Cliff Dwellers Lodge: 800-962-9755 or 928-355-2261

Lees Ferry Lodge: 928-355-2231

Xanterra Grand Canyon: 888-297-2757

Trans-Canyon Shuttle: 928-638-2820

River Runners Shuttle: 928-564-2194

Lake Powell Shuttle: 928-614-4130

Guest Requirements and Responsibilities

How old (or young) do I have to be to go rafting in the Grand Canyon with Hatch?

For full canyon motorized trips, we require guests be at least 8 years old at the time of the trip to participate. For all other trips (oar powered, hiking focused, and upper/lower canyon motorized), guests must be at least 12 years old at the time of the trip to participate. There is no upper age limit for any of our trips. We recommend guests concerned about their physical/medical fitness consult a doctor to determine whether a Hatch trip is a good fit for them.

You can review all of our policies on our Risks and Requirements page.

Do I meet this trip’s physical requirements?

Physical requirements vary depending upon the type of trip you are interested in.

At a minimum, all guests must be:

  • Able to fit into a Type 5 Life Jacket (max chest size 58”).
  • Able to hold onto the raft while going through whitewater. Ropes are provided throughout the raft for hand holds.
  • Capable of climbing onto and off of the raft. There will be about a 2 foot step up/down from the raft to the beaches. Please note that some surfaces may be wet and slippery.
  • Comfortable walking on uneven, rocky terrain. Trails in Grand Canyon are not regularly maintained. Sand beaches are the norm for camp sites, so make sure you are also comfortable walking across the sand inclines.
  • Able to carry their own personal gear to and from camp. The maximum weight for personal gear is 25lbs.
  • Able to tolerate prolonged/repeated exposure to water of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Able to tolerate prolonged exposure to environmental temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (In colder months, temperatures may also drop to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.)

You can review the specific physical requirements for your style of trip on our Risks and Requirements page, in the downloadable trip packet for the style of trip you are considering, or in your Activity Manager's info and documents section (if you've already booked).

We are happy to accommodate a wide range of physical challenges and medical conditions. Neither previous whitewater experience nor swimming ability is required. Please contact our office so we can help you select a trip appropriate to your physical capabilities and assist you personally with any concerns.

Is this trip appropriate for someone with my medical condition or dietary requirement?

We do our best to accommodate a wide range of medical and dietary conditions and requirements when we are able to do so without jeopardizing the safety of our guests. For more details about the physical requirements and dietary limitations of our trips, visit our Risks and Requirements page.

We strongly recommend that any guests or potential guests who have concerns discuss with their doctors whether a trip with Hatch is a good fit for someone with their medical conditions or dietary requirements. To help guests and their health-care providers understand the conditions, limitations, and risks of a Hatch River Expedition, we have created a Risk Advisory to Health-Care Providers and Participants. Use this document, the Physical Requirements for your trip, and the appropriate Sample Menu for your trip to determine with your doctor whether a river trip with Hatch is appropriate for you.

What are my responsibilities as a Hatch river trip participant?

To help ensure that everyone on every Hatch trip has a safe and enjoyable experience, we ask you as a Hatch guest to assume some responsibilities:

  • Bring your adventure attitude. Grand Canyon is a backcountry setting with limited access to creature comforts of home.
  • Be adaptable to change. Grand Canyon can be unpredictable and things don’t always go as planned.
  • Be an active participant in your own health and safety by being aware of your surroundings and advocating for your personal needs.
  • Ask questions and have open candor with guides throughout the trip.
  • Follow directions and ensure all minors in the party do the same.
  • Refrain from using illegal substances and be responsible about using legal substances while on a trip. Grand Canyon National Park is federal land and federal regulations apply.
  • Be respectful of all crew and passengers. We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any sort.

What to Expect

What is a typical day on a Hatch river trip through Grand Canyon like?

No day is typical in the Grand Canyon! As a general guideline, we wake early, have breakfast, load the boats, and leave camp before 8:30 AM. From there we may run either a few or several rapids and then stop for a side hike up to a beautiful waterfall or an Ancestral Puebloan ruin. Then we have a beachside lunch and relax for a while before boarding the boats for more eye popping whitewater. We may stop for another short hike if time permits or we may head straight to camp.

Arriving in camp between 3:00 and 5:00 PM, the boats are unloaded, and you are free to choose where you are going to sleep and set up your camp, take a swim, or come down to the kitchen to enjoy some appetizers. Dinner is served around seven, after which you can relax and gaze at the star filled canyon sky. Then off to bed, so you are well rested to do it all over again tomorrow!

Please refer to your specific trip type and length of trip to check out a sample itinerary.

Can I request a specific stop?

Absolutely. If there is a specific place you want to go or a specific type of stop you prefer (such as longer hikes or good locations for swimming) talk to your guides about your preferences.

Be warned, though, that we can never guarantee a specific stop. Variables such as weather and environmental conditions, guest safety, crowding, abilities and preferences of group members, and other unpredictable factors impact guide decisions about which sites to visit and which must be skipped. The bottom of Grand Canyon is filled with so many treasures, that if you miss one spectacular stop, you can be sure another is waiting around the corner!

What is camping like along the Colorado River? (HINT: It’s not “glamping!”)

Guests on Hatch trips are an integral part of making things run smoothly, so be prepared to lend a hand. We strive to accommodate everyone from the most experienced hikers to first time campers, from the youngest guest to the oldest, so if you need a little help, just ask!

We usually pull into a sandy beach or rock ledge camp between 3 and 5 pm. First thing upon arrival, guides and guests work together to form a fire (or "duffel") line and unload all the gear from the boats. Once everything is unloaded, guests are free to go stake out their own bit of sand and set up camp while our guides begin preparing the evening meal.

If you, like most guests, are planning to sleep under the stars, you'll stake out the perfect spot, spread your ground cloth out, and set up your cot (for motorized trips) or sleeping pad (for oar powered trips) while the guides are cooking. If you're planning to use a tent in case of inclement weather or even just for changing, setting that up while you still have some light is probably a good idea. Either way, we recommend that you keep your sleeping bag and pillow inside your closed dry bag until you're ready to sleep so no curious critters decide to make themselves at home.

When you're all set up, feel free to socialize or offer to lend a hand in the kitchen. After dinner, everyone will help wash the dishes so they're ready to go for breakfast in the morning.

In addition to pitching in with camp set up and boat loading/unloading, you're camping, so you'll need to be prepared to go without some of the amenities you are used to at home. Check out our blog post about common guest complaints to understand some of the conditions you'll need to prepare for.

What are the bathroom facilities like?

When you aren’t in camp…

You’ll make “pit stops” along the river about every hour to hour and a half to stretch and take a bathroom break. At these stops, the women will typically go one direction and the men go another and everyone has an opportunity to relieve themselves directly into the river. Toilets for solid waste are not available during the day, but in case of an emergency, guides have waste disposal bags available for guests to use should they need to.

When you are in camp…

Your guides will set up toilet facilities in a secluded area shortly after arriving in camp. These will be the last thing taken down in the morning. We recommend scouting out the facilities in the daylight so you can find them more easily after the sun sets.

The toilets are "groover" style—essentially metal boxes with a bit of chemical in the bottom and toilet seats on top. Toilets are dry, meaning that everyone urinates in the river and all other “business” is taken care of at the toilet. We’ll teach you our handy “key” system so you don’t have to worry about privacy. There is plenty of toilet paper stored near the toilets, and hand washing stations will be set up nearby, so there’s no sacrificing hygiene while on the river.

Some of our female guests have expressed concern about urinating in the river at night as river access can be more difficult for them than it is for our male guests. If you are concerned about this, consider bringing a female urinal or “pee pod” on the trip to help—it works basically like a funnel allowing women to pee into the river from a more upright position.

For even more bathroom details, check out this blog post: Let's Talk About Bathrooms

What are your rafts like?

Hatch s-rig rafts are constructed of military spec neoprene rubber creating a highly stable and safe platform for navigating whitewater on the Colorado River. The pontoon design, first used in World War II, was the beginning for motor raft design. It has gone through many modifications and a great deal of evolution over the decades into a highly customized craft capable of safely carrying up to 16 people for extended periods of time.

Motor Powered Raft

The main section of our boats consist of specially designed self-bailing aluminum frames to carry all the food and gear for extended trip lengths allowing passengers to have all the creature comforts required for today’s camping trips. At over 35’ in length and 16’ in width, they are exceptionally capable crafts for all water levels and conditions experienced in Grand Canyon.

The power plant is a 30 horsepower four-stroke outboard motor meeting the stringent standards from the EPA for emissions and sporting ultra quiet exhaust. At 56 decibels, they are so quiet that most of the time you can’t even hear them while underway. We continually strive to minimize our Eco Footprint.

Oar Powered Raft

Hatch oar boats are made from tough hypalon rubber that can withstand the fun and abuse the Colorado River through Grand Canyon dishes out. At 18 feet long and 8 feet wide, these boats are perfect for up to five people including a guide.

With self-bailing floors and custom frames, these are the most comfortable rowboats on the water, capable of hauling your necessities for up to two weeks at a time.

What are the hikes on a Hatch river trip like?

Typically, a trip includes between two to three side canyon excursions per day. Some of these stops will likely be hikes rated somewhere between “moderate” to “strenuous” in category and length. Most trails within Grand Canyon are not maintained, and many are through creek beds, or up the talus slopes of the canyon’s walls. All hikes on Hatch trips (with the exception of the Bright Angel Trail for Upper and Lower Canyon guests) are optional. Your guides will describe trail conditions before leaving and you can decide whether you want to participate.

Check the Physical Requirements page in your Activity Manager under “View Info and Documents” for suggested pre-trip conditioning activities you can do to be better prepared to participate in all the physical activities on your trip and enjoy all that Grand Canyon has to offer.

Upper and Lower Canyon guests:

Guests on Upper or Lower Canyon trips will be REQUIRED to hike either into or out of the Canyon on Bright Angel Trail. This hike is both mandatory and strenuous, and requires guests to be in excellent physical condition. Review your Physical Requirements page carefully to ensure that you are prepared to participate in this hike prior to joining your trip.

What are the rapids like on Grand Canyon raft trips?

Rapids in Grand Canyon are rated using a different scale than many other rivers with white water. In most places, rapids are rated using the International Scale of River Difficulty which uses 6 levels to indicate rapid difficulty (levels 1-5 are for easy through expert, while level 6 is reserved for extreme/exploratory rapids), but the rapids of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon are rated on a scale of 1-10. A level 10 in Grand Canyon would be roughly equivalent to a level 5 on the international scale. On a trip with Hatch, you will have an opportunity to experience the full range of that scale, traversing various rapids that rate all the way from level 1 to level 10 and everything in between. (Keep in mind that this scale represents technical difficulty to navigate rather than rapid size.)

As for what you will feel while traveling through the rapids, that can vary as much as their ratings. Some rapids are big and bouncy, some are small and bumpy, and some will try to push your boat sideways or encourage it to spin. Our guides are experts at navigating even Grand Canyon’s most difficult rapids, so follow their lead and you’ll be in safe hands.

Some folks wonder if the rapids change seasonally due to factors such as snow melt or stormy weather. The answer to that is… not so much. The Colorado River is dammed upriver from Grand Canyon National Park to create Lake Powell, so the water that flows through this section of canyon changes with dam releases rather than seasons and will vary week to week throughout our rafting season. Higher water level does not necessarily equate to bigger rapids, though. While some rapids get bigger with more water, others will wash out and become less intense. It all depends on what is going on underneath the surface. Sometimes major storm events will even cause changes to the rapids if they manage to push boulders around or alter other features that contribute to the rapid.

What will the water levels be like on my trip?

The amount of water flowing through Grand Canyon is dependent upon how much is released through Glen Canyon Dam. These releases change throughout each day based on power needs. Additionally, there are sometimes experiments to study or attempt to alter the environment below the dam for specific purposes. (Examples include high flow experiments for beach building or constant flows to encourage breeding of native insects.)

For more information about Glen Canyon Dam's operations and the specific conditions you can expect on your trip, visit the Bureau of Reclamation's website:

If you are concerned about how drought in the Southwestern U.S. may impact your trip, we've written a blog post addressing this issue:

What is the weather like in the Grand Canyon?

No matter where you go, weather is notoriously unpredictable. Grand Canyon is no different, so take these guidelines with a grain of salt and prepare for the worst when packing. Be sure to check the weather immediately before your trip so you can make last minute adjustments. Make sure you’re seeing the weather for Phantom Ranch for the most accurate information:

Phantom Ranch, AZ
36.1 degrees N; 112.09 degrees W
Elevation: 2805

Avg High 87°F
Avg Low 56°F
Avg Precipitation .47”

April comes at the tail end of winter on the Colorado Plateau, so it’s not unheard of for there to be wintry storms up on the rim. Inside the canyon, you will be thousands of feet lower in elevation, so you are more likely to see spring flowers blooming than snow, but you should be prepared for the possibility of a chilly trip. Hatch provides April trips with additional and warmer camping gear, and you should plan to do the same with your personal gear. Swap out a lightweight fleece for something a little heavier, bring warmer clothes to wear in camp, and consider a medium weight set of rain gear instead of the lightweight we normally recommend. Check out our blog for more ideas how to pack on cold trips, check out our blog. If you still have questions, you can always reach out to our office.

Avg High 92°F
Avg Low 63°F
Avg Precipitation .36”

May can sometimes act like April and sometimes like June, so it’s best to be prepared for either. Most of the time, May is pleasantly temperate, and because it falls at a less rainy time of year, you’re more likely to be rafting on a clear blue river than you will be later in the year. Very occasionally, a late season cold front will make the May weather turn stormy and cold, so check the weather diligently before your trip and be prepared to swap out some of your gear for warmer items.

Avg High 101°F
Avg Low 72°F
Avg Precipitation .30”

June’s average 101 degree sunny days are a draw for many Hatch guests looking for the perfect summer climate. June tends to fall before the Colorado Plateau’s monsoon season, so it, like May, tends to be a good time to raft on a clear river. Once in a while, the heat in June will spike, so it’s good to be prepared for the possibility of highs well over 100 degrees if you are traveling at this time of year. Lightweight and light colored long sleeves and long pants can help keep intense sun at bay, and soaking items in the cool river water before you put them on can create an evaporative cooling effect if your trip falls during one of these heat spells.

July & August
Avg High 106°F (July) / 103°F (Aug)
Avg Low 78°F (July) / 75°F (Aug)
Avg Precipitation .84” (July) / 1.04” (Aug)

July and August are both the warmest months on average and those with the most rainfall. They mark monsoon season in the Grand Canyon, so if there was ever an opportunity to see the spectacular waterfalls forming over the edges of the canyon’s Redwall Limestone, it would be during one of these months. Don’t let the potential for rain scare you away, though. Monsoon storms in this area tend to form quickly, fall heavily, and disappear quickly. It’s not common for a storm to last much more than an hour, maybe two if it’s really persistent. And, although it may be stormy in the area, the chances that a storm will stay above your narrow slice of canyon for long are not high. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have your raingear at the ready just in case. Area storms at this time of year are likely to produce flash flooding in the side canyons that will wash sediment into the main channel of the river turning it into the classic “muddy Colorado River” you may have heard of Powell rafting down.

Avg High 97°F
Avg Low 69°F
Avg Precipitation .97”

By September, most of the monsoon storms have passed and the temperature has cooled a bit bringing the canyon closer to May-like weather. If you enjoy more temperate weather, this is another great time to get out and enjoy the Colorado River. We only offer trips for about half the month, so if this is your preferred time, you’ll want to check for available dates a little earlier.

No matter what the weather is like when you go, it’s important to remember that the river maintains a constant temperature of around 47-52 degrees. Be prepared for cold splashes any time of year!

Is there cell phone service in the Grand Canyon?

There is usually good cell service at both Cliff Dwellers Lodge and the South Rim. Beyond that, don’t count on it. You aren’t likely to get good service until after you’ve left Bar 10 Ranch. Trust us, once you’re in the canyon, you’ll be glad your experience can’t be interrupted by phone calls, messages, or emails.

We don’t recommend bringing your phone at all, but understand that some people want to have them handy upon return and will take a chance with them on the river. If you do this, make sure your device is waterproof or in a good waterproof bag in the middle of you night duffel and be careful. The elements can be unkind to electronics in the canyon.

Will I have an opportunity to fish?

Although we don’t recommend approaching your Grand Canyon rafting trip like it is a fishing trip, many guests have taken the opportunity to fish while traveling with us. Here are a few things you need to know if you’re thinking about fishing on your Hatch trip:

  • You may only fish from the shore when the boats are stopped, never from a moving boat. (Your lunch stop can be a good time for fishing or you might choose to opt out of a side canyon excursion to stay behind and fish.)
  • The rod you bring will need to be either telescoping or collapsible in order to store it on the boat.
  • You will be required to purchase an Arizona fishing license. Lees Ferry Angler shop at Cliff Dwellers Lodge has them available for purchase.
  • All fishing is catch and release.
Is it safe?

Nothing in life is completely safe, but safety is definitely first and foremost on our agenda. We want you to have a great time and doing that means paying attention to your well-being. Prior to your trip, we provide you with information about expectations and risks so you can assess whether this trip is a good fit for you before you commit. Once you join us, you will take part in an extensive safety orientation detailing proper life jacket use, boat safety, correct riding positions, and hiking guidelines. Every trip has a full first aid kit, safety equipment, and satellite telephones for emergency use, and all of our guides are required to obtain Wilderness First Responder, CPR, and Food Manager certifications. We also design most of our equipment ourselves, using our years of experience and expertise to devise safe, efficient equipment.

Logistics and Gear

Where does my trip start and end?

Full Canyon Trips
If you’re on a Full Canyon trip, your trip will launch from Lees Ferry in Northern Arizona, about 15 river miles below Glen Canyon Dam. The night prior to your trip’s launch, you will stay under the Vermillion Cliffs in Cliff Dwellers Lodge (or another nearby lodge) in Marble Canyon, Arizona.

Your trip will end with a helicopter ride out of the canyon from Whitmore Wash once you’ve rafted over 180 miles downriver. The helicopter will take you from within the canyon to Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim. Once at Bar 10 Ranch, you will board a plane that will return you either to Marble Canyon, AZ or to Las Vegas, NV, depending upon what sort of travel arrangements you have made.

Upper Canyon Trips
If you’re on an Upper Canyon trip, your trip will launch from Lees Ferry in Northern Arizona, about 15 river miles below Glen Canyon Dam. The night prior to your trip’s launch, you will stay under the Vermillion Cliffs in Cliff Dwellers Lodge (or another nearby lodge) in Marble Canyon, Arizona.

Your trip will end with a hike out of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail from the river to the South Rim. This mandatory hike is about 9.5 miles and strenuous. If you are on this style of trip, make sure to review the Physical Requirements page under “View Info and Documents” in your Activity Manager for tips on physical conditioning and hiking in Grand Canyon.

Lower Canyon Trips
If you’re on a Lower Canyon trip, your trip will begin with a hike into the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim to the river.* Be sure to check in with your hiking guide in front of the fireplace in Bright Angel Lodge before departing at 5am. This mandatory hike is about 9.5 miles and strenuous. If you are on this style of trip, make sure to review the Physical Requirements page under “View Info and Documents” in your Activity Manager for tips on physical conditioning and hiking in Grand Canyon.

Your trip will end with a helicopter ride out of the canyon from Whitmore Wash once you’ve rafted over 180 miles downriver. The helicopter will take you from within the canyon to Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim. Once at Bar 10 Ranch, you will board a plane that will return you either to Marble Canyon, AZ or to Las Vegas, NV, depending upon what sort of travel arrangements you have made.

*Our boats launch 90 miles up river from Bright Angel Trail at Lees Ferry several days before you hike in to meet them at the river. Be sure to pay attention to the "launch date" indicated on your invoice when shipping duffel bags or ordering beverages.

How do I get to Marble Canyon?

That depends on where you are coming from.

If you live in or are traveling in the Southwest, it may make the most sense for you to drive to Marble Canyon.

If you are coming from a bit farther away we recommend you travel to Las Vegas, NV. From there, you can either fly or take a van shuttle service to Marble Canyon. Either of these can be booked through Bar 10 Transportation.

Please note: If you are on an Upper or Lower Canyon trip, your transportation may be a little different or more complicated. We recommend reviewing the Transportation and Lodging page in the “View Info and Documents” section of your Activity Manager. If you have any questions or are thinking of making arrangements other than what we’ve listed, give us a call or send us an email and we can help talk through your plans and make sure they’ll get you where you need to go.

My trip includes double occupancy lodging. What does that mean? Can I request a single room?

What is double occupancy lodging?

On our Full and Upper Canyon trips, Hatch includes pre-trip lodging complimentary. Most commonly this is booked at Cliff Dwellers Lodge, but sometimes it can be in another area lodge nearby.

All complimentary rooms are double occupancy. What this means is that we book two guests into each room. Rooms with two guests typically have either two queen beds or two double beds.* If you are a single traveler or in a group with an odd number of people, you may be roomed with another guest on your trip of the same gender.

*Occasionally other configurations are worked out such as a couple in a room with one king bed or a family of 4 with young kids in a room with 2 double or queen beds.

Can I request a single room?

Lodging in Marble Canyon is extremely limited and increasingly sought after. For this reason, single rooms can be difficult to arrange. You may request a single room any time prior to your final payment deadline (120 days prior to your trip's launch). Requests for single rooms are taken on a first come first served basis, so the earlier you make a request, the more likely we will be able to accommodate it. We can never guarantee a single room will be available due to limited space at the area lodges.

If we are able to secure a single room for you, you will be required to pay the full cost of the room. (For 2023, that cost is $120 per room.)

What kind of gear do you provide? Where can I get my own?

We provide all essential camping gear for your trip, so all you need to bring is your personal items.

For use on your trip, you’ll be provided with:

  • Life jacket (PFD)
  • a day dry bag
  • a night dry bag
  • a sleep kit containing:
    • a sleeping bag
    • a sheet
    • a pillow
    • a ground cloth
  • a cot (if you’re on a motorized trip) OR a sleeping pad (if you’re on an oar powered trip)
  • one tent for every two people
  • a camp chair
  • dishes and eating utensils

Some of our guests like more details about the gear we provide or want to know where they can get their own. Here’s a breakdown of what we provide, and where it comes from:

Day Dry Bag
This bag is 8” in diameter by 20” long for a total volume of 16L. The top rolls down and clips shut to keep water out. This bag will hold your small, hiking backpack and any gear you need access to during the day.

Maker: Jack’s Plastic Welding

Night Dry Bag (for motorized trips)
This bag is 18” in diameter by 31” long for a total volume of 127L. The top rolls down and clips shut to keep water out. This bag will contain your sleep kit as well as your duffel bag of night gear.

Maker: Jack’s Plastic Welding

Night Dry Bag (for oar powered trips)
This bag is 13” in diameter by 25” tall for a total volume of 57L. The top rolls down and clips shut to keep water out. This bag will contain your duffel bag of night gear. Your sleep kit will be contained in a separate bag.

Maker: Jack’s Plastic Welding

Cots (for motorized trips only)
This cot is comprised of a collapsible aluminum frame and a mesh bed surface. It is 74” long, 28” wide, and 15” off the ground. This cot’s construction is such that there are no bars across the head and feet that can cause discomfort.

Maker: Camp Time (Roll-a-Cot)

Sleeping Pads (for oar powered trips only)
This Paco Pad is 72” long by 28” wide with a 2” thick high density foam core for shoulder and hip support. It is also self-inflating to give you additional padding.

Maker: Jack’s Plastic Welding

Sleeping Bag
This rectangular polyester bag is 35” by 84” and rated to 45 degrees. Note: for trips in April, we provide a warmer sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees.

Maker: Alps

Pillow, Pillowcase, Sheet
We provide a full-sized pillow made of synthetic polyblend material. The pillow case and sheet are both cotton/poly blend.

Maker: Varies

This 3 person, dome style tent is easy to assemble and fits two cots inside.

Maker: Alps

There are a few styles of folding camp chair floating around on our trips, each with slightly different features.

Maker: Alps

What do I need to pack for a rafting trip?

Hatch provides all your essential camping and rafting gear, so all you need to bring is your personal items such as clothes, shoes, sunscreen, and cameras. In your Activity Manager under “Info and Documents” check out the Gear Checklist for a list of our recommendations. We encourage you to use your judgement—if there’s an item you don’t think you’ll use, check in with us and we can explain why it made the list, then you can choose to bring it or leave it. If there’s something we didn’t list that you can’t live without, bring it—just keep the 25lb limit in mind.

You’ll definitely want to keep the weather and your personal comfort in mind as you pack. If you run on the colder side, you might want to bring gear that will keep you warmer when you’re hit with those cold river splashes. If you run warm, you might be able to omit some of our warmer recommendations. Your comfort level will also determine the quantities of items you bring. Some people are perfectly comfortable in one t-shirt for the whole trip, while others feel more comfortable with 3-4 for a 7 day trip. Unless you’re traveling during the colder season, it’s best to keep your gear light—you can always rinse your clothes in the river if they need it. (Though if you’re the one t-shirt guy, you might want to bring a backup just in case.)

We are always happy to answer questions about gear. We’d much rather you ask us now and feel comfortable on the river than end up without something you need or weighed down by a bunch of stuff you don't.

Watch out our 4 Minute Packing Guide video to get started!

Do I really need to pack rain gear?

Yes. At 47 degrees Fahrenheit, the Colorado River can prove chilly in the morning, even during summer. Rain gear also provides rain protection during the Arizona monsoon, which brings periodic thunder showers in June, July and August. We recommend rain gear that is waterproof, not just water resistant. The wrists and ankles should be able to tighten with velcro or elastic, and the hood should cinch tight around your face. Ponchos are not allowed.

I use a CPAP machine. Can I bring it on the river?

Motorized Trips

Maybe. CPAPs that we can accommodate on our motorized trips must:

  • Use a cigarette lighter style adapter (be DC)
  • Be a portable/travel model
  • Not use a humidifier

Please note: CPAP devices designed for home use draw too much power for us to provide adequate charging. Guests may not bring their own inverters, car batteries, or solar panels for charging their devices. Only CPAPs with cigarette lighter adapters that are specifically designed for travel and their components are permitted on motorized trips with Hatch.


Oar Powered Trips

No. Oar powered trips rely entirely on solar charging, which can be limited and unpredictable. For this reason, guests may not bring CPAP machines on oar powered trips.

Please review the Risk Advisory to Health-Care Providers and Participants on our Risks and Requirements page for more information about using CPAP devices on the river.

Can I charge my camera or cell phone during the trip?

Yes, we do have some charging capability on the rafts. We can charge AC, DC and USB devices.

Please note that charging capability relies on battery and solar power, and therefore is not guaranteed and is particularly challenging on oar-powered trips. Please keep in mind that charging stations are also shared among all guests on a trip.

Additionally, please remember that there is no cell service with any provider within the canyon.

What should I do with my valuables while on the river?

We recommend you leave electronics at home. Your wallet, credit cards, and cash or traveler’s checks can be placed in Ziploc bags and stored in the bottom of your night bag. Please remember: Bar 10 Transportation requires all passengers 18 and older to carry a valid, government-issued photo ID when they board the plane at the end of their trip at Bar 10 Ranch. You may want to have a small amount of money available in your day gear in the event your trip stops at Phantom Ranch to purchase souvenirs and postcards. For Upper and Lower trips, if you are taking a taxi at the South Rim, they accept CASH ONLY.

I am traveling before or after my trip with Hatch. Can you store my extra luggage?

If you are driving to Marble Canyon and leaving a vehicle there for the duration of your trip, your extra luggage can be stored in your vehicle. If you have sensitive items such as a laptop you’re concerned about exposing to the heat, contact our office to discuss possibilities.

If you are travelling through Las Vegas prior to your trip and being flown back to Las Vegas afterwards, you will need to look for luggage storage options in Las Vegas. If you are staying in a hotel in Las Vegas, we recommend checking to see if they store luggage or can recommend a facility that does. If you are using a shuttle company, they may also have information about luggage storage options. You should only bring items to Marble Canyon that you intend to bring on the river with you. We have no way of storing or returning items left in Marble Canyon when you depart on the river.

I am on an Upper/Lower Canyon trip. Do I have to hike all my gear up/down Bright Angel Trail?

No. If you are on an upper or lower canyon trip and you don't want to hike all of your gear with you on Bright Angel Trail, you can use our UPS duffel service instead. Here's how it works:

For Upper Canyon Trips
Take everything essential for your hike or that you'll want to have within a couple of weeks after your trip and pack it into the backpack you're hiking out with. Then put everything else in your well-labelled (including your name, address, and phone number), medium-sized, soft-sided duffel bag and leave it on the boats with your guides when you depart. It will finish out the lower section of the river without you and eventually make it back to our office in Flagstaff. From there, we'll package it up and get it shipped back to you. (The UPS shipping fee will be charged directly to you. Hatch does not charge any additional fee for this service.)

For Lower Canyon Trips
Pack up all the gear for your trip—except what you will need before or during your hike—into a well-labelled (including your name, launch date, and hike in date), medium-sized, soft-sided duffel bag. Pack all the bags for your reservation into a shipping box (or have UPS do it for you) and label the box with your name, launch date, and hike in date. Ship your duffel bags to our warehouse in Marble Canyon early enough for them to arrive 4 business days prior to your trip's launch date. We'll pack your bags onto the boats and they will travel the upper section of the river without you. You'll collect your bags when you meet up with the boats at the bottom of Bright Angel Trail, and they'll stay in your care until the end of your trip.

Can I bring my drone?

No. The use of drones is prohibited in Grand Canyon and all National Parks.

Can I bring my own satellite phone?

No. Guests will not be permitted to bring their own satellite phones on the river in order to make or receive personal calls. Such calls can be very disruptive to the entire trip and can impact the experience of other guests sharing in your adventure.

How can my loved ones get in touch with me while I am on the river?

Many of our guests are concerned about leaving elderly family members, children, or others home while they depart on their Hatch river trips. Grand Canyon is one of the few remote places left in the world where technology like cell phone service simply isn’t an option. Our guides carry satellite phones in case of on-river emergencies, but those phones are only able to make, not to receive calls. This means that while you are on the river, there is no direct or guaranteed way for a loved one to contact you about an emergency at home.

If you need to leave contact information for your family members or their caretakers while you are gone, please give them our office phone number: 800-856-8966. (If it is after hours, there will be an emergency number left on our voicemail.) They can leave a message with our staff who will do their best to get the information to you. It’s important to understand that we cannot guarantee a message will reach you. There are few places where we can leave messages for our trips in the canyon, and there is no guarantee your particular trip will stop at all those points. You may not receive the information until you have departed the river.

If you need to be able to be reached at all times, a Grand Canyon rafting trip may not be a good option for you. Consider planning this style of trip another time when your circumstances have changed.

Food and Beverages

What is the food like?

Imagine camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon beside the roaring Colorado River AND eating multi-course meals every night! The guides on your river trip are not only experts at whitewater maneuvering and founts of Grand Canyon facts and stories, but are also talented camp “chefs.”

After the evening’s appetizer spread of cheeses, crackers, olives, and pickled veggies, your main course might be a juicy New York steak, a fillet of grilled salmon with a honey-Dijon glaze, or a huge Mexican feast with all of the accompaniments. You’ll finish each dinner with a Dutch oven dessert; always a guide specialty.

In the morning, you’ll wake to the smell of hot coffee and sizzling bacon, sausage, or ham. When you wander down to the kitchen, you’ll be greeted by the guides ready to prepare your eggs made to order and an array of sides, cereals, and fresh fruit.

At lunchtime, you’ll stop for a riverside picnic and assemble your own sandwich from the finest quality meats, cheeses, and fresh veggies.

And of course, we have plenty of variety of snacks available throughout the day: cookies, candy, nuts, and chips, along with apples, oranges and other seasonal fruits.

To get an even better idea of the type of meals you can expect, check out our sample menus on our Risks & Requirements page.

What if I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate your special dietary requirements within the confines of this trip. Please keep in mind that we do not stop to resupply, and therefore have limited space and refrigeration capability aboard the rafts. For this reason, we cannot always meet the particular needs of every person. We strongly recommend that if you have particular dietary concerns, you review the appropriate sample menu for your trip and discuss any concerns with your doctor before booking. Sample menus are available on our Risks and Requirements page.

When you complete your online registration form, you will be asked about your dietary and medical needs. Please complete this form accurately and in detail so that we can do our best to make appropriate accommodations for you. Each guest is required to indicate that they have read and understood our Risk Advisory to Health-Care Providers and Participants. Pay special attention to this document if you have food allergies or sensitivities, particularly if you are sensitive to cross contamination, as it will help you determine whether this trip is appropriate for someone with your needs.

Where do you get your drinking water?

Each boat on the river will start with 40 gallons of spring water from Marble Canyon, Arizona. Throughout the trip, your guides will replenish your trip's drinking water reserves by filtering and disinfecting water from the river. River water is filtered first through a 5 micron sediment filter and then through a .5 micron carbon block. The filtered water is subsequently disinfected with chlorine at a ratio of 1 mg/liter (or 1 part per million) per National Park Service requirements.

Due to space restrictions and environmental concerns, guests may not bring their own supplies of bottled water for the trip. We simply do not have the carrying capacity for each guest to bring sufficient water to stay adequately hydrated nor the space to carry the waste of hundreds of discarded plastic bottles.

Can I bring my own drinks? Is there a limit?

Yes! Most guests choose to bring their own specialty beverages not provided by Hatch such as soda and alcohol.

You may either purchase beverages at home and bring them with you to the start of your trip or use the beverage ordering service provided by Cliff Dwellers Lodge. For those who choose the Cliff Dwellers Lodge service, a Beverage Order Form is included in your Activity Manager with instructions for submitting it directly to Cliff Dwellers Lodge.

Hatch does not place a limit on the number of beverages (alcoholic or not) that a guest may bring on the trip. In fact, we find that most guests wish they had brought a little more. Generally speaking, it is warm and you are on vacation, so plan as though you’ll want a few more drinks than you do in your normal life, just keep it reasonable. Any beverages remaining at the end of your trip will be left at the boats when you depart for your helicopter flight or hike.

What other beverages will be provided on the trip?

Plenty of lemonade or Gatorade and water are always on hand. We also serve milk and juice at breakfast, and coffee, tea, and hot chocolate in the mornings and evenings.