Best Time of The Year to Raft the Grand Canyon (2023)

What is the best time of year to go Colorado River rafting in the Grand Canyon?

Temperatures can vary throughout the year but the best time to go rafting is April and October. Clear skies and high temps make for a nice contrast to the 50-degree Colorado River. Milder weather is expected in April and September/October. The desert often experiences a dramatic monsoon in July and August. Even with a regular monsoon, Arizona typically has very low humidity and dry heat. We have some tips and tricks on how to keep on cool on a river trip when temperatures soar.

Is the trip strenuous?

Most of our trips are moderately strenuous, with exposure to the elements. We encourage guests to participate in as many activities as possible. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. The guides will assess the difficulty level before beginning a side hike so you can choose whether to participate. They'll also demonstrate how to set up your campsite and wash your dishes when you're at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This includes side hikes, setting up your campsite, and getting yourself on and off the rafts multiple times each day.

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Best Time for Big Whitewater when Rafting Grand Canyon

The Colorado River’s water levels through Grand Canyon are regulated every 9-12 hours and determined by the Colorado River Management Plan Big whitewater in Grand Canyon is not during spring runoff like most other rivers as this river does not rely on the melting of the snow and ice for its water flow. The more electricity is needed in the surrounding states, Las Vegas, for example, the more water is let down the river. The commercial rafting season in the Grand Canyon National Park operates from Spring through Autumn.

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What the best months to do Grand Canyon rapids rafting?

June until August is a hot month with an average daily temperature of more than 100 degrees F. That means summer brings about the worst heat along the canyon’s floor on the Colorado River.

In July, the hottest temperature can reach an average of 105 degrees and the highest at 115 degrees. At this time, the currents in the river become strong and dangerous.This is because water rapids are in range to cool off from summer rain brought about by the monsoon season. Because of this, many people book a rafting trip making July to August the busiest months. If you do not want to be jammed with a lot of people, it is suggested to take rafting trips from April to mid-June or mid-September until the end of October.

Grand Canyon National Park Weather & Fall Time Whitewater Rafting Trips

Is autumn really the best time to visit? Always consider the weather in the Grand Canyon as it varies from summer when it’s very hot and cools down during spring or autumn. Temperatures can fall to 50 degrees low and can rise to as hot as 115 degrees during the summer season. Nevertheless, regardless of the season, you have to take note that the Grand Canyon itself has its own temperature differences as you go along the way. For example, if you come closer to river mile 0, the temperature becomes cooler but it gets hotter when you go towards the west.

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If you are planning a rafting trip, remember that there is also a temperature difference of 20 degrees from the river at the top of the rim. This is also another reason why tourists are advised to bring extra clothes appropriate for both warm and cool temperatures.

There is actually no wrong time to get that rafting experience you've always been dreaming of during the Grand Canyon commercial rafting season. However, if you want to go rafting during moderate weather, then you should go in September. During this month, fall brings optimal weather conditions that can keep you relaxed as you take time to raft with your family or friends.

On the other hand, moderate weather conditions for a water rafting trip can be done in April and May. You only don't get to go white river rafting but you also get to see blooming flowers alongside your trips. In October, the environment becomes more colorful as the leaves change colors marking the beginning of fall. Longer trips can also be planned as autumn is also the start of the white rafting season. If you're lucky, you will be able to see the California Condors or the Bald Eagles. Grand Canyon River visitors are also permitted to stay longer during this season as these months have earlier sunsets.

Planning Springtime Rafting Trips

If you want to go out on an 83 degrees F temperature, then April is the best for you. If you want to enjoy the highs of May at 93 degrees F, then you can enjoy hiking down the Grand Canyon aside from doing rafting.

For those who do not want to take extreme rapid challenges, going rafting in a low water season is the best idea. This happens during spring or autumn so be sure you've got your schedule booked.

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But don't worry about not getting your whitewater experience due to less water at this time of the year. Remember that the Canyon has a lot of faces to offer its prospective visitors no matter what time of the year. If your main goal is getting to the Colorado River for a whitewater experience, then spring offers the bliss for that rapids adventure.

Visiting Grand Canyon all year round

Still can't decide which season to go and visit the Grand Canyon river? Don't worry! You can do so at any time of the year. Winter can be shivering for you but it can certainly offer great picturesque scenes where the grand canyon is covered with snow. If you want to go during the heat of summer, you can enjoy side canyons and hiking.

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Take note that the park service is heavily crowded during peak seasons including spring, summer, and fall. However, not a lot of people come to visit during the cold season.

Excitement seekers looking for the best raft experience can book their visits between the spring to autumn seasons. This will guarantee your Glen Canyon Dam holiday with cold waters awaiting you at 48 degrees F. Meanwhile, those who are looking for quiet and peaceful multi-day holidays can visit the Grand Canyon from December to February. At this time of year, the weather tends to be chilly so don't forget to keep yourself warm against the frosty temperatures.

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To be able to ensure a fun experience at the canyons, be prepared and have your booking ready in advance. Check the local weather as this will help you know what to expect and the best time suitable for you to come.

Is There a Bad Time For A Rafting Trip?

There isn't any bad timing to raft down the Colorado River. In fact, the water flows are regulated that can have motorized and non-motorized trips to operate throughout.

Did you know that water levels became so high sometime in 1983? This resulted in passengers taking a hike around crystal rapid. However, this was also the same time when Glen Canyon Dam received a lot of spillover from Lake Powell. The waters were released at 100,000 cubic feet every second. This turned Glen Canyon Dam to increase its water levels.

Well, this happened a long time ago and if you don't want to go for a high water level adventure, then the months of September to October offer slow-moving waters for your trips. The amount of water released at a specified time of the year also varies which is why it is difficult to guarantee water levels. Nevertheless, commercial river raft season will make it a good time to schedule your trips.

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