Guess what? Spring is almost here! Now is when travelers should start thinking about locking down their spring 2013 tours to the Grand Canyon. Savvy travelers often include single-day Grand Canyon rafting tours. These are relaxing, smooth-water (not whitewater) float trips, and people of all ages can participate.
Grand Canyon rafting trips start from two places – the South Rim in Arizona, and Las Vegas, in Nevada. Trips originating at the South Rim stay in that area, while Vegas tours are a great way to explore the nearby West Rim. As of today, there isn’t any way to get directly from one rim to the other so you’ll probably choose the rim you’re closest to.
So far, South Rim rafting tours are shaping up to be some of the most popular spring 2013 tours around. You can book a basic package or upgrade to a more deluxe Grand Canyon rafting adventure. The basic version starts with a bus trip to Page, Arizona. After driving through the tunnel at the base of Glen Canyon Dam, you’ll meet your professional guide and board your pontoon boat.
On the deluxe version of this tour, participants fly to Page, Arizona instead of riding in a bus. After the plane lands, you’ll hop aboard a Jeep for a 4×4 tour that takes you to the famous slot canyons of Antelope Canyon. Afterward you’ll go to Glen Canyon Dam, where the rafting portion of the tour starts.
You’ll be on the water for 15 miles, quietly gliding by Horseshoe Bend and other remarkable sights. This part of the canyon is one of the most untouched by man, and it’s a terrific experience. After lunch on a private beach, you’ll end up at Lee’s Ferry. This historic place once was the only site where people could cross the Colorado River for hundreds of miles in either direction.
For those of you starting out from Las Vegas, the West Rim float tour is actually part of a tour package that also includes a chopper landing on the canyon floor. The West Rim is the only place in the canyon where ‘copters are allowed to land on the bottom, so this portion of the tour is a unique experience.
The rafting segment of the tour begins at the base of mighty Hoover Dam. Not many people can claim they’ve seen the dam from 700 feet below, but I’m glad I’m one of them!
You’ll pass through beautiful Black Canyon during the 11-mile float trip down the Colorado. If you look up at the cliffs towering above, you might glimpse some big horn sheep. They’re majestic, and it’s great to see them in the wild. Your time on the river ends at Willow Beach, where you can take a refreshing dip (bring some swimming clothes!). From there, you’ll hop on a motor coach for the drive back to Sin City.
These tours are all-inclusive, meaning the price includes lunch, an expert tour guide’s services, hotel pickup and drop-off at Vegas Strip hotels, and all applicable Park fees. They’re extremely popular and supply is limited because they only run from March through November. That’s why it’s important to book early, especially for spring 2013 tours. You’ll need to book at least a week ahead of the date you want. To be even more certain you’ll get the tour you want, buy your tickets as soon as you decide to take one of these wonderful adventures.
Buy online, because that’s where you’ll find the best deals. Don’t bother with travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia or Viator. As long as you complete your purchase online, you’ll get the lowest price canyon float tours by buying directly on the tour company’s own website. Some major discounts are there for the picking if you follow this strategy!