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Sunset from Unkar Delta along the Colorado River on Rafting Trip.
River Trips

Colorado River Trip: The Natural History of Grand Canyon

Soak up all that the Colorado River has to offer in this 10-day rafting excursion.

  • Dates: August 29–September 8, 2024
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trip Length: 11 Days
  • Cost: $4,500
  • Group size: 22

What could be better than a 10-day trip down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon filled with geology, botany, history, wildlife biology, ecology, and much more?

Traveling through Grand Canyon by river allows an unparalleled opportunity to view sites, ecosystems, and geologic structures not visible from the rim or even by hiking, and to gain a more complete and holistic perspective of one of the grandest landscapes on Earth. Especially important are the numerous side canyons that are accessible only by river, each one fascinating and unique. Exploring these side canyons will help complete our picture and our understanding of this place.

*The price for this program includes a $130 booking fee to offset the administrative costs of this program.

Rafting Participants Cheer!

Rafters celebrate the river trip of their lives! PC: @azraftadventures

Trip Highlights

  • Expect to see unparalleled views, fascinating rocks, telltale fossils, curious critters, diverse plants, and ancient ruins
  • Travel with experienced, expert guides while floating the USA's most iconic whitewater river
  • Hike in the heart of Grand Canyon on seldom-traveled routes delving into the region's geology
  • Learn about the fascinating ecosystems of the Colorado River Corridor and the people who have relied on it over the centuries
  • Licensed outfitter: Arizona Raft Adventures and Grand Canyon Discovery (AzRA Discovery)


Meet your Grand Canyon expert

Portrait of Grand Canyon Field Institute tour guide Chris Zielinski

Chris Zielinski

Chris grew up hiking and running rivers in New England. He developed a deep love for the wild spaces of this world. After several years of guiding raft and hiking trips, he moved to Arizona to pursue a Master’s degree. Chris fell in love with Grand Canyon and the southwest’s unique landscape. He has worked on the rivers and trails as a guide and teacher for more than a decade. He has a deep sense of place and love for canyon country and loves sharing that passion with others.

What's included

Price for the class includes:

Our expert guide

Travel from Flagstaff to Marble Canyon and back to Flagstaff from Diamond Creek

All meals when on the river

All camping gear when on the river including tent, sleeping pad, and bag

Coffee mug, waterproof Colorado River Guides, and use of three waterproof dry bags

What's not included

You are responsible for:

All of your personal equipment and clothes

Meals before you leave Flagstaff and meals after you return

Transportation to and from Flagstaff

Lodging in Flagstaff before or after your trip

Guide gratuity (industry recommendation 15-20% of trip cost, read this article to receive more guidance)

Additional notes

We usually book our logistically-intensive river trip classes more than 1 year out due in part to the class duration, multi-instructor nature, and booking complexities with our River Concessionaire partners.


Family of 4 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Zelkovic Family

“Our day with the Field Institute exceeded all our expectations and we came away with a great respect for the canyon and for the work of the Conservancy. It was such a wonderful experience from beginning to end and hope we can return in the not so distant future to participate in one of your multi-day programs.”

Family of 5 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Jankowskis

“Our family’s experience was nothing short of amazing! Slim (our guide) provided a perspective we would have never been able to get on our own and we learned so much. Her passion for the canyon and what she does came through too, which made our time something we’ll never forget!”

Five hikers standing on forest cliff edge overlooking Grand Canyon 2017

Amy Waits

“The guides were awesome – so educational and patient!!! Encouraging & helpful in every way. Such an amazing first visit to the canyon – Life changing to have experienced the GC up close & personal… Thank you so much!”

Group of hikers standing and smiling in front of canyon from ground level at Grand Canyon

Joe Sweeney

“I've brought many school groups to the Field Institute and the quality of instruction provides them with an understanding of Indigenous cultures, diverse ecology, and geologic history. Students leave with a stronger sense of self-confidence, an intimate connection to nature, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Field Institute guide educating group of hiker tourists seated on beach with water and canyon in background

Andy M.

“Top to bottom, the Field Institute exceeded all of my expectations .... they ensured we packed wisely for our trip and saved me from lugging around 5 lbs. of junk I didn't need. Overall, it's packed with value that I don't think commercial outfitters would provide and delivered a deeply rich experience.”