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Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

oklahoma city
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Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Is there a company that provides a white water trip for a family of 5(youngest 2 kids will be 10 and 13) that is somewhat convenient to El Tovar? If not, can someone recommend how to spend 4 nights at El Tovar (yes, we're booking the big suite!) and get in a 1-day white water trip either at the beginning or end of the trip? Also questioning the rates; we've done several white water trips and have never seen quotes like these - $320 per person! At that rate, some of us will have to stay behind at the hotel pool! Help! Thanks, KC

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

There is no white water rafting near the El Tovar. There are float trips that you can take that are OUTSIDE of the Grand Canyon. Probably the most convenient would be in Glen Canyon, about 3 hours north near Page. This is actually a 1/2 day float trip, but from GCNP it would require a full day with transportation.

The other float trip often mentioned here at TA is at Grand Canyon West, again outside of GCNP on the indian reservation. It would require a drive of about 4 hours each way or a helicopter flight. (Think more $)

Part of the high cost of these trips is due to the remote locations where they occur. It is also for this reason that the only white water trips are the full Grand Canyon raft trips that take a week or more to go 200 miles or more. Even when you put in at Lee's Ferry, it takes 2 days on the river before you even get to the Grand Canyon!

Congrats on getting the suite at the El Tovar. I suggest that you focus on enjoying the park while you're there. There's plenty to see and do along the rim and even short hikes down the canyon trails. (Although I wouldn't recommend this unless you are all experienced hikers)

Oh, and don't expect a pool at the El Tovar. You may have the wrong impression of what the Grand Canyon is about.

oklahoma city
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2. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Redrox,

Thanks for your reply. And I was kidding about the pool; just trying to figure out how to budget $320 per person when we have a family of five - that's about what I'm paying for the suite at El Tovar for 5 nights!

Hiking - while we're not "experienced" hikers, my husband and I are very physically active and in good shape. Last summer we hiked to the very tip top of Crested Butte mountain, but again, it's just something we do on vacation, and I'm thinking the Grand Canyon may be beyond the abilities of my middle daughter, who tires easily if it's too hot outside. Can we find shorter hikes that she could handle?

Rafting - all of us want white water vs. a float trip, but needs to be a day trip. Doesn't have to be down in the Canyon, but that would be nice. What about staying at a hotel somewhere near where a white water trip leaves from either before we head into El Tovar, or after we leave there? Is there any place you'd recommend - preferably somewhere that is a bit less expensive? If not, go ahead and make recommendations anyway. One company had day trips leaving out of Lees Ferry and another out of Peach Springs. Man, we postponed a trip to Costa Rica, thinking the Grand Canyon would be less expensive; now I'm not so sure...... Thanks again!

Sedona, AZ
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3. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

The simple answer about white water rafting in AZ is that I don't know of any, unless you plan a week in the Grand Canyon. But that's a whole other trip. So maybe, if the family wants to do some white water rafting so badly, then you should start working on next year's vacation. Mrs Red Pony and I had an awesome trip a few years back in Jackson Hole WY with a white water day trip on the Snake River and a whole week of incredible nat'l parks including Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But as I say. That's another trip.

And as I said, even the float trips are going to be expensive, because they are in such remote locations.

You'll discover when you get here, that AZ is a large state with a lot of wide open space broken up by mountains and canyons that make it tough to go from one place to another in a straight line.

On the other hand, the Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world, and you have chance to see it for 5 days with 4 nights while staying in one of the most sought after suites in the nation. Make the most of it! You can get a feel for your daughter's tolerance for walking and hiking in the first couple of days, by exploring the rim trails. You can use the shuttle on the west rim and get on and off with walks in between. On the east rim drive, you can take your own car and do the same thing at all of the viewpoints.

Take a short walk down the Bright Angel trail near your hotel. You'll see the toughest part of the trail in the first mile. Don't even go that far if you don't want to. Just turn around and hike back up. You might want to check about a mule ride, but those book up a long time in advance.

There is so much to learn about at the Grand Canyon. The geological history is literally staring at you in the rocks. The history of the people who have lived there for thousands of years is fascinating. Go see the IMAX movie in Tusayan. It will give you a whole new perspective about where you are. Attend the ranger talks. They are a wealth of information.

I'm sure that some other posters can give you advice on how to spend your time at GCNP. But if it's white water that you want, just accept that this isn't the time or place to do it.

Or you could be like Prac1...

She asked questions like you last year and got similar answers. They had a great vacation at the Grand Canyon and went home to FL making plans to come back. And next month they're going on a 7day trip from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead. The cost is close to $2K per person, but it's the trip of a lifetime.

oklahoma city
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4. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Thank you so much, RedRox. Small world; we actually have done the Snake River rafting out of Jackson Hole, also on a trip to the Grand Tetons, culminating in a week at Yellowstone. What an awesome trip.

I truly appreciate your insight into the Grand Canyon area. I am ecstatic to have the Mary Jane Coulter suite at the El Tovar and am now beginning to research activities. This trip is actually for 2008, so I have plenty of time. I tend to do things way in advance.....

I love the idea of doing the rim trails until we see how my middle daughter handles it. Thank you for the recommendation of the Bright Angel trail. Not sure about the mule ride; I've had horses all my life and my oldest is a good rider, not so much the husband and the younger too! They might be too sore to move the next day after a 7 hour mule ride - do they have shorter rides? I know for sure my oldest and I will HAVE to find some sort of horseback ride tour, even if it's a rim tour. I'm guessing they do have those?

After reading your very informative posts, I've decided if we do the white water at all, we'll do it on the front end of the trip and just stay 2 nights at the Hualapai Lodge (night before, night of raft trip) and do the one day trip. I think that's all my younger ones can handle. Then we can head on over to El Tovar. Me, I'm just looking forward to sitting on that balcony at El Tovar drinking my early morning coffee and watching the sun rise!

Thanks again! Kacee

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5. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Hi Kacee, "Not sure about the mule ride; I've had horses all my life and my oldest is a good rider, not so much the husband and the younger too! They might be too sore to move the next day after a 7 hour mule ride - do they have shorter rides? I know for sure my oldest and I will HAVE to find some sort of horseback ride tour, even if it's a rim tour. I'm guessing they do have those?"

At the south rim we only have the day mule trip and the overnight. You didn't mention when you'll be here, but if it's when the north rim is open and you spend a night there, I believe they have a half day trip.

Apache Stables outside of the park in Tusayan is the closest horseback riding, but they don't/can't come into the park. Here's there listing from the chamber of commerce website (http://grandcanyonchamber.com/)

Apache Stables, Inc Business Name Apache Stables, Inc

Date Entered January 15th, 2007

Contact Name Nancy Booth

Business Telephone (928) 638-2891

Fax (928) 638-2783

Primary Email Address apachestables@yahoo.com

Mailing Address PO Box 158

Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

oklahoma city
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6. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

gcmaven, thanks for the info on apache stables! We'll be there in June, 2008 and will keep the info and book a ride. kc

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7. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Kaceevh, This is Prac1. I can't wait for my week long white water rafting trip this month. I will make a report when I return. I too wanted a short white water rafting trip when I started. After much investigation I decided that in order to really experience the Colorado River rapids and rafting in the Grand Canyon, it needed to be a week long. The 3 day MAY have been a possiblitity if we could have handled hiking in or out with an approx. 5000 ft. ascent or decent. We could not, so the week long trip was the only choice. After checking out prices for shorter versions, I decided I did not want to spend that much money and not get the experience I wanted. WIth kids along, the one day may be what you want, although some take kids and say they had a great experience with them. You may decide after a 1 day trip, like several have, that next time it will have to be a longer trip. Most reports of the longer trips indicate an incredibly awesome experience. I will let you know.

oklahoma city
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8. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

Prac1, Thanks so much - PLEASE let us know after your trip how the week long rafting goes. I am concerned that it would be too much for one of my kids (the middle one, 12 y.o.); the other 2 would be fine, but I'd love to hear your opinion when you return. We may go ahead and do the one day with the kids and then plan a later vacation for jus my husband and myself, or possibly with our 18 y.o. and one of her friends (she doesn't go anywhere with the family anymore unless she has a pal!) to do the week long trip and just leave the younger ones at home. Looking forward to hearing about your trip! Kacee

Sedona, AZ
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9. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

kaceevh,

I can tell you that when we did the 7 day GC raft trip we took our 14 year old grandson. He loved it! He was the youngest one of the 20 passengers on our trip but the guides told us they had taken people as young as 4 and as old as 92 down the river. It is an incredible experience and once you do it, you'll never forget it, and your life will be changed if only for the experience itself.

10. Re: Need white water day trip for family staying El Tovar

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