Motorized Rafting in the Grand Canyon – Amazing. Who Knew?

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You’d think I’d learn not to judge certain adventure trips out there.  But I did.  I previously poo-pooed the idea of a motorized rafting trip through the Grand Canyon – thought it was whimpy, that paddling was the only way to go. Probably because of my need to do everything the hard way.

I was SO WRONG on all fronts.

First off, I have to say I am one of the luckiest people on earth.   I got the phone call of a lifetime on a Thursday night from one of my most generous friends.  “Do you want to go rafting on the Grand Canyon?  Two people (of 20) on the trip cancelled, we have two spots.  If you can get to Flagstaff on Saturday, the trip is paid for. It’s an 8 day trip.”

It took me a few minutes to process the conversation and then was on it!! Everything fell into place with work and next thing I knew, I was in Flagstaff on Saturday attending an orientation with Arizona Raft Adventures!

The trip was amazing.  We had 2 motorized boats – one was considered the “adventure” boat and the other carried all our food, tables, chairs, etc.  Each boat can hold 12 to 14 people.  When I say motorized, I mean no paddling required – truly motors on the boats. Each boat had two guides – who were pretty spectacular in and of themselves.  Calm, cool and collected, which brought so much to our experience.  They gave us a long leash to have fun – and what a BLAST we had!

We covered the entire river (200+ miles) in 8 days.  Our days were spent screaming (with happiness and just a smidge of terror) through the rapids, hiking to waterfalls and silent canyons, enjoying adult beverages on the boat, making new, life-long friends, sleeping under the stars, admiring the big-horn sheep seemingly around every corner, and soaking in the beauty of the canyon.  What is not to love about that?

A few things to note about this trip:

  • You DO get to enjoy the adventure of the rapids on this trip!
  • You should book it at least a year in advance.
  • It’s perfect for a large group of friends.  In fact, I highly recommend doing it the way my friends did it, by inviting all of your most fun, laid back friends who would enjoy an adventure of a life-time.
  • It’s good for all ages – you can be at the front of the boat, in the center of the action, or, you can kick back and laugh at all your friends getting wet at the front.
  • The guides were really good about fine-tuning hikes to meet all types of physical capabilities.  No-one missed out on anything.
  • You will sleep on pads with Azra sleeping bags – we did not sleep in tents, but they are available.  The stars were amazing.
  • If you like your adult bevvies, find those who don’t and leverage their burlap sack for additional libations.
  • We DID have amazing food – steaks, porkchops, spaghetti, pancakes, eggs to order, huevos rancheros, salmon, chocolate cake, lemon pound cake, etc….we did not skimp on the groceries.

I highly recommend this trip if you are worried about not being able to paddle Grand Canyon or if you are short on time.  I would love to do it again!

The last day of the trip was truly emotional.  We all cried for one reason or another – sad to say goodbye to each other, some let go of personal strife, some recognized they were pushed beyond their comfort zones and they survived.   It’s been 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure we are all still basking in the glow of Grand Canyon and will for a long, long time.

Our mantra for the trip was, “Stop searching, it’s all around you”  ~ by a young boy.  Words to live by. I bought bracelets for all the girls on the trip who wear them to this day.

I can see why people fall in love and contemplate significant life changes in Grand Canyon. It’s a magical place indeed.



  1. Found your new blog and followed! Love rafting trips! I’ve done 3 and even though the Grand Canyon was motorized it will always be my favorite!! My other two were great in that I rowed but you just can’t beat the Canyon!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marsi! I decided to rid my life of drama and search for peace in my own way. Things fell into place recently so I took advantage and stood this site up! Thanks for following. Have a wonderful day.


  2. I’ve done the canyon on a Motorized raft (my first trip) and I enjoyed it. Second time (with AZRA) was a dory trip, which I loved. Being that close to the water was amazing. Now I guess its time to do a paddle trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First I read your About page and thought ‘this woman is just like me!’.

    Then I read this post. It brought back a memory from my one and only trip to the Grand Canyon 20 years ago. I only now remember saying to my husband that someday I want to return and experience the Grand Canyon from the river and although I’m not a camper, I was prepared to camp to do it.

    You’ve just reminded me that I’ve yet to do it!

    The Grand Canyon is a magical place and it does change you when you open your heart to it. What an amazing opportunity you were given. The wheels are already turning about how I might be able to get a trip like this off the ground!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am soooo glad to hear this! I love reminding people of all the cool stuff there is to do in the world!! Definitely look at this trip fairly far in advance, and if you have group of friends who might enjoy it, I would drag em’ along too. I appreciate your comments so much! You just made my day!


      1. I did a bit of research on this after reading your post. My thought was to introduce this idea to the seniors’ outdoor club I belong to. I think there would bit a great deal of interest, but the price tag is likely going to be too rich for most of them. Who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise me πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your bravery to just get up and go like that! Inspiring. Nothing beats a trip with ‘days spent screaming (with happiness and just a smidge of terror)’. A motor sounds far from wimpy when accompanied with ‘rough rapids’

    Liked by 1 person

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