Know Before You Book

Desert Backcountry
Living

Inherent Risks
In Adventuring

Strenuous Hike:
The Bright Angel Trail

(Upper & lower trips only)

Desert Backcountry Living

The River/Desert Environment

Your trip with Canyon Explorations/Expeditions is a wilderness experience involving rafting, hiking, and camping. We will take you away from the noises and pressures of today’s world, but that also means that we will be leaving behind its amenities.

You will be out of contact with the outside world for the duration of your trip.

You will be rafting on extremely cold water (45°-52° F). You may experience both extreme heat (110°-120° F) and extreme cold (rafting on a cloudy day) on your trip. Wind and sand can produce uncomfortable camping conditions at times. The dry desert air requires consumption of large amounts of water (6-8 quarts per day) to stave off dehydration along with adequate food intake to guard against hyponatremia.

Evacuation services to medical facilities are weather and daylight dependent and can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Inherent Risks In Adventuring

A Grand Canyon trip with Canyon Explorations/Expeditions is a wilderness experience involving rafting, hiking, and camping. We will take you away from the noises and pressures of today’s world, but that also means that we will be leaving behind its amenities and comforts.

20,000+ people participate on commercial Grand Canyon trips annually. Serious accidents are rare. However, Grand Canyon trips include serious risks that, given the unique character of the adventure, cannot be eliminated. The following are some but not all of the risks that are inherent to the environment and activities:

  • Extreme weather events: Flash floods, rock falls, high wind gusts, etc. can result in unpredictable, dynamic, and potentially life threatening situations during outdoor adventures while camping, hiking, and rafting.
  • Slips and falls: Campsites and stops along the river can be characterized by uneven terrain. Many hikes include exposure, steep ascents/descents and/or rough terrain; personal conditioning and comfort levels should dictate your participation choices. Being attentive and careful while camping, hiking and rafting in a river environment and being aware of your personal capabilities are important factors in reducing personal risk.
  • Prolonged exposure to the elements: Exposure to extreme heat and the desert sun can result in serious medical conditions including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Exposure to bacteria, viruses, and/or allergens: You may be exposed to bacteria, viruses and/or allergens from food, water, air, or as a result of wildlife encounters including snakes, bats (rabies), mice (hantavirus) and other people. This includes exposure to all viruses and bacteria transmitted by humans, including Covid-19.
  • Extended immersion in frigid water: Boat flips or unintentional entry into the water from a boat or shore can result in rare situations in which rescue is delayed or not possible and swimming to a boat/to shore or pushing out from under a boat is required to avoid hypothermia or drowning. Jarring and jostling through rapids may result in collision with objects in the boats or in the river in the event of being thrown from the boat or the boat capsizes. Whitewater navigation is inherently subject to dynamic natural forces (often difficult to predict and impossible to control) and human error; guides are not immune to mistake, lapse or error.
  • Medical facilities and medical care can be hours or even days away in the case of emergency or need for evacuation. Medical conditions or events that in the front country may not be life threatening can become life threatening due to the time it may take to get to advanced medical care from the back country of Grand Canyon.

Canyon Explorations/Expeditions is committed to the quality of each guest’s experience, providing appropriate equipment, qualified and skilled guides, safety standards and protocols.

Determining if a Grand Canyon trip is right for you

We recommend consulting with your physician before registering for a trip and giving careful consideration to information provided about the canyon’s environment and the trip activities. Canyon Explorations/Expeditions does not screen prospective river guests based on provided medical information. We can assist you in determining if a canyon trip is right for you by describing the parameters of a wilderness rafting trip to you, and directly with your physician.

Any medical condition may be cause for your concern and should be carefully evaluated by you prior to registering for a Grand Canyon trip because canyon trips are strenuous and the environment is extreme and remote. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or asthma, your participation may put your health at serious risk due to the increased level of exertion and the extreme environmental conditions. This risk is amplified if you are hiking into or out of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.

The wonders of the Grand Canyon can not be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself.

 -John Wesley Powell

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