Things to See and Do on the Colorado River

Colorado River – Things to See and Do

There is little doubt the Grand Canyon offers a multitude of recreational opportunities and the Colorado River is no different. From hiking along the scenic shoreline to tackling the river’s forceful waves in a kayak, the Colorado River offers enthusiasts of all ages a memorable experience.

Getting There

It’s been reported a whopping 5.36 million people use the Grand Canyon’s basin to camp, hike, fish and raft, but how do you get there? The most notable ways to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon are to hike down or ride a mule. Did you know there is also a road? Diamond Creek Road provides the solitary road to the bottom of the Canyon.



There are several trails that hikers can use to hike down the Canyon:

South Kaibab Trail: Beginning at the South Rim near Yaki Point, this trail makes its decent into the Canyon. There is limited access to water along this steep route and rangers recommend using the Bright Angel Trail for your hike back out of the Canyon.

Bright Angel Trail: This trail is one of the most popular trails as it goes right through the beautiful Indian Garden. This trail also begins at the South Rim but further west, closer to Kolb Studio. Beginning near

North Kaibab Trail: Starting at Roaring Springs Canyon along the North Rim, the North Kaibab Trail descends to the Colorado River, making it a 14.2 mile trail.

Once you are at river-level, the River Trail follows the Colorado River for 1.7 miles, covering the ground between Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail.

A variety of guided hikes are available year-round. Contact the Forest Service for more information.

Mule Trips

Descending into the canyon upon the back of a trusty mule is another option for visitors seeking adventure.  Mule trips are offered at both the South and North Rims, but North Rim trips do not go all the way down to the Colorado River.

By Road

Some call it the best kept secret of the Grand Canyon – going to the bottom of the Canyon by road! Diamond Creek Road is a side road winding through the Hualapai Indian Reservation. If you are considering taking this route, take note: there can be a hefty price tag as it can cost around $27 per person for the permit and the road can be very rough. Oh yes, and the final two miles of the road is underwater!

The trek down to the Colorado River is not an easy one, but the views and experience of being at the bottom of the gigantic Grand Canyon are priceless!

Recreation on the River: What to Do

Guided Tours

Getting down to the Colorado River is a feat in and of itself. If you are taking the time (and effort) to experience the Colorado River at the basin of the Grand Canyon, why not enlist the expertise of a professional tour guide? A number of guided tours along the Colorado are available to visitors including rafting, backpacking, camping and hiking.

River Trips

Colorado River Rafting

A variety of river trips, organized through a variety of professional tour services, offer visitors a number of options in experiencing the Colorado River. From guided rafting trips to self-guided “private” experiences, the public is invited to experience the river various ways on smooth and rough waters and from motorized and nonmotorized rafts . Many whitewater rafting excursions launch from Lee’s Ferry and can range anywhere between half day jaunts to 25 day excursions.

Be aware, however, most of these trips require reservations, made well in advance (sometimes a year or two) and if you are partaking in a self-guided excursion, being chosen through a lottery is required.


The fall and winter months are an excellent time for fishing in the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon. Be advised, however, an Arizona fishing permit is required. According to Frommer’s, the best trout fishing inside the park is near the eastern edge of the canyon, upstream of Phantom Ranch.

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