If you are one of the lucky few to land a private permit to raft the Grand Canyon—you simply have to make this trip happen. It is easy to talk yourself out of taking this trip because of the three weeks you need to take off work, the mountain of logistics, and the big water can psyche a lot of folks out. But, we want to take this opportunity to remind you that it's the Grand Canyon.
It's the river trip on every single professional raft guide's bucket list. It's the rafting trip where you can literally touch one billion years of geologic difference at the great unconformity. There is enough big water class IV in the approximately 200 rapids spanning the 270 mile trip to make the crustiest old dory rower giddy. If it's your first Grand Canyon trip you will likely see the biggest whitewater features of your life on day one only to be guaranteed that bigger features lay downstream. And then there's the side hikes—the highlight of most first timers' trip.
If you have the whitewater skills to navigate Crystal, Lava, and 198 or so other rapids you should really do this trip yourself. You will save thousands of dollars, be able to cherry pick your crew, and experience this life changing trip as nature intended: free-flowing. Here are some tips to get your permit and have a safe, healthy, and minimally awkward trip.