Tag Archives: Grand Canyon

Western River Expeditions Advises Booking Well Ahead for Epic Canyon Rafting Trips

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – If an epic river rafting adventure is in your future, Western River Expeditions says don’t delay making reservations for trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and in Utah’s Cataract Canyon.
 
Here are a few good reasons why to act now:
 
Tight controls on inventory through commercial permits make these areas available only to a limited few every year. While Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the country, Western River, as well as other commercial tour operators, has to abide by the limits set by government-issued permits. These coveted seats are being snapped up quicker than ever before by an unprecedented surge of demand following months of COVID lockdown, record-breaking heat waves that beg for water-based recreation, and an exploding demand to visit America’s national parks.

As a result, Western River Expeditions has filled all Grand Canyon slots for 2021. Many departures for 2022 are sold out and others are very close to selling out. If you’re looking to raft the Grand Canyon in 2022, Western recommends checking availability online now for the Grand Canyon 3 & 4-Day Expeditions at https://www.westernriver.com. The company also suggests looking at Cataract Canyon, just upstream from Grand Canyon.

“While Cataract Canyon doesn’t carry the same name recognition as Grand Canyon, the scenery and whitewater along this section of the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park are absolutely stunning,” says Brandon Lake, CMO for Western River Expeditions. “Guests can often find some availability on a Cataract Canyon expedition when Grand Canyon may be sold out.”

If a 2022 trip is not in the cards, mark your calendar for 2023! Western River Expeditions’ Grand Canyon trips for 2023 go on sale (tentatively) on Nov. 30, 2021. Cataract Canyon itineraries, which are more impacted by spring runoff than the dam-controlled flow through the Grand Canyon, are in demand for the high-water trips of May and June 2022. See dates and availability at https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting.

For 2023 in the Grand Canyon, these options exist:

Even though hearts may be set on the longer 6 and 7-day options, itineraries of 3 and 4 days are easier to come by. These shorter trips are more popular with families with young teens and first-time canyon rafters. Space is still available for these trips for April-September 2022.

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2021/2022 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October the operator escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).

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Xanterra Has Rare Availability at National Parks; Offering 30% Savings For Limited Time

View from South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Vacationers can stay on the south rim of the majestic Grand Canyon in the renowned and historic El Tovar hotel and receive 30 percent off from Xanterra for a limited time. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“There is rare availability in the national parks this summer,” observes Betsy O’Rourke, the Chief Marketing Officer for Xanterra, the company that runs the concessions, lodging and many of the activities in national parks including Death Valley, Grand Canyon (South Rim), Zion.  There are even the occasional cancellations, and thus availability of lodging in Glacier and Yellowstone.
 
“The fact is, people come from all over the world to experience the U.S. national parks, and with limited air travel and closed borders this year, those vacationers are not able to come, freeing up rooms in some of the greatest outdoor places on earth.”  Now that parks are officially opening, for a limited time savvy travelers can book and save up to 30%.
   
For example, vacationers can stay on the south rim of the majestic Grand Canyon in the renowned and historic El Tovar hotel and receive 30 percent off for a limited time.  Even the legendary Grand Canyon Railway that runs from Williams, Arizona on Route 66 to within footsteps of El Tovar and the South Rim of Grand Canyon is 30 percent off.  The same is true at The Oasis in Death Valley, a true American oasis with water bursting from the ground (the resort even has a golf course, the lowest on earth) and bask in a 30 percent savings.  And Zion Lodge is also offering 30% off for a limited time.

For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, access www.xanterra.com.
 
So, pick your park, save up to 30 percent and take advantage of what nature has to offer, and rare summer openings when the skies are quiet and we’re all looking for someplace great to go that’s outdoors, beautiful and happens to be the trip of a lifetime.   Visit www.xanterra.com
for reservations and information.

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Austin Adventures Expands Grand Canyon Offerings, Special Perks to Honor National Park Service Centennial

Austin Adventures is inviting guests to “Go Grand” with them, offering perks and special surprises on all of their Grand Canyon tour departures in 2019 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BILLINGS, MT – After six million years the Grand Canyon and its liquid heartbeat, the Colorado River, have more than a few stories to tell. But it was the National Park Service one century ago that began registering and interpreting these stories for some six million domestic and international visitors annually.

The official Grand Canyon National Park centennial takes place on Feb. 26, 2019. And Austin Adventures, a leading active travel company that frequents the cream of America’s iconic parks of the West, is inviting  guests to “Go Grand” with them, offering perks and special surprises on all of their Grand Canyon tour departures in 2019.

To mark and help celebrate the Grand Canyon’s Centennial:

Each trip will feature an educational element  – the most exciting and interesting places to explore and it cultural and natural history – introduced by expert guides knowledgeable in the geology of the Grand Canyon. Local walk-on experts will interact with groups as situations allow. Specific attention will be paid to the amazing geography but also to the significant history of the people, including the 21 traditional associated tribes calling the Grand Canyon their home.

Austin Adventures’ logo day packs will be gifted to kids ages 12 and under who are guests on a tour. Each pack is full of Grand Canyon memorabilia, keepsakes and educational material such as a field guide, map and activity book.

Adults will have $100 donated in their name by Austin Adventures to the Grand Canyon Conservancy that is the official, nonprofit partner of the park (https://www.grandcanyon.org/)

Extra educational elements will be woven into a visit to the South Rim in conjunction with Grand Canyon Conservancy.

“There is no question as to why the Grand Canyon is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the natural world. A must-see on everyone’s bucket list, we at Austin Adventures have been sharing the “big ditch” with adventure seekers for over two decades,” adds Dan Austin, company founder and president. “You really need to do more than just view it from an overlook, you must journey inside and experience it to really understand its magnitude and magnificence!”

In 2019 there will be nine departures of Austin Adventures’ Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park Vacation (up from seven in 2018). Of these, seven trip dates are family-focused and two are for adults-only.  Six-day family departures are March 17, 24; June 30; July 7, 14, 21, 28. The rates are $2,998 for adults and $2,398 to $2,698 for children in shared accommodations. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/arizona-family-grand-canyon/.

Six-day adult-only departures are in the fall when kids are back in school, Sept. 22 and 29. The rate is $2,998 ($580 single supplement). See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/grand-canyon-vacation-tour/.

And in the spirit of celebration, Austin Adventures is also introducing a new-for-2019 program; Arizona/Utah: Grand Canyon to Bryce & Zion. This expertly crafted 8-day journey wraps together three national parks using Las Vegas as the gateway.  Guests journey into the mysterious depths of the Grand Canyon, hike through the stone forest hoodoos and spires of Bryce and navigate the world-renowned Narrows of Zion Park. The per person rate is $3,598 ($680 single supplement). Departures in 2019 are May 5-12, May 15-22 and May 25-June 1. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/grand-canyon-bryce-zion-2/

For more information, questions and trip availability, call 1.800.575.1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2019 trips, cruises and distinctive accommodations on seven continents please visit http://www.austinadventures.com.

Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee. Austin Adventures is a Virtuoso Preferred Tour Operator.

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Austin Adventures’ Offers Special National Park Adventure Combining Grand Canyon and Havasu Canyon

Havasu Canyon
Havasu Canyon

Austin Adventures, a trend-setter in luxury multisport and active family vacations worldwide, offers hiking programs into Arizona’s Havasu Canyon and its legendary travertine pools and waterfalls. This spring it is offering a special departure guided by its two most accomplished trip leaders that combines for the first time a South Rim of the Grand Canyon hike with in-depth exploration of the waterfalls and wonders of one of Arizona’s most iconic destinations, Havasu.

“We have taken our already popular Havasu Basecamp Adventure and enhanced it with more quality time in the Grand Canyon,” explains Dan Austin, company founder and president. “And the kicker is that two of our most beloved senior guides will be leading this very special departure.”

Guests on Austin Adventures’ five-day/four-night tour will enjoy the company and services of Outside Magazine’s top family guide, Kasey Austin, along with master guide Matty (K) Kirkland who has been with the company since its inception.

“We wanted to create a special Grand Canyon departure in tribute to the centennial of the founding of America’s National Park System,” Austin says. “Families with kids 10 and older will find this appealing as the March date dovetails nicely with many school spring break schedules.”

The Arizona South Rim & Havasupai Adventure on Mar. 19-23, 2016 begins and ends in Scottsdale, AZ. The first day is spent exploring the Grand Canyon’s South Rim starting at Desert Watchtower followed by a hike on the South Kaibab Trail. Tonight guests enjoy dinner perched along the rim at the historic El Tovar Lodge.

A three-hour drive the next morning brings the group to Hualapai Hilltop and the trailhead for the 10-mile descent into Havasu Canyon. Numerous switchbacks dive deep into the red sandstone labyrinth until a level streambed is reached. When the vegetation turns lush as the Canyon widens at mile eight, guests enter Supai, one of the most remote villages in the United States. Here, the mail still arrives by packhorse. It’s then a short hike past two spectacular waterfalls to the deluxe basecamp, home for the next three nights. Note: At trip’s end, those not wishing to hike back out may request (for an extra fee) conveyance by helicopter or horseback.

Basecamp is a serious affair with a well-stocked backcountry kitchen, oversized tents and plush sleeping bags and pads. Its centralized location is the key to full exploration and enjoyment of the Canyon.  The creek that carved Havasu spills over five major falls, the biggest of which, Mooney Falls, drops over 190 feet. The water temperature of about 70 degrees remains relatively constant throughout the year. Over millennia, the high mineral content and carbonate precipitate in the water has created countless pools, dams and drops. With new formations forming all the time, the flow of the creek is ever-changing.  Day hikes are certain to culminate with a swim in the turquoise waters.

“Teal blue waters, lush foliage, squash and wild grape vines growing like weeds, pomegranate and apricot trees lining the dusty path and waterfalls all around. So unexpected and so beautiful!” –wrote one recent guest.

The per person, double occupancy rate of $1,998 ($280 single supplement) includes lodging, all meals, trailside snacks, fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides, vehicle support and land transportation during the trip, Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service, packing information, taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, and national park entrance and permit fees. Because this is a spur of the Grand Canyon, hiking permits, that can be hard to obtain, are included.

For more complete trip details see www.austinadventures.com/packages/arizona-south-rim-havasupai/.

For more information on all of the 2016 destinations, trips and itineraries offered by Austin Adventures visit www.austinadventures.com, call (800) 575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com.

Based in Billings, MT, Austin Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehman Adventures) has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a provider of scheduled small group tours and customized trips to all seven continents. In 2013, Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings that includes operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park; and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in Williams, Ariz., the Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Country Walkers and Austin Adventures.

 

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Rafting Pioneer George Wendt Working to Save Grand Canyon from Proposed Development Projects

George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten  aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.
George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

George Wendt, founder and owner of river rafting company, O.A.R.S. has thrown down the gauntlet against developers who, he says, would threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

At issue is the proposed Tusayan development that would add 2,200 homes and collateral services and amenities less than two miles from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.

And in another section of the Canyon, Wendt hopes that sufficient forces can be brought to bear against the creation of a gondola designed to transport upwards of 4,000 tourists daily from the rim to the river. This is known as the Grand Canyon Escalade project.

The National Park Service has already expressed serious concerns about the environmental impact these projects could have on the Grand Canyon.

“These two very real development projects are threatening to impact the canyon in a big way. Anyone who has intimately experienced the canyon’s amazing tranquility, or hopes to someday, should be very concerned,” Wendt warns. “We have definite feelings that both would be harmful to the long-term integrity of the Grand Canyon.”

The Tusayan development planned for the area just south of the main South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park would have many impacts, he believes. Companies who do business in this region and most visitors have expressed that the area is already almost full to capacity much of the year and that crowding in more people would negatively impact the experience of those who are presently coming to the canyon.

“More significantly, however, we share the feeling of the National Park System that there is not enough water in the Tusayan area to support further development without tapping into deep wells that almost certainly would divert water from the limited number of natural springs that feed the eco system of the Colorado River and its surrounding side canyons. For this reason, we are opposed to the major development presently contemplated for the Tusayan area,” Wendt continues.

The Escalade project would bring people down into the Canyon to river level at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River, he explains. “The construction of the gondola close to river level would be very impactful from a visual and wilderness perspective. Although the operators probably would try to prevent people from leaving the gondola terminus to go hiking, we worry that almost invariably the new access would lead to multiple additional impacts from hikers who found it irresistible to try to use this easy access point for extended hiking excursions into the fragile area. Native American groups consider the Little Colorado Confluence area sacred and they likely will also have strong concerns about the potential impact from a gondola into the Grand Canyon.”

“Buried within the Tusayan and tramway proposals is the belief that a tiny circle of entrepreneurs has the right to profit at the expense of everyone else by destroying a piece of the commonwealth — a landscape that is the birthright and the responsibility of every American,” wrote Kevin Fedarko in an Aug. 9, 2014, op-ed piece for the New York Times. (Fedarko is the author of The Emerald Mile, a riveting story about a legendary river run through the Grand Canyon.)

A contributor to O.A.R.S.’ legacy of wilderness preservation is Martin Litton whose Grand Canyon Dories company Wendt acquired in 1988. Litton at age 97 is a legendary environmental crusader who is largely credited for his success in defending the Grand Canyon from two proposed dams in the 1960’s.

Championing the rights of rivers is nothing new to Wendt, founder and owner of what may be the world’s best-known river rafting company, O.A.R.S. Over its 45-year history, O.A.R.S., one of the world’s best known river companies, has contributed more than $3 million toward the preservation of the environment and to conservation initiatives worldwide.

Wendt, an activist like Litton, has also joined various battles throughout the years to protect natural places that were threatened by dam building projects, including the fight to save the Grand Canyon, the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne Rivers in California and the Bio Bio River in Chile.

O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations to some 500,000 guests since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside Magazine, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.

For more information, trip availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014-2015 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit: www.oars.com.
Follow O.A.R.S.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oars_rafting
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OARS.rafting
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/oarsweb
Blog: http://www.oars.com/blog/

 

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