Frequently Asked Questions
Food & Beverages
What are the meals like?
Outdoors Unlimited prides itself on our ability to provide high quality, wholesome meals,
featuring plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Thick steaks, whole grain breads, Dutch-
oven desserts, an abundance of produce, and more are packed away in large, iced coolers and boxes. Each day you will be served three sizeable meals with plenty of snacks available to maintain your energy for an active day in the outdoors. Your crew will do all the cooking leaving you free to enjoy each unique campsite. View, “Satisfying A Hearty Appetite“, for more info.
Can you accommodate vegetarian diets?
Due to the remote nature and packing restrictions of a Grand Canyon river trip, all menus are preset. While we will make every effort possible to accommodate food preferences, we cannot guarantee that each request can be fulfilled completely. Please be sure to list all food restrictions in your passenger questionnaire so that we can provide necessary substitutions and supplements.
Do you supply beer, wine or soda?
Due to space and weight considerations in our rafts, we can carry only a limited number
of canned drinks on our trips. A variety of sodas are available each day; however, we do
not take special orders for specific type. A variety of Gatorade and fruit drinks made from
dry mixes are available throughout the day and with dinner.
Outdoors Unlimited cannot provide alcoholic beverages, however, we are allowed to bring your beer and wine for you. You will receive an order form for a selection of beer and wine available through a local retailer. Once you place your order it is delivered, packed for your trip, and made available to you on the trip.
Preparing for Your Trip
What about “hard to find” items?
Some items mentioned in “What to Bring” are hard to find in some areas of the country; things like synthetic thermal clothing, river sandals, or hiker backpacks. We suggest you check with local outdoor retailers, or the Internet for retailers such as LL Bean, REI, Patagonia, and Northwest River Supply for these items. Many of these things are also in stock at the Marble Canyon Lodge store for those of you starting your trip from Lee’s Ferry.
What about snakes and insects?
The Grand Canyon is home to 41 reptile species including 18 types of lizards, 22 types
of snakes and 1 species of tortoise. Each reptile plays an important role in the ecology of
the Canyon. Of the 22 snake species, 6 are venomous rattlesnakes. Although snakes are
rarely seen and generally stay away from campsites it is important to use caution when
walking amongst rocky terrain or areas of tall grass. Also use caution when sitting on
ledges or placing your hand onto a rock as a handhold.
Insects including mosquitos and flies are becoming more prevalent. While most insects
are only bothersome at dusk, you may choose to bring insect repellent. However, anyone who knows that they are allergic to certain types of insect stings or bites must bring any medications that they have for just such a situation. For more information about Grand Canyon snakes check out our RiverTalk.
What can I expect for weather?
Temperatures in the Grand Canyon range from lows of 60 degrees to highs of 100 degrees in May and September. It is warmer in June, July and August, with temperatures ranging between 75 degrees and 115 degrees. Humidity is very low and the sun is very intense. The rainy season usually begins around the middle of July and lasts 4-6 weeks. Afternoon temperatures are generally lower at this time and rain showers can materialize suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. It is best to prepare with rain gear no matter what time of year you visit.
The temperature of the river is about 50 degrees at Lee’s Ferry and slowly warms as it flows through the Canyon. Fleece or other insulating layers (not cotton!) are strongly recommended for trips in April, early May and September. In June, July, and August mid-weight cotton should be all you need. For more information about the weather, check out our RiverTalk.
Rafting, Hiking & Camping
How much time do we spend on the river each day?
We average 4-5 hours per day on the river plus another 3-4 hours for side hikes and a lunch stop. Some days may be devoted mostly to floating, other days when the attraction sites are plentiful, we will spend more time exploring and less time on the water.
Are side hikes strenuous?
Hikes are always optional and they vary in difficulty from a simple walk to occasional short vertical climbs to the more ambitious treks. Most guests are capable of handling all the hikes, but on the longer, more strenuous ones, pre-conditioning will pay off.
Can I get to my belongings during the day on the river?
Each guest will be provided a 5L day bag which is carried in your boat for items you need during the day, such as medications, extra contacts, sunglasses, a camera, sunscreen or extra clothing. Your hiking shoes (with a pair of socks!) will be stored in a community Boot Bag which will be made available by the crew for strenuous or dry hikes. For avid shutterbugs you should plan to bring your own waterproof container, such as a Sport Pouch. This container should have a strap or line so that it can be attached to the raft. The rest of your gear is packed away in your issued dry bags. Just as checked luggage is not accessible until you reach your destination when you fly, your dry bags are not accessible until unloaded at that evening’s camp.
What kind of toilet facilities are there on the river?
Ah, the one question that everyone asks sooner or later, usually sooner. All river trips in Grand Canyon National Park are required to use portable reusable camp toilets. For all practical purposes using the toilet system provided by Outdoors Unlimited is no different than using what you have at home with the exception of being able to flush. Toilet facilities are set up at each night’s camp in a naturally private and open air location optimized for seclusion and canyon scenery.
How’s the fishing?
Among trout fishing circles it is widely known that some very good fishing is to be had in the Colorado River! The river has been stocked by Arizona Game and Fish and the fishery is thriving. Fishing is best between Lee’s Ferry and the confluence with the Little Colorado River, 60 miles downstream, on the Upper Trip. You will need an Arizona Fishing License. However, during the rainy season fishing is not as dependable. If fishing is a passion you should avoid late July and August.
How safe is the trip?
Outdoors Unlimited has an excellent safety record. We carry a satellite telephone,
ground-to-air transceivers, complete first-aid kits, and our guides are, at a minimum,
certified Wilderness First Responders. Well-maintained equipment, highly trained guides,
and responsible passengers are the key ingredients for a safe trip. Certain risks are inherent in each activity and cannot be eliminated without destroying the unique character of the activity. These inherent risks are some of the same elements that contribute to the unique character of this activity and can be the cause of loss or damage to equipment, or accidental injury, illness, or, in extreme cases, permanent trauma or death.
Do I need extra insurance?
Due to the lead time necessary for OU to book a trip, cancellation of your reservation could be costly. Accident/sickness, trip-cancellation and personal property insurance may be beneficial. Additionally, many credit cards also have travel insurance plans available.