Colorado River Rafting

Grand Canyon Colorado River


Float the Colorado River with
ASU geologists!

Raft the Grand Canyon with ASU geologists guiding you through the last 500 million years of Earth's history!


Potential new dates—May 27 through June 3, 2023

One of those trips of a lifetime—floating and splashing down the Colorado River! Sleeping under the stars (or in a tent if you wish!). Looking up at towering rock cliffs during the day and a star-filled sky at night.

IHO will secure two boats for a week-long trip down the Colorado River guided by two ASU geologists—Chris Campisano PhD and Ramon Arrowsmith PhD.

The trip will begin at Lee's Ferry and travel on quiet, motorized rafts from mile 0 to mile 187, where you will helicopter out to return to your car at Lee’s Ferry or catch a small plane back to the airport in Las Vegas.

You will be roughing it—but not totally! Sleep in tents or on cots under the stars, eat three freshly prepared meals each day under a bright blue Arizona sky, and travel down the river as we go back two billion years of Earth's history, revealed by our guides—ASU scientists with expertise in geology and the deep history of the Earth.

This is an amazing bucket list experience and includes not only some of the biggest, most famous rapids (negotiated expertly by long-time river operators Hatch River Expeditions) but also the awesome beauty of the Canyon itself!

The price for the trip in 2019 was $3,317 per person—the cost to Hatch River Expeditions—plus $123 per person payable to ASU to support two ASU geologists as guides for a total of $3,440 per person. 

The Institute of Human Origins organizes these trips as friend and fund-raising ventures, and so requests a donation of $500 per person payable to the ASU Foundation to benefit research, student scholarships, and public outreach for the ASU Institute of Human Origins through the ASU Foundation for a New American University.

Please contact Julie Russ at jruss@asu.edu or 480-727-6571 if you are interested! Canyon reservations are difficult to secure and spaces for this bucket list adventure will go fast! 

We hope you will join us on this incredible adventure!

grand canyon images

The Details

Dates/Location

May–June 2023 Sample itinerary

  • Arrive at Marble Canyon for an overnight stay at Cliff Dwellers Lodge in Marble Canyon
  • Be on the river the next morning
  • Off the river at the end of the week by helicopter and delivered back to your car at Marble Canyon via plane or to Las Vegas McCarren Airport

The drive from Phoenix or Las Vegas to Marble Canyon is about 4 ½ hours. There is a plane service (not included in the price) that can take you round trip from McCarren Airport before and after the trip.

Expert Guides and River Runners

Two ASU geologists—IHO Research Associate Chris Campisano and School of Earth and Space Exploration Professor Ramon Arrowsmith—will lead the trip to engage you in understanding the deep geological history of the Grand Canyon.

Campisano is an expert in ancient landscapes and evolution, and Arrowsmith studies geological faults, topography, and the geology of earthquakes. Both scientists have rafted the canyon in the past.

In addition, Hatch provides seasoned river runners to guide the boats and daily logistics and also provide a wealth of knowledge about the river and canyon.

The river rafting company is Hatch River Expeditions (link is external), a family-owned, long-time provider on the Colorado River. On the company’s website is a terrific FAQ page (link is external) that covers many questions that you may have!

Pricing and Charitable Contribution

Trip Costs—What's Covered

The price per person in 2019 was  $3,317 per person—the cost of the trip to Hatch River Expeditions—plus $123 per person payable to ASU to support two ASU geologists for a total of $3,440 per person.

  • This price includes your overnight at the Cliff Dwellers Lodge, and everything else you will need once you are on the river—food and provided drinks, sleeping gear, dry bags, life vests, helicopter ride out of the canyon on the last day back to civilization and plane back to Marble Canyon.
  • The price does not include the roundtrip from your location to Marble Canyon, which is the jump-off point for the rafting trip; does not include costs of a group dinner at the Cliff Dwellers hotel on the first evening; does not include additional beverages (soft drinks and alcoholic beverages) that you can order for the river trip.

Your Donation

IHO organizes these trips as fund- and friend-raising events. IHO's trips program helps to support IHO research, student scholarships, and public outreach. We also hope that if you just like to travel, you will feel great about learning and supporting science at the same time! 

A charitable contribution of $500 per adult* payable to the ASU Foundation is requested to support IHO student scholarships, field and laboratory research, and public outreach. A separate letter with information about this request will be provided to confirmed travelers.

Your gift of $500 per person will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a separate nonprofit organization that exists to support ASU. Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions (IFAS 30002491).

Reservations will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis. Deposits and final payments will be made directly to Hatch River Expeditions. The $123 fee to support the two ASU geologists will be paid to the ASU Institute of Human Origins for remittance to Hatch (due to National Park Service rules, Hatch is not allowed to collect additional funds above the cost of the trip).

In your confirmation, please include the names of people in your group (indicate any minors with ages), addresses, mobile phone number, and email addresses. This information will be needed by Hatch River Expeditions to provide you with additional information and invoice you for the trip.

Note: Hatch’s cancellation policy includes forfeiture of the deposit in the event of any cancellation. If I receive enough responses to fill the reservation, I will begin a wait list. I will let you know if you are on the wait list.

Please do not hesitate to call Julie Russ at 480-727-6571 or email jruss@asu.edu, and she will try to quickly answer any questions you have to help you make a decision.

This truly is a bucket-list trip for many people, and we are so excited to be able to offer this adventure to IHO friends!