Flagstaff Based Trip

Flagstaff Based Trip

Because of the ideal location to the Put-in(Lee's Ferry or Marble Canyon), and the takeout(Diamond Creek or Pearce Ferry), Flagstaff is the most common meeting place for trips headed down the Colorado River. Flagstaff contains all components one may need while organizing a trip of this magnitude. Grand Canyon Gear Outfitting, quality ice, the RIVERHOUSE:), affordable Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Transportation options, etc.

Grand Canyon Gear Outfitting

Moenkopi Riverworks is a small river outfitting company that has been outfitting trips in the Southwest since 2002. They service all areas of the Canyon from Transportation to Food. For a more comprehensive list of prices and services go to moenkopiriverworks.com
Flagstaff Lodging

THE RIVER HOUSE*our personal favorite:) 5447 S J Diamond, Flagstaff, AZ  86001
The River House is a giant 7-bedroom House(Perfect for a few couples, or the whole trip) in a quiet neighborhood near Moenkopi Riverworks. It is fully furnished with 9 beds(that sleep 16+pads), Full Kitchen, washing machine, refrigerator, BBQ, linens, Grand Canyon Artwork, NPS DVD's, Wifi and more. Some people use it for a local gathering lodge before and after their trip or others come a few days early to aclimate to their Bliss. If you choose to use the River House we will deliver your 50 cal personal ammo cans and Dry Bags to assist your organization. Flagstaff has a great economical bus system(1$/day)7 min to downtown.  Call 928 856 0012 to book reservations immediately as the Riverhouse books up! !. The cost for the RIVER HOUSE is $350/night.
Flagstaff Downtown Hostel

Grand Canyon International Hostel-928 779 9421http://www.grandcanyonhostel.com/GCindex.htm

Flagstaff Classic Downtown Hotels

Hotel MonteVista-800-545-3068-http://www.hotelmontevista.com/

Weatherford Hotel-928-779-1919-http://www.weatherfordhotel.com/

Flagstaff Hotels Popular with River Runners

Days Inn Flagstaff West - www.daysinn.com - (928) 779-1575 *closest to Moenkopi Riverworks

Days Inn-Highway 66 - www.daysinn.com - (928) 744-5221

Holiday Inn Express FLAGSTAFF
2320 E. LUCKY LANE FLAGSTAFF, AZ 86004 UNITED STATES Hotel Front Desk: 1-928-714 1000

Coconino National Forest Campgrounds/Services http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/peaks/rec_peaks.shtml

Coconino National Forest Camping Along Forest Road is Legal. Check with current fire restrictions.http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/index.shtml.


Phoenix to Flagstaff from airport


Flagstaff to Southrim/Southrim to Flagstaff-

Ash Fork Express, car shuttles from South Rim to Flagstaff

928 606 6599, Ricky Guiterrez


People, Gear, and Car shuttles

Rig DayIt is best to arrive in Flagstaff 1 day before your Rig Day, so as to make sure you have shopped for all of your personal items(drinks(see bottom of page if you want to pre-order all beverages and spirits), and last minute gear) and you are synchronized with your group so that Rig Day will go off without a hitch. Don't forget your ID!

Directions to Moenkopi Riverworks are in the upper left hand corner of this blog. Or Mapquest 3780 N Eagle Mountain Dr, Flagstaff, AZ 86004. RIVERHOUSE ADDRESS IS 5447 S J Diamond, Flagstaff, AZ  86001.

If you are staying at the Riverhouse we will drop off your "Door To Door" items like free ammo cans and drybags so as folks arrive they can pack their stuff. If you didn't pre-order your beer from Jim(at the bottom of blog) you can drop it off at the Warehouse the day before Rig Day. Generally speaking, we will arrive at the Riverhouse at 9am with the van where we will load up all of the drybags. After the gear is loaded in the Van we will proceed with any cars you have to our lot around the corner, and park your cars at our Free Lot. Don't forget your ID in the car:) Next we will proceed to the grocery store on the way out of town for Rig day lunch and last minute items.

It takes approximately 2 1/2 hours from North Flagstaff to Lee's Ferry. Generally, it is best to be packed up and leaving Flagstaff by 10 am.  If you would like to alter this time let us know, as we are happy to adjust for your trip.  Let us know if you need help figuring the best time for your group.
During the Spring and Fall months it is suggested to be on the road by 9 am because of the earlier sunset:)

*If you have purchased a "Door to Door Package" and trust us to pack your boats for you, we can make arrangements to pre-rig your trip for you before your arrival :)

It should take approximately 3 1/2 hours to fully rig your 5 boats and gear and boat down to boatmans beach approximately 50 yards down stream, where you may share a beach with another private party. During this time we will run the 1st half of Ranger Rapid and get you checked out on all of the NPS items(lifejackets, major repair, etc). TL'S: BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR NPS PAPERWORK FILLED OUT BEFORE THIS TIME, or you may be delayed in your checkout time. You will need the one page Permit, Participant Address List, and Regulations(Regulations are in your Kitchen Box if you did not pack your own).  Your Moenkopi Riverworks assistant will help assist you with the Ranger in meeting all of your National Park Service Requirements. By the end of Rig Day, you will only need to show your proper ID on the Launch Day and be present for a 1 hour orientation with the Ranger at Boatman's Beach at 9 am.
Marble Canyon Lodging and Restaurants
Many Trips choose to have a last meal prepared for them at one of these restaurants near the put-in. If you would like to do a cheap easy barbeque at the beach just buy burger dinner at the grocery store in Flagstaff on the way out of town:)

Marble Canyon Lodge - http://marblecanyoncompany.com- (800) 726-1789***MOST CONVENIENT
Vermillion Cliffs - http://www.vermilioncliffs.com/-(928) 355-2231

Put-In Day (Launch Day)

Generally, the Put-In Day breakfast is a coffee, bacon, egg, and pancake meal. In this way our attendant can give you pointers on our kitchen, and help you make the rig easy everyday. You will easily be ready for the Ranger at 9 am and well fed for a great day on the river. This can be changed to a buffet at Marble or a different breakfast at your request.
Ranger Rapid Part II
At 9 am on your launch day the Ranger will arrive at Boatman Beach. You should be prepared to show your ID and be somewhat on your way to being rigged. After everyone shows their mandatory ID(Passport, Drivers License/picture, etc) to the Ranger, there will be a short 1 hour orientation where you can ask any pertinent questions. After the orientation is complete, your trip will be officially able to Launch onto the Colorado River. Moenkopi Riverworks will stay to take anything back if you would like, and wish you good luck!
***If you would like to fire out of the Orientation onto the water and make some miles, ask us about a pre-packed Lunch at the put-in. While you are at the Orientation we will set up our lunch table with Lunch prepped. Before or after the orientation you can make your lunch sammy, put it in a lunch container, and head off the beach(10 am) with lunch container stowed for lunch where you can eat while floating whenever you would like. This helps trips make early miles, easier, by not having to stop for lunch. Hot Na Na Here we come:)

On the Water to Lunch

As you push off into the Great Unknown, lunch will be looming just around the bend. You will be traveling about 4 miles an hour and within the first hour you will come to the bridge(4 mile). Some people lunch under the Navajo Bridge 800 feet in the horizon whereas others push down to Badger(mile 8) and have a later lunch at their first scout. Nonetheless, if we packed your lunch the first thing you will have to do after tying up the boats is find your Lunch Boat. This boat will always contain your small blue rolling lunch table, and a LUNCH BOX(a 2omm rocket box). In the 20mm LUNCH BOX you will find everything you need to prepare the first lunch, from soap to cutting boards, condiments, and silverware. Only after a little shopping, you will be ready to begin. Bread is in the BREAD SILVER BOX. Your 3 different flavors of lunch meat are in the MEAT COOLER, produce(lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes) are in the PRODUCE COOLER, and your 3 cheeses are in the DAIRY COOLER. All coolers are labeled on top so you can go in once and be out quick. Rig to flip and Have a good Run at Badger!

Day 1 CampAfter rowing all day and finding your shangri-la, tie up the boats securely. First to a sand stake or two, and then to a tammie or two. Alot of trips like to strap their boats securely together so traversing boat to boat is safe. Also if one line comes off it's sand stake(the weakest tie point) then the other boats backed up securely to a tree will hold the renegade in line.

Time for a fireline

Fireline all of the gear on to the beach in like piles. Personal Gear(PG) into one pile. Kitchen into another. Groover over there. When all of the gear is off and the important systems(kitchen, groover, handwash, etc) are built, real estate can be searched out by all.

Cook Duty
If you have done your homework, you have set up a group that cooks and you will be ready for this Cook Duty. Most people rotate so as to give everyone a try at cooking. One good schedule is for a 4 man crew to do Dinner-Breakfast-Lunch and then off for 3 days and then back on for a night again. Another good option is the Work 4 days on and off for 12days :) If the trip makes a pact to do all of the dishes until they are done, this system works very well on all involved.

Other camp duties to assign:

Groover Setup/Takedown

Kitchen Setup

Dish Line Setup

Firepan Setup

Ok, Cook Crews ready to go!
First, after washing your hands, set up the blue rolling lunch table(now its an appetizer table). Take everything out of the Day Box, and place all of the items on the table. That empty Day 1 Box is now your trash box. Send it to the Kitchen.

Retrieve your Menu Folder out of the Kitchen box for easy cross referencing. What's for Dinner? Fajitas? Take all of the dinner items for fajitas over to the big tables. Most of the time, once you know what dinner is, you don't even have to look at specifics. What's left? Lunch and Breakfast. Open the lunch box that you brought in on the fireline and send the silverware to the dishline and place the trash into your empty day box. Load up the lunch box, setting yourself up with new silverware and close it up. It's now ready to go for tomorrow. Last but not least stash the breakfast items until after dinner where you can put inside of the kitchen box for your breakfast tomorrow, away from the animals. Now your prepped and ready for Cooking:)

Time to Shop

Take your menu for the day and a pail or two and go shopping. Meats in the meat cooler, produce in the produce cooler, etc. Get all of your items one time, so as to save your cooler temperature. Don't forget the strawberries for dessert.


If you don't want grazers, set up your appetizers first thing. This also brings in a crew to have handy to help set up the dish line for you... nyuk, nyuk.

Cook efficiently

The easiest way to cook dinner is to start the thing that takes the longest. For fajitas? Throw the seasoned meat in a Dutch Oven(DO) on the stove and forget about it. OK, stir it occassionally. Start chopping! Because unless you are running ginsus at the local wok shop your meats gonna supersede your fresh veggies. Lay out your onions, shredded lettuce, guacomoles, tomatoes, tortillas, etc. so everyone can make their own fajita. When the meats done, and veggies chopped get those few people standing around running the line first. Thins the real line:)

Dont forget your dish line if someone hasn't got it going for you. Four chickey pails half full of water. The fuller they are, the more you must heat them, the longer it takes. First ones a cold rinse for the messy stuff, second ones a warm scrubby, the third ones a warm rinse, and the fourth is a full cold bleach rinse. One cap full is plenty. More than that and the whole gang will be breaking up by Day 4. ALL OF YOUR DISHLINE ITEMS ARE IN THE DISHLINE BAG. Easy.

When your food is ready to serve, place the plates at one end by the silverware and run them through the chow line. Remind them about no dessert until ALL the dishes are done. Some people make yesterdays cook crews todays dishwashers, not a bad idea. Set yourself up for breakfast.
When the dishes are done, strain the chickey pails and set them up for the morning. Remember you may be the only one up.
If you were paying attention, you are ready to go for tomorrow's breakfast, and lunch, where you will hand it over to the next Cook Crew, and enjoy your 3 days off. Ahh, you gotta love private trips!


Blaster-The blaster is a tool that can help you heat water fast. It is also a tool that will burn you! Always place the blaster out of the way, and watch wobbly people and instruct them to stay away. Besides direct flame to the calf, the blaster can burn you by forgetting about the dishwater you are boiling. Test your water. If it is steaming it's questionable. Talk to the group about a way to let people know the water is too hot. We use a stick across the suspected chickey pail. Also don't forget to turn off the propane at the tank before you go to bed:)

CookStove-Being at stomach height the cookstove is a little harder to get burned by, but not impossible. Be careful. One should never cover the entire top of the cook top with a griddle. Although the cookstove is nearly indestructible, covering the top of the cookstove edge to edge will cause the fragile seats to heat up and fail. If this happens there will be fire shooting out of the knob. Immediately turn off the stove at the tank and wait for the knob to cool down. Pull it off before it welds to the knob. The aluminum knob under the plastic knob screws right out with a standard screw driver. Screw a new one in from your black or green repair bag. Boil your new knob and push it back on.

Another way to get burned by your cookstove is grease. Never let water touch hot grease. It explodes:0 When dealing with grease, eye protection should always be worn.

Tables-Tables can fall over in the wind(secure them if need be). If you are sleeping underneath it? Chop. Or to close to the water and your dishes may roll away in the night.

Chairs-A chair that is broken should be retired immediately. There have been several chair skewers over the years. Tom Kabob is grounds for an evac. GroundCloth-Don't trip! Into the blaster!Slippery Boats-Always take care getting in and out of boats.Never climb over your head, and scale all risks way back for the sake of the group.

Every group should have a medic, or group leader, that is pre chosen to deal with a medical problem in case of an emergency. The group should never allow splintering and quarreling to enter this arena of a trip. Pure professionalism should be the groups number one goal in the event of an emergency.

Because of the difficulty of communication, we also suggest having a few people that are qualified to run the Iridium Satellite Phone. Often this is a job all in itself. Find a good signal out and stay there to communicate. A place with the best southern exposure is usually the best option.
It is best for the medic or TL to talk before hand, what they would consider immediate evacs.
There is a recommended list in the Major first aid but ultimately this is up to the group.  Rattlesnake Bite, Large Mechanisms of Injury like a Fall overhead, Fractures, etc., and how they will perform their job in just that case.
Write things down for the next medic.
Ready supplies for the chopper like wallet, and clean clothes.
Although emergencies rare, preparation makes an incident safer, more efficient, and less scary(where you may not preform your best, and invite extra costs).

Vacation Insurance
For vacation insurance, Diver's Insurance. Please thoroughly investigate what they do and don't cover. Please see the link at the top of the page.


** The easiest and most efficient way to make a transport exchange is to use one of your group cars(stored at our facility) for the people driving to the rim, where it will be used by the people hiking out at the rim. Make sure each group has a key and you park your car at the backcountry office just off the Bright Angel Trail.  We will assist folks flying in to retrieve their car.  Please give us the details.  You may want to park this car at the airport for the incoming??

**The next easiest and most efficient means if there is no car available is to use the Flagstaff to SouthRim Shuttle at Arizonashuttle.com. It runs 3 times a day. You will want to use the shuttle the day before your hike-in or be hiked out before the last shuttle unless you stay at the rim hotels on hikeout day:)

***For summer(hot) hikers we encourage you to start your hike before the sun comes up.(5am) Being at the rim hotels the day before your hike makes this much easier to accomplish.

If you have an exchange you will need to decipher where and when you will make this exchange. Bright Angel(River Mile 88) is the most common exchange as it is well traveled, has several water spots, and is the easiest trail to exit the canyon in the park as it empties into a waiting parking lot at the base of the lodge. This trail is approximately 9 miles from Phantom Ranch Beach. One can take off 2 miles by boating the hiker down to Pipe Creek. Pipe Creek is river left, just above a riffle. If you watch the trail high on the cliff it comes back down to Pipe Creek Beach where the Bright Angel starts its descent out of the Canyon. Don't Miss It! Be Conservative. While hiking up Pike Creek(Bright Angel TH), I personally like to leave my flops on my feet for a mile until I am passed the water crossings so I won't be hiking with wet shoes. Below are directions from a long time commercial boatman, "Jeffe Aarronson" Other interesting ramblings and videos can be seen at river-god.com

Pipe is a terrible place to park, very steep and rocky. The eddy is there, but you must be ready or you can miss it as the eddy line is not clear and the current trends downstream and away. Not difficult-you just have to be awake and know how to ferry angle (which most people think they know, but many do not).

Once past the green bridge, you go through another small rapid with a bad eddy on the right (again, not difficult, but be awake and don't get stuck in it). The river cuts hard left at the bottom of this small rapid towards the left cliffs, then mellows before going through Pipe Creek rapid. This is easy to spot and where you have to be aiming towards the left shore. At 15k cfs or so, you won't have the marker rock in the left-center of the river to go by. Just don't go through the next rapid, which is formed by a large canyon on the left. That's Pipe.

Two places to pull in: along the rocks above the tongue, or a sandy spit right at the brink of the rapid. If you have real good boatmen/women, that's the primo place as its sandy and nobody has to trundle along the scree. But the eddy is small, and if you miss it-its all over. Pull-out is similar: easy, but you have to know ferry angles and get back out to the middle of the tongue. Easy-again, if you know how to upstream ferry. Fits maybe 2, maybe 3 rafts.

You won't see the solar panel until its too late. Watch for the left-bending small rapid, then pull in just above the next, much bigger rapid, where a big side-canyon is coming in.

There is afternoon shade in the summer at approximately 4 pm 30 minutes beyond Indian Gardens. It takes approximately 3-5 hours to hike in and 4-7 hours to hike out depending on your fitness level.

South Kaibab(River Mile 88) is probably the next most frequent hike IN. It is a bit steeper in some sections, but shorter in Length(7 miles total). The trail nearly starts at Phantom Beach. There is no water on this trail and is 7 miles in distance with little shade. Fast, yet exposed. It is a more common trail down than up.  Hiking poles make this trail much easier. This trail will take approximately 3-4 hours to hike in and 5-7 hours to hike out. There are park buses at the top that return to the South Rim Lodges. It is best to park your cars at the backcountry office.  The Arizona Shuttle takes off from the Maswik Hotel right next door. . See shuttle section.

Hermit Trail(River Mile 95.5) is commonly used to bring the trip closer to half and half trip for bomber hikers. Other benefits of using the hermit trail is the bonus big rapids of Horn Creek(especially low water), and Granite. The Hermit Trail is approximately 9 miles and can also be accessed at Granite Camp(BETTER CAMP THAN HERMIT) up Monument Creek. The Hermit Trail is as steep as the South Kaibab with filterable water near the top 1 1/2 hours from the top. Not a beginner hike. This trail will take approximately 6-8 hours to hikeout and 4-6 hours to hike in. We had shade from 5:30am to the top of the RedWall 9:30 am in May hiking out. One should check on park Bus times when using this avenue. Great Hike!

Tanner Trail(River Mile 69)- is rarely used, but here's a good slideshow of it anyhow: http://robtooker.smugmug.com/photos/swfpopup.mg?AlbumID=8107829&AlbumKey=GSysT

SouthBass Trail(River Mile 108.5)-is rarely used, but a great hike for SOLID hikers. http://allhikers.com/Allhikers/Hiking/Trip-Reports/2008-South-Bass/Day-1.htm The shuttle is very tricky as you take a dirt road(best done during the day) and pay a Havasupai fee. Buy an Arizona Gazeteer in Flagstaff and drive the road the DAY(not night) before just in case.  Expert Hikers and Route Finders Only!

Whitemore(River Mile 188)-This is an extremely easy hike to the rim. Check out the access here: http://www.bar10.com/activities.amp#2 Why we have helicopters at whitemore? I don't know:( The Bar10 Ranch can run a shuttle car to this point, I don't know any specifics, give them a call. This will be an intense shuttle to setup!  http://www.bar10.com/activities.amp#2

Shuttles back to Flagstaff, please see shuttle area above.


Diamond Creek-Diamond Creek is the most common place to take out. It is at mile 226 and will cost approximately $1284 to travel 25 miles to the Rim of the Canyon. Between March and October one must wait until 10 am to derig. November to March you can get on the beach whenever you would like barring no Hualapai trips which is very unlikely. It will take approximately 2 hours to derig and load, and 3-4 hours to arrive in Flagstaff depending on stops. For a 10 am derig one can expect to arrive approximately back in Flagstaff by 4-5 pm. It is not recommended to schedule a flight on this day because of potential problems that may arise(road conditions, etc).Diamond Creek around the bend

Don't Underestimate the Diamond Creek Down!

At low water the fangs are real:)

Pierce Ferry Takeout is now OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
It is approximately 1 mile above Pierce Ferry Rapid which is approaching unrunnable. There is no cost to takeout at Pierce Ferry and it is approximately 1 1/2 hour from Las Vegas by car.

Pearce Ferry Rapid, Is now the most difficult and treacherous in the Canyon! Oops not anymore:) It's a 6 inch wave now 5/7/12

There are no limits on times that you can derig at Pierce Ferry Takeout. In the summer we suggest 6 am or 5 pm derigs:) We can be passing Diamond Creek on the way home before the other groups can even get on the beach to derig. It takes approximately 4 hours to return to Flagstaff. Kingman is 1 hour away where there are many services like the ALL YOU CAN EAT Golden Corral:)

A neat slideshow of THE RAPIDS


When flipping your raft, always tie off to the frame. The frame is secured at several points and thus distributes the load on the d-rings. Securing a flip line to d-rings can rip them off. The easiest way to flip a raft is to use the bowline.  Droop the bowline to the oarstand, secure(clovehitch makes it easy) and droop it back to the stern line.  Get 6 or more people on the boat pulling the droops and stand on the tube and lean back.  The folks on the shore can help push it over.  Jump clear of the boat coming over.  Make sure you aren't pulling it over on a rock. Something like this.


  Second most popular way is to secure a rope over the boat to the frame on the opposite side of the boat. Place two people on either side to safely move shore tube away from the shore when the boat starts to come over. Safety First! They must not be under the boat when the boat flips over. Merely, guide the tube away from the shore. With as many people as you can recruit(min 8) pull the boat over like a tug of war. If the shore guides did their job the shore tube will be pulled out and the boat will slap over in the water. Piece of cake.

Go here, to see it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyBeH3wXLds The only thing I would do different is try to keep the boat in the water by putting two people at either end to keep it in the water.