How to Stay Cool on a Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Be Cool, Stay Cool on the Colorado River


Heat on any Colorado River rafting trip can be all but guaranteed, especially during the summer months. Temperatures can average over one hundred degrees during the daytime – which is usual for desert climates like those found in Grand Canyon. Luckily, the warm temperatures paired with the cool and refreshing waters from the Colorado River can be the perfect combination. Guests often look for tips to help them stay cool while floating along between rapids. Below find a few ideas to help you keep cool in the desert heat.


First and foremost: WATER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND!


Luckily, you’ll be spending your days traveling down the Colorado River and your nights camped out beside it, so you’ll have lots of access to water. Here are a couple of ways to use water to your advantage:
  • Drink it! And lots of it! There’s a common saying in the desert that if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep your water bottle within easy access and drink from it throughout the day. In addition to water, you’ll want to drink plenty of Gatorade or lemonade to replenish the electrolytes you lose when you sweat. We’ll provide plenty of both and it’ll be available at all times.
  • Cool off in it! Take advantage of dipping in at the swimming stops and forgoing the waterproof gear for the rapids. Get your body wet and you’ll feel worlds cooler.
  • Soak your clothes and hats in it! Bring a bandana, soak it in the river, and tie it around your neck. A sarong or large cotton scarf is perfect for this as well. Cooling the arteries in your neck will help cool your entire body. Soak your shirt and hat and they’ll help keep your body temperature down too. We generally recommend quick-dry clothes, but bringing a cotton shirt or two exactly because they take longer to dry can be an advantage in the heat of the day.
    Bonus: Before bed, drape a wet t-shirt or your provided sheet over you to help stay cool while you sleep.
  • Speaking of sleeping—set up your bed closer to the water rather than the cliffs. The cliffs will radiate the heat they stored throughout the day, but the air closer to the water will be cooler, especially if there’s a breeze.
  • Keep drinking! Seriously, we can’t stress enough how important hydration is on the river.




Seems obvious, but it’s worth remembering that you’ll be hotter in the sun. Here are some ways you can alleviate its intensity:
  • Wear long sleeves. It might seem counterintuitive, but you’ll actually be cooler in long-sleeves by keeping the hot sun off your skin. Keep a lightweight, light-colored, long-sleeved shirt on through the sunny stretches, and not only will you avoid sunburn, but you’ll also stay cooler. If you can also cover your legs – breezy pants, quick-dry leggings, lightweight sarong – all the better.
  • Wear a sun hat and sunglasses. The same principle applies with a hat and sunglasses—create your own shade, and you’ll be cooler while protecting your skin and eyes from harsh rays. (And while we’re on the topic of protecting your skin, wear lots of sunscreen!)
  • Take advantage of the shade when you find it. When you’re hiking, if you need to take a rest break, try to find a spot in the shade where you can take a second and “chill.”


Guides Know Best


Finally, listen to your guides. They are your first and best resource for everything in the canyon—after all, many spend nearly half of their lives there. They’re sure to have their own sets of tips, and will know what to do if you or one of the other passengers gets dehydrated or starts to overheat.

If you’re worried your trip will be ruined by the heat, don’t be. Even your longest, hottest stretches will be punctuated by waterfalls, natural springs, and splashes through the rapids – and just think how much more refreshing they’ll be in the warmer weather!

Book your Grand Canyon whitewater rafting adventure today to experience these unique elements first hand!