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Rafting trip offers journey through geologic time

rafting trip
January 28, 2013

The Grand Canyon offers otherworldly panoramas of plateaus and basins, towering canyon walls and soaring rock structures. If you’ve always wanted to raft the Grand Canyon and learn the story behind the rocks you’re seeing then the annual School of Earth and Space Exploration-sponsored raft trip is for you.

The date is May 6-13, from Lee’s Ferry, Ariz. to Whitmore Wash, a distance of 188 river miles. The trip is limited to 28 passengers on two boats, and the cost is $2,660. Travelers must be 18 or older.

“The Grand Canyon is a place where, in eight days, you can take people through the grand themes of geology,” says Paul Knauth, professor of geology in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. “We will examine and discuss side canyons, geologic features, and fossils not normally viewed by commercial river trips.”

“Scenically, it’s unsurpassed. Don’t ever get hooked on it, because it will take you back again and again in a compulsive way,” says Knauth, who speaks from experience. Since about 1990, he has organized and led 25 trips, introducing interested members of the community to the geology behind the canyon’s celebrated scenery.

Knauth’s goal is to help the public experience the canyon as he experiences it. The trips take the form of tours, with Knauth acting as guide. Throughout the day, the group stops and discusses geologic features they encounter.

The trip price includes lodging at Cliff Dwellers Lodge the night of May 5 (double occupancy), basic camping gear, all meals while on the river, helicopter exit to Bar 10 Ranch, and plane flight back to Marble Canyon or Las Vegas.

The trip includes an extra day on the Colorado River relative to normal trips, a pre-trip orientation, the National Park entrance fee, a waterproof guide book, geologic handouts, a post-trip party/slide show, and bag return from the rafts to Phoenix.

“This last feature means you can bring amounts of gear not normally allowed, and you do not have to lug it out on the helicopter at the end,” explains Knauth.

Hatch River Expeditions provides the large, motorized inflatable rafts. Participants will rendezvous at the Hatch facility at Cliff Dwellers in Marble Canyon no later than the evening prior to departure and will return there via aircraft on the 8th day.

To make reservations, call Hatch River Expeditions at 1-800-856-8966. Specify that you want “Knauth’s geology trip putting in on May 6, 2013.”

Cancellation policies, insurance options, and other questions regarding payment are available at: Please note that the ASU-sponsored trip is a charter geology-oriented trip and has somewhat different logistics than the normal commercial trips described on the Hatch website.

For more information about the trip, call Knauth at (480) 965-2867, send an email to, or visit:

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is an academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.