Status Of Grand Canyon Rafting: COVID-19 Update

Status Of Grand Canyon Rafting: COVID-19 Update

Written by Jarrett on 03-May-2021

It seems like the current pandemic impacts everything nowadays. People see national parks as some of the places where they can recreate freely and keep a distance. The Grand Canyon National Park has been one of the most famous landmarks for US residents and tourists.

At the same time, Grand Canyon rafting trips are expected to increase after the coronavirus. Thrillseekers and rafting enthusiasts find nature as the best way to rejoice and the spring/summer seasons as the perfect time to enjoy Grand Canyon’s beauties.

In the wake of the new season, many are planning their trips to Arizona and rafting adventures in the Grand Canyon. Below, we are sharing the latest update on whether the Park is open or closed and what are the current protocols that need to be considered.

Can You Go Rafting In the Grand Canyon In 2021?

grand canyon rafting


There have been plenty of safety protocols implemented back in 2020, which are still relevant for Grand Canyon rafting in 2021. The only changing guidelines are the local, state, and federal rules on COVID-19 and the protocols for safe and smooth operation.

It is currently required for all individuals over the age of two to wear face masks, except when they are actively eating or drinking in the common areas, shared workspaces (in buildings owned or leased by the National Park Service), and outdoor areas. When physical distancing and staying at least six feet apart cannot be maintained, face masks are required.

The indoor areas where people should wear face masks within the Grand Canyon include common places like visitor park centers, lodges, gift shops, restaurants, and administrative offices.

The outdoor areas where visitors should keep all of these measures include Mather Point, Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza, bus stops around the area, Hopi Point, Greenway Trail, and all entrance stations.

Visitors should wear masks that are covering their nose and mouth and fighting snugly around the nose and chin, without large gaps around the sides of the face. Everyone should practice physical distancing. Washing hands and staying home when sick is recommended.

Phased Reopening Of River Rafting Trips

The Grand Canyon National Park has had many different mitigation phases in regards to the spread of COVID-19 in the state and our country. Currently, the Mitigation Phase for River Use has moved from “Medium” to “Light,” which means that rafting enthusiasts can use the river while continuing the essential COVID-19 Safety Mitigation requirements (as mentioned above or in this document).

Road Entrances And Temporary Closures

The 2021 Season in the Grand Canyon is scheduled to begin on May 15, 2021, when the North Rim is going to be open. Currently, the South Rim is open as the entrance going by Tusayan, AZ, as well as the East Entrance at Desert View. Both entrances are open 24/7.

The reopening of the Park’s east entrance occurred at the beginning of April 2021, when authorities made the decision to reopen the roads. However, no services, including food, gas, and campground, will be available at Desert View until further notice. The nearest alternatives include Cameron, AZ (located about 30 miles east of Desert View), as well as parts of the South Rim in the Grand Canyon Village. It is also important to mention that due to safety measures and COVID-19 precautions, cash is not accepted at the time.

Currently, rafting enthusiasts can access the Grand Canyon through the East Entrance. The North Rim of the Park is closed until May 15, 2021, and Hermit Road is also closed to private vehicles between March and November 2021. The shuttle bus is in service during this time, and users can also access the road by foot or on bicycles.

For a complete list of park operations, available services and open facilities, visit this link. For any specific river permit questions, you can send an email to

Written by Jarrett on 03-May-2021