Noncommercial river trips which launch from Diamond Creek (river mile 225) take 2 to 5 days. This unique section of the Colorado River is located at the west end of Grand Canyon National Park and is often referred to as the Lower Gorge. It includes 52 river miles of smooth and white water, with many dramatic and colorful views. A noncommercial river permit is required.
Access is across Hualapai Land: The Hualapai Tribe independently charges fees for people and vehicles to cross Hualapai Tribal land and launch or take-out boats at Diamond Creek. These fees are outside of the control of the National Park Service.
For most of the trip, the number of potential campsites are limited. On the north side of the river (river right) is Grand Canyon National Park, on the south side of the river (river left) above the historic high water mark is Hualapai Tribal Land. Groups desiring to hike or camp on river left above the historic high water mark must request a permit from the Hualapai Tribe in advance of their launch date ((928) 769-2210 or (800) 622-4409). River users are asked by the National Park Service and required by law to treat the sensitive cultural sites with care and respect.
After trips launch from Diamond Creek, the entire stretch to river mile 277 (Pearce Ferry) is free-flowing whitewater. Starting at river mile 277, the surrounding Grand Wash Cliffs give way to Lake Mead National Recreation Area. River trips must be prepared for variable water levels at Lake Mead due to drought. Boaters should also be prepared for shifting sandbars, high winds, and very shallow water near Pearce Bay.
River runners can take-out at either South Cove or Pearce Ferry. In order to prevent the spread or introduction of invasive species, participants are strongly encourage to practice Clean, Drain, Dry with all equipment at the end of the trip and prior to launching in a new body of water.
Trips will share the river with many other users. In addition to the two noncommercial trips per day authorized to launch from Lees Ferry, expect to see a large amount of other use. You may see trips which launched from Lees Ferry (commercial and noncommercial) which are continuing down to the lake. You may pass motorized upstream and downstream travel from trips that originate from Lake Mead (they can travel as far upstream as Separation Canyon). You may experience a large amount of helicopter traffic, and you may see other commercial operations on the river run by the Hualapai tribe.
Noncommercial River Permits
Grand Canyon National Park authorizes up to two noncommercial river trips to launch from Diamond Creek each day. Each trip is limited to a maximum of 16 participants. Currently the National Park Service does not charge permit fees for this section of the river, but the Hualapai Tribe will charge access fees for crossing their land. Permittees are responsible for making their own arrangements with the tribe ((928) 769-2210 or (800) 622-4409). People interested in obtaining permits can start by completing a Diamond Creek to Lake Mead permit application and submitting it to the River Permits Office. Applications are accepted no earlier than one year in advance and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.