Colorado River Dangers in the Grand Canyon

If you're a reckless visitor it might be your last vacation ever, but if you listen to your guides, you'll have a great time.
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Fishing boat on the Colorado River at the beginning of the Grand Canyon

Fishing boat on the Colorado River at the beginning of the Grand Canyon

Think falling off the rim of the Grand Canyon is bad? How about dying of heatstroke because you ran out of water? The Grand Canyon might be a beautiful place, but like many beautiful things there is extreme danger around every corner and if you're a reckless visitor it might be your last vacation ever.

Drowning in the Grand Canyon

We don't want to keep you from going swimming, but the Colorado River is not your average waterway. Every second thousands of cubic feet of water flow through the canyon creating massive eddies and rapids. Though rafters are typically safe, there have been several drowning deaths since 1925. Typically rafters are kept safe with life vests, safety boats and throw bags, but every once and a while a bad swim turns into a tragedy and a life is lost. Don't stress too much, however, if you plan on taking a river trip. Listening to your guides is typically the best way to remain safe and if you follow their safety instructions a swim most likely won't be more than a great story around a campfire.

Hypothermia in the Grand Canyon

On a hot summer day the Colorado River might look refreshing, but don't be fooled, the water is cold-- really cold. Though rare, hypothermia can happen to Grand Canyon visitors who aren't careful. Typically hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature is reduced to a level where the body no longer shivers to keep warm. Blood is redirected to vital organs and the body can shut down. If you get hypothermia make sure to warm up slowly by putting your hands under your armpits and using other people's body heat to warm you up. Shivering, though uncomfortable, is actually a sign of the body warming and you coming out hypothermia.

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