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.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
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.

Related

Ranger William Reesein the information center in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Photo by Whit Richardson

Do I Need a Permit to Take Photos, Film or Do Research in the Grand Canyon?

Avoid troubles by making sure you have all the right permits for your adventure.

Shuttle bus area, South Rim, Grand Canyon. Photo by Whit Richardson

Grand Canyon Hours of Operation

Be sure to check weather and hours before departing on your adventure to the Grand Canyon.

grand-canyon-naming-colorado-river

Naming The Colorado River

The Colorado River had many names before it became the "Colorado" River.

Backcountry Information Center. Photo by Whit Richardson

Do I Need a Backcountry Permit in the Grand Canyon?

If you wish to camp anywhere in the park, other than in developed campgrounds on the North Rim, South Rim, or Tuweep, you must obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.

Dog hiking in forest.

Can I Bring My Pet to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon?

On the Grand Canyon's North Rim, pets are only allowed on the Bridle Trail. There is no kennel or pet-friendly lodge rooms to board your pet.

Rainbow at the end of a storm in the Grand Canyon

What to Wear for Grand Canyon's Weather Above & Below-the-Rim

Weather can sidetrack your plans if you're not prepared, so guarantee your time in the park is spent relishing the moment by packing the right gear.

The view of Desert View Point from high up in the Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

6 Hazards to Avoid in the Grand Canyon

Follow these tips about viewpoints on the edge, floods, heat and dehydration to enjoy a safe and fantastic Grand Canyon trip.

Overlooking Plateau Point. Photo by Whit Richardson

How Many People Fall in the Grand Canyon?

Dying from heat or dehydration is more common than falling, but it is still a major concern. Read about your odds and some unfortunate accidents.

Shuttle Buses in Grand Canyon

Getting Around Inside Grand Canyon National Park

Guided bus tours and hiker shuttles are two options for navigating the Grand Canyon.