Ever since John Wesley Powell ran it in 1869, the Colorado River’s 220-plus-mile passage through the Big Ditch has been the big name in big water. Experiencing the whole canyon at river level is a bucket-list trip—and prices and availability reflect that. Longer guided trips sell out a year in advance, and unguided trips require entry into a lottery the previous February—so, really, we’re talking spring 2014 here.
If you’re willing to pony up a cool $2,600 per person, there are openings for two left on award-winning Western River’s 6-day trips. Fair warning to paddle fiends: these are motorized rafts.
For the budget conscious, travel 15 miles upstream of the Grand Canyon’s put-in to Glen Canyon Dam, where Colorado River Discovery leads half- and full-day motor-raft tours from $89 and $181, respectively. While you’ll technically be in Glen Canyon, you'll still get the towering rust-colored bluffs and blue-green waters its Grand neighbor is famous for.