TAKE THE JOURNEY
GRAND CANYON VETERAN WILDERNESS EXPEDITION
- Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Eligibility: Veterans with verified service and a VA disability rating, who currently reside
in Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas
- Duration: Nine days total, including seven days on the Colorado River
- Dates: Oct. 19-27
No Barriers Expedition FAQs: View other Frequently Asked Questions here
The Grand Canyon Veteran Wilderness Expedition, sponsored by Raytheon, is set on the Colorado River, running through the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
No Barriers co-founder and world-renowned blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer kayaked the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 2014, chronicling his journey in the book, No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
. Four years later, a team comprising 14 veterans and four leaders will retrace half of Erik’s route from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch and hike out the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along the way, the fellow battle buddies will build lasting connections and learn they have no barriers that can’t be overcome.
The experience begins when participants arrive at Phoenix International Airport and meet their expedition leaders and fellow veterans before traveling to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. That evening, river guides from Arizona Raft Adventures will review the trip while the team gets to know each other, preps personal gear and packs equipment in dry bags. All meals, food and group camping gear are provided. Personal gear is available to borrow (see our FAQs for more details
). Team members will depart Flagstaff before daybreak and travel to Lee’s Ferry, where they’ll launch into the Colorado River.
The team will float 87 miles over seven days, following the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon National Park. Days will be filled with reflection as they navigate the quiet stretches of river, preparing for the rapids to come. Participants will explore side canyons during day hikes and discover hidden historic sites along the way. Evenings will include gourmet meals, campfires, and thoughtful discussions with teammates.
The canyon experience concludes with a 9-mile hike up the Bright Angel Trail that gains 4,500 feet in elevation. Team members will share one final dinner together and travel back to Flagstaff for the night before departing for Phoenix the next day.
Throughout the experience, expedition leaders will facilitate No Barriers curriculum and remind team members that what’s within them is stronger than what’s in their way.
After the expedition, alumni are welcomed into the No Barriers family for ongoing support from our community and the possibility to be eligible for future opportunities with No Barriers USA.
- Oct. 19: Arrive in Phoenix, Arizona, and drive to Flagstaff
- Oct. 20: Begin expedition with river launch at Lee’s Ferry
- Oct. 21-25: Raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
- Oct. 26: Remove the rafts at Phantom Ranch and hike the Bright Angel Trail up to the South rim
- Oct. 27: Depart early morning for Phoenix