Lava Falls Rapid

About Lava Falls Rapid

The most anticipated run on the river. The Uinkaret Volcanic Field deposited masses of Lava into the Grand Canyon between 75,000 and 100,000 years ago. These lava deposits dammed the river, starting in the vicinity of Lava Falls Rapid. Eventually, the Colorado broke through the natural dams. You can see enormous deposits of columnar basalt on river right as you finish the rapid.

How to run Lava Falls Rapid

The most consequential feature of Lava is the notorious Ledge Hole in the center of the river. A run into the Ledge Hole is not advisable as it has violently flipped many rafts.

At low-medium flows, a right run is standard. While scouting, set yourself reference points like onshore rocks and boil lines to help you remember where you are relative to the ledge hole as you enter the rapid. A good right run will enter just a bit to the right of the ledge hole. Keep it straight as you make your way down the right-side. A run too far right can be disastrous – running over a large hole near the top right. A solid run will have to punch through the “V-Wave.” The V-Wave is formed by a left and right lateral that collide into one another. If you can punch straight through the middle, do so. If you are set up to run one side or the other, make sure to adjust your angle. An off-angle hit on the V-Wave can flip boats. After the V-Wave, make your way to the left and keep it straight through the large wave train at the bottom of the rapid. The Big Kahuna is one of the first waves in the train and is consequential enough that you want to be sure to hit it straight.

At flows above around 12,000 CFS, a left-run of Lava is possible. At high flows, a left run is advisable. The run is relatively straightforward, starting left of the Ledge Hole and punching straight through waves on the left side of the rapid.

Get ready to celebrate!

Entering Lava Falls to the right of the Ledge Hole

Entering Lava Falls just to the right of the Ledge Hole.

Hitting the V Wave in Lava Falls

Those waves are big! Hit everything straight in Lava.

A solid instructional video showing the right line through Lava Falls.

A Dory running a clean left line through Lava Falls.