Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Backpacking Trip

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Activity
Backpacking
Destination
ArizonaGrand Canyon
Tour Length
5 days, 4 nights
Accomodations
Backcountry Camping
Guide Type
Guided
Difficulty
Advanced

A rim to rim in the Grand Canyon is a world class challenge and surely worthy of a tick on your bucket list. Join us on this backpacking journey from the Grand Canyon’s lush forested North Rim down to the Colorado River and back out to the popular Grand Canyon South Rim. This 5-day Grand Canyon Backpacking tour will take you away from the hustle and bustle and satisfy your thirst for adventure.

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip ground transportation from Scottsdale, AZ
  • 4 nights of backcountry camping
  • Meals starting lunch Day 1 through lunch Day 5
  • Water and snacks
  • Kitchen and group gear (cooking utensils, stove, fuel, water filter, food storage where needed, dish washing necessities)
  • Personal mess kit (bowl, mug, fork, spoon)
  • Professional Wilderness First Responder certified guides

Permit & Land Use Fees Include

  • Grand Canyon National Park entry and commercial fees

Not Included ​​​​​​​

  • Personal insurance and expenses
  • Pre- or post-trip lodging
  • Airfare to and from Scottsdale, AZ
  • Airport transfers
  • Breakfast Day 1, dinner Day 5
  • Sleeping bag (available to rent from AOA)
  • Sleeping pad (available to rent from AOA)
  • Backpacking pack (available to rent from AOA)
  • Backpacking tent (available to rent from AOA)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)
  • Gratuities to AOA Guides

Upgrades + Additions

Gear Rental

  • 1-person backpacking tent ($35 per)
  • 2-person backpacking tent ($45 per)
  • 55 to 65 liter backpack with removable daypack option fitted to individual ($40 per)
  • Sleeping bag ($35 per)
  • Inflatable sleeping pad ($35 per, sleeping pads add insulation and are required on AOA trips)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)

Other Additions

  • Purchase: 3-liter Camelbak reservoir/bladder ($35 per)
Optional upgrades, additions, and rentals subject to tax (8.05%).

Rates

2019 Rates

  • TOUR PRICE $ 1395 pp 1395 pp
  • +Permits & Land Fees $ 64 pp* 64

*Subject to change and will be based on actual costs at time of departure

*Subject to change and will be based on actual costs at time of departure

Do you have five minutes to save $25? Learn about our 25for5 promotion on our Promos & Discounts page! (Seasonal discounts may apply)

Dates

Important! Due to Grand Canyon’s permit system, AOA recommends that you book your Grand Canyon backpacking trip 5 months or more in advance. Early reservations will receive a 5% discount.

8:00am: Today we shuttle from Scottsdale to the Grand Canyon North Rim with some interesting stops along the way. We break at Cameron Indian Trading Post. Established in 1916, it is a famous showplace for fine Native American and Southwestern art, as well as a perfect lunch spot. Then we’ll explore Navajo Bridge, just downstream from Lee’s Ferry which is the launch point for Grand Canyon rafting trips on the mighty Colorado River. Day’s end will find us setting up camp on the North Rim and enjoying a sunset stroll to stretch the legs before dinner in this spectacular setting.

Hiking

0-2 miles

Meals

Breakfast on your own, lunch and dinner provided.

Lodging

Backcountry camping in Kaibab National Forest

Today we have a challenging but manageable trek into the depths of the canyon. We travel approximately 6.8 miles and an impressive 4,080 vertical feet into the canyon. On today’s trek we traverse through nearly every biological life zone in North America and can experience drastic temperature and weather changes. As we drop from the alpine to the desert terrain, each step takes us thousands of years back in geologic time through ancient oceans, deserts, lakes and swamps. With mind-blowing vistas, fascinating trail design and workmanship, 100-foot tall waterfalls, and green spring-fed oases, the North Kaibab Trail is a national treasure.

Hiking

6.8 miles, -4,080 feet elevation

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Cottonwood Campground

On today’s adventure we traverse less steep terrain but ramp up the miles. We have worthy detour options available to us including Ribbon Falls and Phantom Ranch. Phantom Ranch is nestled on the banks of Bright Angel Creek not far from its confluence with the Colorado River. Phantom Ranch was originally founded in 1903 as a hunting camp and named by Mary Jane Colter after nearby Phantom Creek. Tonight, we camp either at the established Bright Angel Campground or get to stretch our legs a bit on the Clear Creek Trail and camp in the backcountry. Both Bright Angel Campground and the Clear Creek Trail are fantastic options and permit availability will dictate our campsite.

Hiking

7.4 – 9.4 miles, -1,600 feet elevation

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Backcountry Campsite

Enjoy a leisurely morning and a great breakfast before breaking camp. Today we cross ‘The Silver Bridge’ and traverse along the Colorado River until reaching the mouth of Garden Creek. We trek on and up through the Devil’s Corkscrew out of the Grand Canyon’s imposing inner gorge and up into Indian Garden. As you hike along, imagine the amazing forces that have carved this intricate landscape over the millennia. Let the canyon awaken your inner curiosity and keep your eyes peeled for the incredible wildlife that call the canyon home, including whiptail lizards, impressive desert bighorn sheep, and even rare California Condors. Your professional guide can provide more Grand Canyon facts about flora, fauna, culture, and geology than you could ever imagine. Tonight we either camp in the Indian Garden Campground or get the opportunity to venture further west on the Tonto Trail to the Horn Creek backcountry area. Whether we are relaxing by the creek or basking in the incredible views at Horn Creek we are in for one last incredible night in the Grand Canyon.

Hiking

4.5 – 7 miles, +1,320 feet elevation

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Backcountry Campsite

Today will be an early start to make the most of the cool morning air. Break camp over breakfast and bid the relaxing haven of Indian Garden a fond farewell before hiking up to the Grand Canyon South Rim along Bright Angel Trail. This route has been used by humans for at least 10,000 years and is still one of the most popular trails in the canyon. After departing Indian Gardens the first mile of trail slopes gently upwards, creating a nice warm-up for the push to the rim. Soon you will come to Jacob’s Ladder, a series of tight switchbacks twisting up until the trail enters the Redwall Limestone. Take a well-earned break at 3-mile Rest House before continuing our ascent up the Bright Angel Trail. Don’t forget to soak in the magnificence of the canyon around you before continuing your ascent through the changing rock layers to the rim. Your guide will help along the way, answering questions, sharing stories about the geology of the surrounding monoliths, and pointing out hawks, eagles, and the ancient red ocher pictographs that were painted onto the rock centuries ago. Back on the rim, enjoy a delicious and well-deserved lunch and reflect on your accomplishments and Grand Canyon vacation before beginning the scenic ride back to Scottsdale.         

Hiking

4.8 – 7 miles, +3,800 feet elevation

Meals

Breakfast and lunch included, dinner on your own

Lodging

On your own

Nitty Gritty

AOA’s adventures might challenge you, but we don’t want them to surprise you, these Nitty Gritty details can help you decide if this the right trip for you.

Comforts of Home

Cell service & Electricity: While backpacking in the Grand Canyon, you will not have cell phone service, you should expect to be unreachable by phone. There is no electricity available. Bring a portable battery to charge your phone for photos.

Bathrooms/Showers: During this trip we will not always have access to showers or bathrooms. We will use a WAG Bag system to pack out our waste and ensure we Leave No Trace.

Access to water: Water is a precious resource in the canyon. We will filter our drinking water from reliable springs and must carry large quantities with us at all times.

Age & Group Size

Minimum Age: 14
Max Group Size: 9

Hiking & Camp

This backpacking trip requires that you carry all you need and a portion of the group gear on your back during the hike into and out of the canyon. Expect to carry about 35-50lbs in your backpack. The Grand Canyon’s trails have significant elevation change. On any Grand Canyon backpacking trip you will always do the hardest work, hiking up, when you are the most tired. Many of the trails we hike in the backcountry are not well-maintained, steep, and rugged. Some backcountry campsites are primitive.

Trip Ratings

Challenge 5 | Comfort 1 | Solitude 4.5 | Participation 5