Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa: Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip

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ArizonaGrand Canyon
Tour Length
3 days, 2 nights
Backcountry Camping
Guide Type

The Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa Grand Canyon backpacking trip is a challenging hike to a beautiful secluded location within the Grand Canyon, rich in history and geology. Horseshoe Mesa juts out above the Redwall limestone like a lush island on a rocky pedestal in the midst of the vast canyon. The Grandview Trailhead is located at the site of the former Grandview Point Hotel – one of the first Grand Canyon lodging options ever built. The location of the hotel was chosen for its stunning vistas as well as access to mining sites within the canyon.

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip ground transportation from Scottsdale, AZ
  • Meals starting lunch Day 1 through lunch Day 3
  • 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 3
  • 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 ($25 per)
  • 2-person backpacking tent ($35 per)
  • 55 to 65 liter backpack with removable daypack option fitted to individual ($30 per)
  • Sleeping bag ($25 per)
  • Inflatable sleeping pad ($25 per, sleeping pads add insulation and are required on AOA trips)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)

Optional Additions

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


2019 Rates

  • TOUR PRICE $ 795 pp 795 pp
  • +Permits & Land Fees $ 35 pp* 35 pp

*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)


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.

Your guides will meet you at your hotel in Scottsdale at 6am to begin your journey to the Grand Canyon. From the aptly named Grandview Trailhead, located at the site of the former Grandview Point Hotel, we’ll make our descent along an ancient Indian route. This Grand Canyon trail was rebuilt by a prospector named Pete Berry in 1892 and though it was more than a century ago, Berry’s presence is still evident along the route. Berry constructed the first trail supports with the canyon’s plentiful juniper-logs, stabilizing the descent through the Coconino sandstone layer. Winding down the cobbled switchbacks which no Grand Canyon map can do justice, the Sinking Ship butte rises an impressive 7,344 feet ahead of you. To access the Mesa and your campsite, the trail descends through the red rock layers of the Supai group. As it snakes along the red slopes of the mesa, look for the colorful blue and green rock fragments, this malachite and azurite is indicative of the rich copper ore that brought prospectors to this part of the canyon. Once on Horseshoe Mesa one quickly comes to the ruins of Pete Berry’s stone cabin, and the campground is set amongst the juniper just beyond the ruins. Enjoy a pleasant evening gazing out at the views in every direction from your secluded island in the sky.


3 miles (4.8 km), -2500 ft (762 m) elevation


Breakfast on your own, lunch and dinner included


Camp at Horseshoe Mesa

Campers settle into tent on Grand Canyon backpacking trip

Perched high atop the Redwall limestone at the Horseshoe Mesa campground, you simply cannot miss the opportunity to catch the kaleidoscope colors of the sunrise. After a delicious breakfast prepared by your guide, a full stomach and dialed backpack set you up for a day of exploration in the Grand Canyon awaits you. Possibilities include exploring the Cave of the Domes, an intriguing cavern carved into the Redwall limestone, hiking to the springs in Cottonwood Creek, or circumnavigating Horseshoe Mesa itself. The route around the mesa follows Cottonwood creek down to the Tonto Trail where it opens up to your first glimpse of the inner canyon and the Colorado River, listen for the muffled roar of Sockdolager Rapids below. Hugging the west rim of Hance Creek Canyon, the trail cuts across a ledge in the Tapeats sandstone, the creek a sheer 800 foot drop below, until it emerges into a traverse leading up to Miners Spring and eventually Horseshoe Mesa. End the day on your island mesa in the sky with a delicious meal and world-class stargazing.


Varying lengths and difficulties


All meals included


Camp at Horseshoe Mesa

Campers settle into tent on Grand Canyon backpacking trip

Today we breakfast and break camp early to make the most of the cool morning air. The hike out will take longer than the hike in, but your guide will remind you to stop for water and to take in the incredible views. Looking out to the canyon behind you affords a new perspective; try to catch a glimpse of your camp atop the mesa. Pay attention to the rock layers of the canyon as you look up at the towering walls along the trail ahead of you. Hiking in Grand Canyon is a walk through time, each rock layer a reminder of the dynamic geologic history of the Southwest. The marks that humans have made on this part of the canyon are miniscule in comparison with the immensity of the natural forces at work. Back on the rim again, take a moment to drink in the view of the landscape before you as you shake the dust off your hiking boots. After a relaxing lunch at the rim, you will return to Scottsdale and should be back to your hotel by late afternoon.


3 miles (4.8 km) +2500 ft (762 m) elevation


Breakfast and lunch included, dinner on your own


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 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 have access to showers or bathrooms. We will follow Leave No Trace principles for waste management while in the canyon.

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. All backcountry campsites are primitive.

Trip Ratings

Challenge 4 | Comfort 1 | Solitude 4 | Participation 3