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South Kaibab to Grandview Trail Backpacking Tour

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

Experience a 5-day Grand Canyon Backpacking Tour from South Kaibab to Grandview Trail. If you’re seeking a truly adventurous backpacking trip in Grand Canyon, this guided tour is for you. Beginning at the South Kaibab Trailhead, hike 12 miles into the canyon, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Grand Canyon South Rim and a world away from modern civilization. We will even have the option to visit Grand Canyon’s only cave that is open to the public in the entire park! Over the course of the trip, we will hike along the mostly flat Tonto Trail from South Kaibab to Grandview Trail, perfectly perched midway into the canyon’s depths so we can enjoy towering cliffs above us and views of the Colorado River below. This trip is designed for experienced backpackers or those with an adventurous spirit looking to challenge themselves and step outside the ordinary on Grand Canyon’s trails.

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip ground transportation from Scottsdale, AZ
  • Meals starting lunch Day 1 through breakfast 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
  • Breakfast Day 1, Lunch and 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 (7.95%).

Rates

2018 Rates

  • TOUR PRICE $ 1195 pp 1195 pp
  • +Permits & Land Fees $ 32 pp* 32 pp

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

2019 Rates

  • TOUR PRICE $ 1195 pp 1195 pp
  • +Permits & Land Fees $ 56 pp* 56 pp

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

Do you have five minutes to save $25? Use the promo code 25for5 at checkout and get $25 per person off your trip price when you take 5 minutes to complete your guest profile and sign your waiver! Profiles and waivers are due no later than 1 week after booking to cash in on this promotion!

See our Promos & Discounts page for a list of multi-day trip promotions that 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.

Hikers descend rocky South Kaibab Gradview Trail

After meeting in Scottsdale and transferring to Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim, your guide will help you with a basic backpack fitting, packing demonstration, and give a quick overview of the itinerary. At the trailhead, we will fill our water, carrying enough to cover us for the next 2 days. The South Kaibab Trail is not for the faint of heart. It descends 3,000 feet below us, negotiating the sheer walls of the Redwall Limestone and Coconino Sandstone via engineered switchbacks, and traversing an exposed ridgeline which affords some of the most jaw-dropping views in the entire park. South Kaibab Trail, together with North Kaibab Trail, was the first trans-canyon route ever constructed and is often used by intrepid Grand Canyon “rim to rim” hikers. The word Kaibab in the Paiute language means, “Mountain lying down”. Doubtless we will disagree with this moniker as we descend its seemingly unending switchbacks.

After 4.5 miles, we reach an area called The Tipoff, where we find an NPS-provided restroom, our last for the next 5 days. We travel another mile on the Tonto Trail to find our camp for the night. Tonight, we pitch camp and enjoy a dry dinner to conserve water for our hike tomorrow.

Hiking

5.5 miles

Meals

Breakfast on your own, lunch and dinner included

Lodging

Backcountry camping

Hikers descend rocky South Kaibab Gradview Trail
Grandview Trail backpacking tour group sits on rail

After a dry breakfast, we pack up camp and venture deeper into the backcountry, hiking through Cremation Canyon. Cremation Canyon, named for the cremation site at the head of the canyon utilized by ancient Native American tribes for ceremonial burials, is a backpacker’s dream escape. Just a few miles off the main thoroughfare of South Kaibab, we find ourselves incredibly close to civilization while still enjoying the unbelievable remoteness only the Grand Canyon can offer. From our camp we can glimpse the winding route of the South Kaibab Trail, as well as Cheops Pyramid, one of the white-crowned towers within the canyon. Upon reaching camp, we’ll drop our packs and make a side trip to retrieve water from Lone Tree, then enjoy dinner beneath the stars of the Milky Way!

Hiking

4.5 miles

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Backcountry camping

Grandview Trail backpacking tour group sits on rail
Hikers navigate cliffside trail on Grand Canyon backpacking trip

Our winding, twisting journey hiking along the Tonto Trail continues along the “fingers” of the canyon, reaching out from the South Rim toward the Colorado River. We’ll see Eighty-five Mile Rapid from above, and pass several springs where miners and early explorers ventured to find water in this dry desert canyon. To our right stands the amazing colors and sheer cliffs of Grand Canyon’s South Rim, painted countless shades of red and white in stripes and patterns that seem almost man-made. Imagine all the canyon visitors above, hopping off their bus tours to gaze into the abyss below and listening to the rushing water of the Colorado River to your left as you hike along, buffeting Grand Canyon Rafting trips over rapids and sandbars. Those muddy waters have carved every detail of this unforgettable land. We’re here in a world apart, our own slice of the Canyon. At this elevation, low desert plants such as Ocotillo and Utah Agave mix with the grasses and shrubs of higher elevations to make an intricate playground of medicinal and edible plants familiar to both the Native Americans who once roamed here and canyon wildlife who still do.

Hiking

8.7 miles

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Backcountry camping

Hikers navigate cliffside trail on Grand Canyon backpacking trip
Hiking group climbs trail on Grand Canyon backpacking trip

After a hearty breakfast we break camp and continue our route along the casual rolling hills of the Tonto Trail. The Tonto Platform on which we hike is a flat plateau formed within the canyon and stretching it’s entire length, providing a “gut” in the middle of the otherwise vertical canyon cliffs. This amazing formation and the 95-mile trail (the longest in the canyon) built along it allows us this serene, secluded route through one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. We may see one other group of intrepid hikers as we move east, making our way out to a viewpoint over Grapevine Rapids on the Colorado River 2,000 feet below. After just 5.5 miles, we make camp at beautiful Cottonwood Creek.

Hiking

5.5 miles

Meals

All meals included

Lodging

Backcountry camping

Hiking group climbs trail on Grand Canyon backpacking trip
Overlook view of Grand Canyon on backpacking tour

We pack up camp one final time and say goodbye to our relatively easy-going flat Tonto Trail as we ascend 2,600 feet toward the rim of the canyon. Grandview Trail provides steep switchbacks and distracting viewpoints to accompany us on our upward journey. Highlights during our hike today include views from the Coconino Saddle, remnants of old mining camps, as well as our first bathroom since the Tip-off when we reach Horseshoe Mesa! We have the opportunity, if time permits, to explore the Cave of the Domes as well, the only cave in Grand Canyon National Park open to public exploration. Reaching the top of the canyon is a challenge, but it is also an unforgettable feeling only accomplished by through-hiking the Grand Canyon!

Hiking

5.9 miles

Meals

Breakfast included, lunch and dinner on your own

Lodging

On your own

Overlook view of Grand Canyon on backpacking tour

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: 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 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.

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 5 | Comfort 1 | Solitude 5 | Participation 5