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The Grand Canyon is one of the planet’s premier backpacking spots, and our two thrilling 6-day tours will show you just how amazing it is, taking us to remote and stunning areas of the North Rim. The first one explores the deep narrows and slot canyons of Jumpup Canyon and Kanab Creek, navigating a vast drainage system and uncovering hidden slots and hollows that most only dream about. Alternatively, we’ll venture into the incredibly remote and hard-to-reach section of the Grand Canyon by trekking to Thunder River, where countless stunning waterfalls and secret swimming holes abound. Whichever tour you choose, you’re in for a treat. Plus, we take care of everything. Permits? Sorted. Camping logistics? Taken care of. No backpacking experience? No problem. All you need is a love for adventure and a desire to see the Grand Canyon like never before. So grab your gear and let’s go!

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  • Remote North Rim areas

    Explore the secluded and stunningly beautiful areas of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, where very few visitors venture

  • All-inclusive experience

    Save weeks on preparation with permits, trailhead transfers, backpacking equipment, and meals covered

  • Everyone is welcome!

    This adventure is open to anyone who wants to experience Grand Canyon like never before—regardless of their skill level

Available itineraries

Jumpup Canyon: Grand Canyon North Rim Backpacking Tour

Get ready for a thrilling 6-day backpacking adventure in the Grand Canyon's remote North Rim, exploring the spectacular Jumpup Canyon and Kanab Creek drainage system. Traverse breathtaking landscapes, camp beneath towering red walls, discover hidden slots and hollows, and marvel at the beauty of the massive Esplanade sandstone. Our experienced guides will lead you through this unforgettable journey, providing all necessary equipment and meals. From stunning vistas to secluded swimming holes, this tour is perfect for anyone who wants an immersive exploration of the Grand Canyon's unparalleled beauty.

  • On the evening before your trek start date, we’ll convene meet at 6pm for a one-hour group orientation and pack check in the main lobby of Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. Backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags will be provided to those who requested them. We’ll also get to know each other and the our team, preview the trail, and discuss safety before getting a good night’s sleep.

    Aerial view of Flagstaff, AZ and surrounding areas, during sunset.
  • Our trailhead is located off the far northwestern edge of Grand Canyon National Park in Kanab Wilderness. Just getting there will be an adventure. We’ll drive for 4.5 hours, including the last hour through a maze of forest service dirt roads to reach the trailhead. A late afternoon start is perfect for this trail. As the shade builds while the sun sets, we’ll slip into the canyon on a gentle wash and hike 4.5 miles to make camp on a beautiful layer of rock formations known as the Esplanade. This is among the easiest entry paths into the canyon we’ve ever taken. No ledges, minimal switchbacks, and teasing views with each mile.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)

    Backpackers hiking onto the Esplanade, Great Canyon.
  • We’ll traverse the relatively flat Esplanade as the sun rises illuminating new sweeping views of the terrain to come. After a short half-mile descent, we’ll reach the floor of the inner-canyon drainage system where the remainder of the hike will be spent exploring dry and flowing stream beds, the otherworldly narrows of Jumpup Canyon, and hidden slots and hollows that most backpackers only dream about. We’ll make set up camp near the junction of Jumpup Canyon and Kanab Creek.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 8.5 miles (13.7 km)

    Jumpup Canyon, Grand Canyon North Rim.
  • Day three will be shorter mileage but variable terrain as we make our way downstream between the imposing red walls of Kanab Creek. Depending on the weather pattern and season, Kanab Creek may be full of water, requiring hiking in and out of the narrow creek beds as we playfully work our way downstream toward our camp near Showerbath Spring.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)

    Grand Canyon North Rim backpackers beside the Kanab Creek.
  • Spend time relaxing and enjoying at your pace, with time to explore the hidden swimming holes of Scotty’s Hollow, waterfalls, and drainages of Kanab Creek.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

    Backpacker swimming in the Indian Hollow Pool, Grand Canyon.
  • Our trek transitions to working back toward the North Rim as we retrace our steps up Kanab Creek and Jumpup Canyon. Our camp selection will depend on water availability. We’ll enjoy a final Canyon sunset and night sky near the vast and open Esplanade. Sleeping out is highly encouraged! A hearty dinner with good company will prepare us for our final climb out to the Rim.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)

    Backpackers navigating rough terrain on their Grand Canyon North Rim backpacking tour.
  • The last hiking day of this trek will feel familiar as we retrace our steps along the Esplanade toward our trailhead on the North Rim. Upon exit, we’ll enjoy a meal as a team, then continue on to Flagstaff, or home to friends and family.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km)

    Backpackers enjoying a Grand Canyon sunset at the Jumpup Canyon viewpoint.
Thunder River: Grand Canyon North Rim Backpacking Tour

Explore the remote and difficult-to-access Thunder River areas of the Grand Canyon's North Rim on an epic 6-day trek. Discover breathtaking waterfalls, hidden swimming holes, and rugged terrain while camping beneath the starlit sky. Led by experienced guides, this all-inclusive adventure provides gear, meals, and transportation, making it accessible to adventurers of all levels. Discover the wonders of the Grand Canyon like never before on this unforgettable backpacking journey.

  • On the evening before your trek start date, we’ll convene meet at 6pm for a one-hour group orientation and pack check in the main lobby of Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. Backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags will be provided to those who requested them. We’ll also get to know each other and the our team, preview the trail, and discuss safety before getting a good night’s sleep.

    Aerial view of Flagstaff, AZ and surrounding areas, during sunset.
  • We’ll gather in the lobby of the Little America Hotel, Flagstaff at 5:00am, load gear and water, then head out to the North Rim. Our 5-hour drive will include a short visit to the Navajo Bridge, overlooking the Colorado River near Lee’s Ferry. We will continue on to the Thunder River Trailhead, where our hike begins at 6,400 feet (1,950 meters). After an afternoon hike down to the Esplanade, a bench of beautiful slickrock, we’ll set up our dry camp for our first night under the stars.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
    Elevation: -850 ft (-260 m)

    Hikers navigating difficult terrain on their way to Esplanade, Grand Canyon North Rim.
  • On day two we’ll have an early start to beat the heat! We will descend into Surprise Valley and travel east towards Thunder River, one of the shortest and steepest rivers in the world. We will pass a series of waterfalls that virtually appear out of nowhere as they emerge from channels concealed within the Tapeats sandstone. Then it’s off to camp at Lower Tapeats, with our first opportunity to swim in the Colorado River.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
    Elevation: -3,450 ft (-1,050 m)

    Thunder River waterfall, Grand Canyon.
  • Day three will feature shorter mileage but rugged terrain. We will spend most of this day traveling through a boulder garden along the Colorado River. As we near its end, Deer Creek with its enchanting Patio and narrows will come into view. This camp is a true oasis in the desert.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 5.5 miles (8.9 km)
    Elevation: +150 ft (+45 m)

    Backpackers hiking near the Lower Tapeats, next to a river, Grand Canyon.
  • Spend time relaxing and enjoying the Grand Canyon at your own pace. Explore the hidden swimming holes, waterfalls, and side canyons of Deer Creek and the Colorado River.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

    Backpacker swimming in the Colorado River while on a Grand Canyon North Rim backpacking tour.
  • Our trek transitions to working back toward the North Rim with a climb that includes incredible views of the Colorado River. We’ll camp with an expansive sunset and night sky on the vast and open Esplanade. Camping out under the stars is highly encouraged! A hearty dinner with good company will prepare us for our final climb out of the Grand Canyon.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 7 miles (11.3 km)
    Elevation: +3,200 ft (+975 m)

    Backpackers in the canyon of the Deer Creek, Grand Canyon.
  • Our last hiking day of this trek will feel familiar as we retrace our steps along the Thunder River Trail and up to the North Rim. After completing our hike, we’ll have a short drive to a hearty lunch stop and then continue on to Flagstaff.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
    Elevation: +850 ft (+260 m)

    Backpackers hiking in the Grand Canyon while on a backpacking trip.
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Meet your guides

Laurie Baggarly
5.00
Laurie Baggarly
Laurie, a seasoned fitness coach and passionate outdoorswoman, found her true calling as a backpacking guide after her first trip to the Grand Canyon in 2014. Hailing from the lush shores of the Big Island, she brings a unique blend of experience and enthusiasm to every adventure. When she's not leading hikes, Laurie enjoys surfing, gardening, and spending quality time outdoors with her family.
Tolman Losey
5.00
Tolman Losey
Tolman has lived near the Grand Canyon South Rim for over a decade and has been guiding TSX treks in both the Canyon and the Sierra since 2017. Hailing from Northern California, he is passionate about sharing the natural wonders of the wilderness with both seasoned adventurers and newcomers. Whether exploring backcountry trails or front-country paths, Tolman’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors shines through in every adventure.
TSX
5.00
TSX
TSX has been guiding people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels ever since 2010. Among several other locations, they trek across Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Mt. Whitney, and the Grand Canyon. TSX’s goal is to create an experience where individuals with limited or no backpacking skills can safely and confidently venture into the rugged beauty and tranquility of the US backcountry.
5.00 (6 reviews)
Chris Rauh (May 2024, source: Guide’s web )

A truly wonderful experience. Thunder River, Tapeats and Deer Creeks were all flowing fantastically. The trip was challenging but in a good way. There were just a few places if you had a fear of heights, things could get tricky…but manageable. The rest day and walk down to Deer Creek falls was well placed and magical. Our guide Alyssa is wonderful and worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone in our group had fun. I’d highly recommend this trip for those looking for a challenging and unique experience of the Grand Canyon.

Dwight McConn (October 2023, source: Guide’s web )

If you are thinking about one of these trips, dont hesitate. Start preparing, and get ready! I’ve been on 7 TSX adventures now since 2018 and each has been something special. For this trip, a dry camp on the rock formations of the Esplanade breaks up the ascent and descent into the canyon into managable pieces, and the layover day to hike and explore the deer creek slot canyon and waterfall, and swim in the colorado can’t be beat. Our guide Alyssa was wonderful, the meals were amazing, and the people you meet are as amazing as the natural settings that surround you. Come explore the North Rim and join the TSX family!

Dan (April 2024, source: Guide’s web )

Jumpup Canyon trek was amazing! It has a (relatively) easy entrance and exit from the canyon. We spent several days exploring the bottom of the canyon. The food was amazing. The guides shared the history and geology of the canyon. Its beauty is awe inspiring! Great comradery with the rest of the folks on the trip too! Lots of laughs.

Todd (November 2023, source: Guide’s web )

Another not to be missed TSX Challenge in the Grand Canyon. What can I say? Great food, great guides, great people, epic trip! Experience an awesome natural wonder millions of years in the making up close; camping under a star-filled night sky with rapids in the background; hiking between shear canyon walls and across vast, seemingly impassable terrain spreading out in all directions before you; soaking in hidden pools. Did I mention the shadow animals? Experience the challenge.

Melinda H (October 2023, source: Guide’s web )

An amazing adventure through the remote North Rim. WAY west of any part of the Grand Canyon that the average backpacker will ever see. It was the perfect balance of challenging trails and relaxing at waterfalls/the Colorado River.

Stephen H (October 2023, source: Guide’s web )

Wonderful trek through a less-traveled part of the Grand Canyon. Great vistas and waterfalls. You spend a good amount of time on all levels and the transitions between them. On the esplanade you get a wide view of the canyon and the night stars. I really enjoyed the short hike beside a slot canyon down to the Colorado River on the off day. Strong recommend.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local backpacking guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 6-day, 5-night Grand Canyon North Rim backpacking adventure, either in the
      • Jumpup Canyon areas or the Thunder River areas — depending on the itinerary chosen
      • Personal backpacking equipment upon request (backpack, sleeping bag and stuff sack, sleeping pad, tent with a rain fly, hiking poles, instep crampons)
      • Group backpacking gear and equipment (cleaning pad and soap, cooking utensils, first aid kit, fuel, large cooking pots, lighters and matches, small shovel, stoves, water carriers, water filters and purification tablets, wire mesh food storage bags)
      • All meals and snacks while in the backcountry
      • Roundtrip transportation between Flagstaff, AZ meeting point and your trailhead

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Flagstaff, AZ
      • Accommodation before (Day 0) and after the trek
      • Guide gratuities
      • Travel and medical insurance — recommended
  • While a basic level of physical fitness and some hiking experience are required, participants range from grade-schoolers to grandparents, and mothers to marines. The key is your commitment to succeed. You should be able to handle daily hikes ranging from 5-10 miles (8-16 km) with elevation changes between 1,000-4,000 feet (300-1,200 m). The objective is to hike around 32 miles (50 km) in 6 days, but often in quite challenging terrain. A fully-loaded pack will weigh between 30-40 lbs (14-18 kg), or 20-25 lbs (9-11 kg) for youth. If that seems fine with you, you’re good to go. If, on the other hand, you think you’re not up to the challenge, you can always prepare in the months leading up to the trip.

  • Absolutely! Beginners with a solid level of fitness are welcome on these Grand Canyon North Rim backpacking trips. All major gear is provided at no extra cost, and all logistics, permits, and group gear are handled. If you have the will, the way will be shown to you, ensuring a positive and supportive experience.

  • Preparation is key to enjoying these Grand Canyon North Rim adventures. Start by building a basic level of physical fitness, focusing on endurance and strength to handle a fully-loaded pack weighing 30-40 lbs (14-18 kg). Practice hiking, preferably in hilly terrain, with a pack, gradually increasing the weight and distance. Join with confidence, knowing full support, scheduled breaks, and guidance are provided to ensure a successful and memorable trek.

  • Personal backcountry equipment will be provided by your guide upon request. If you want to bring your own, you’ll need:

      • External or internal frame pack with belt (60-70L capacity)
      • Sleeping bag and stuff sack
      • Sleeping pad
      • Tent with a rain fly
      • Hiking poles
      • Instep crampons (as conditions warrant)

    Here’s a list of the clothing items you need to bring:

      • Short-sleeve shirts (wear 1 and pack 1)
      • Long-sleeve shirt
      • Warm jacket (fleece or puffy)
      • Underwear (wear 1, pack 2)
      • Hiking pants/leggings
      • Long underwear/thermal top
      • Long underwear bottoms
      • Beanie/knit cap/toque
      • Glove/mitts
      • Bandana
      • Cap or hat with a brim
      • Lightweight rain jacket
      • Swimwear

    Here’s a list of footwear items you need to bring:

      • Lightweight socks (pack 1, wear 1)
      • Comfortable hiking shoes
      • Lightweight camp shoes
      • Moleskin (1 package, wrapper removed)

    Here’s a list of personal items you need to bring:

      • Plastic bowl
      • Plastic cup
      • Spoon or spork
      • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and chapstick
      • Toothbrush and toothpaste
      • Toilet paper and small hand sanitizer
      • Water bottles or hydration bladder (at least 3L capacity in total)
      • Ziplock bags (for used toilet paper)
      • Hairbrush — optional
      • Camera or smartphone (for pictures) — optional
      • Hiking shorts — optional
      • Menstrual products — if applicable
      • Pajamas — optional
      • Personal first aid kit — optional
      • Pocket knife — optional
      • Sports bra — optional

    Group backpacking equipment (as indicated under What’s included?) will be provided by the guide. Make sure to bring clothing appropriate for the season/forecast and for unexpected weather conditions. Your list may be different for different seasons. You’ll be able to discuss your packing list with the guide prior to departure.

  • Campsites during the Grand Canyon North Rim backpacking tours are best described as scenic! That said, you won’t have to worry about camping logistics. If you request a backpack, sleeping bag, or tent, it will be provided and waiting for you at the trailhead — you just have to bring clothing and personal items in a duffel bag. If you’re bringing your own gear, please bring it to the gear check on Day 0 for final arrangements. All group gear, including cooking utensils, first aid kits, stoves, water filters, and more, is covered.

    For main meals, your guides will prepare delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Cooking is a social activity, and your participation and curiosity are always welcome. Dietary preferences/restrictions can usually be accommodated, so please note any specific concerns during booking. There will be hot water and Starbucks Via coffee available each morning, along with a selection of caffeinated and herbal teas, hot chocolate, and spiced cider. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker (more than 2 cups a day), consider bringing extra packets from home.

    Regarding snacks, each hiker will receive a personalized snack bag at the trailhead with energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruit. Feel free to bring a few of your favorite snacks from home, but don’t go overboard.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For these group adventures, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 9:2.

    Backpacking in the North Rim areas of the Grand Canyon can be arranged for private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Flagstaff, the starting point of these adventures, most people fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. Alternatively, you can fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and take a shuttle to Flagstaff.

    Participants are expected to meet their guide at 6pm at the lobby of the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, followed by group orientation and a gear check. We suggest securing a lodging reservation in Flagstaff, AZ as soon as your trek dates are confirmed.

    Since your guide will be hosting a pre-trek orientation at the Little America Hotel and will depart from there on the morning the tour starts, staying there may be a good option (prices range from $125 to $175). The nearby hotels on Lucky Lane are also a popular option and within walking distance (prices typically $75-$105). If you plan on staying somewhere else, just let your guide know where you end up and they’ll do their best to accommodate you.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
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