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To truly appreciate the Grand Canyon’s magnificence, you have to venture below its rim and experience it from within! Starting in Flagstaff, AZ, this 4-day, 3-night backpacking adventure will take us along the remote, rugged, and spectacularly beautiful South Rim in-canyon loop trails near the meandering Colorado River. The best part? You don’t have to worry about a thing! Camp logistics are all sorted, and we’ll even sleep and swim on secluded beaches of the Colorado River! Permits? Taken care of. Backpacking experience? Not necessary. All you need is a love for outdoor adventure and a desire to truly experience the Grand Canyon—beyond the tourist vantage points. Don’t miss this one!

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  • It’s the Grand Canyon!

    Discover rugged and remote parts of the Grand Canyon, hiking along in-canyon loop trails and camping on the banks of the Colorado River

  • Hassle-free experience

    Permits, trailhead transit, backpacking equipment, meals—everything is sorted by your experienced guides

  • Backpacking beginners welcome

    This adventure is open to anyone who loves adventuring and the Grand Canyon—regardless of their backpacking experience

Itinerary

Experience the Grand Canyon like never before with a 4-day, 3-night backpacking adventure starting in Flagstaff, AZ. Hike through remote and rugged South Rim inner-canyon loops near the Colorado River. Enjoy scenic campsites, including secluded river beaches, without worrying about logistics—permits, meals, roundtrip transportation from Flagstaff, and gear are all included. Perfect for all experience levels, this guided tour offers breathtaking views, challenging trails, and a chance to truly immerse yourself in the Grand Canyon’s natural beauty.

  • This Grand Canyon backpacking adventure always takes place in the remote and rugged South Rim inner-canyon loops, regardless of the date. Trails may include variations of the Hermit-Bright Angel loop, Hermit-Boucher loop, and New Hance-Grandview loop, ranging from 22 to 30 miles (35 to 48 km) in total. While the exact distance, camp locations, and direction of each trek may vary depending on the chosen date, here is a representative itinerary to give you a good idea of what your Grand Canyon experience will look like!

  • On the evening before your trek start date, we’ll 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 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 meet in the lobby of Little America Hotel, Flagstaff, at 5am, then head out to the trailhead. Our hike begins with a steep 3,000 ft (914 m) descent toward the Tonto Platform, an inner plateau within the Canyon roughly 1,000 ft (305 m) above the Colorado River. Travel on day one will be slow and methodical as we manage the rugged trail, steep descents, limited access to water, and changing temperatures. Expect 8 to 10 hours of trail time (including breaks) for the 7 to 9 mile (11 to 14 km) day.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

    Backpacker walking along the Tonto Trail, in the Grand Canyon
  • On the second day, the trail typically undulates until we drop below the Tonto’s ledge, above the gorge floor, and into one of the many side canyons and washes that lead to the Colorado River. A quick descent will bring us to a creek bed floor which we will follow out to the Colorado River and camp.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

     

    Hiker hiking near the Hance Rapids, Grand Canyon
  • After a leisurely evening or morning by the river, we’ll retrace our steps and then continue up and onto the Tonto trail. This day typically offers some of the most impressive views of the Grand Canyon. While hiking the Tonto, you can see a thousand feet (305 m) down into the inner gorge, thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) up to the Canyon’s rim, and miles (kilometers) across the Canyon divide within the same breathtaking glance.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

    Spectacular view of the Grand Canyon from the Tonto Platform, seen while on a backpacking tour
  • An early, pre-sunrise start will move us up and into the multi-layered, multi-colored walls of the Grand Canyon as we climb almost 4,000 ft (1,219 m) to exit the trail and return to civilization. After celebrating as a team, we’ll return to Flagstaff, then head home with amazing stories to share.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Tent, backpacking in the Grand Canyon
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Meet your guides

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.
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.
5.00 (7 reviews)
Stephen Brown (April 2024, source: Guiding Company Website)

Any of the TSX Grand Canyon Challenges are going to be absolutely amazing. The routes that TSX will guide you along will leave you speechless as you soak in the magnificent beauty of Grand Canyon National Park. I have had the pleasure of being on two different routes with TSX in the last two years and as an Arizona native, the canyon never fails to impress me. The guides are knowledgeable, engaging, and helpful. You would think that with all the hiking in the canyon that you’re going to lose a few pounds along the way, but you can rest assured that the guides will prepare you meals fit for royalty. I can’t say enough good things about about the TSX Team and their amazing trips into one of the world’s most beautiful places.

Regan (Taco) (November 2023, source: Guiding Company Website)

Grand Canyon trip of a lifetime. My wife and I did the Route with some friends and other team members we met as part of the group. (Go Scorpions) Chris was our guide and made us feel super at ease from the time we met on video preps when he asked us if we wanted our trek to be “spicy” all the way to the final meal on the trip home! The TSX experience started right away with plenty of prep and communication in the months leading up to the trip. My wife and I were prepared for the “hiking” but not gravity of the experience. The route was challenging, beautiful and spiritual. We saw things we would have never seen on our own and learned things about ourselves we would have never learned on our own. The only bad thing is finding the time and choosing what our next TSX adventure will be!

AJ Pascua (October 2023, source: Guiding Company Website)

When I first saw the Grand Canyon as a tourist, I was so amazed. But I’ve also wondered how it looks like below the rim. The Colorado river also piqued my interest. I did a trek with TSX before, so when I saw that they have a Grand Canyon trek, I knew I have to sign up. I know how well planned and organized TSX’s treks are, and this trek was no different. The hike down was a bit challenging and our guide, Dave, keeps saying that it would be easier going back up on last day. I was a bit skeptical but he was right! The trek was better than I expected, the views, the Colorado river, the meals, everything! One advantage of doing a backpacking trip with TSX is meeting new people who are up for adventure. I felt more inspired after getting to know the people on our team, they’re a group of friends/family, and I was just really amazed with their wit, humor and endurance. It was definitely an experience I would never forget and one that I can really say, was worth every step.

Jodi Blanton (October 2023, source: Guiding Company Website)
Jackie Dowden (April 2023, source: Guiding Company Website)

Great guide great group. The hike is challenging but completely doable. Our group was amazing and bonded quickly. Our guide was experienced and shared a great deal of knowledge with the group. Early in the process, the packing list was great and really encapsulates the equipment you will need. Because of the severe winter in the west this year (2023) updates were given regarding the conditions as our trip approached. This made packing for the conditions easy.

Adam Gortowski (May 2024, source: Guiding Company Website)

I am happy to say I survived the challenge. I arrived home from the Grand Canyon Challenge yesterday morning and still have the aches and pains I was expecting. I don’t remember ever sleeping in a tent in my life and had some excellent sleep all 3 nights out on the trail (I actually slept worse in the hotel room the night before the trip). I have never backpacked aside from the little bit of training I did to prepare for the trip. That sentence reminds me to say trek instead of trip, it can be a long fall to the bottom. I had never been to the Grand Canyon or even the desert before, our guide, Tolman put me and the others new to the experience at ease with his knowledge and cool head. I wasn’t sure what to expect concerning the food along the trail, Tolman prepared our meals nearly as tasty as any restaurant anywhere. The Grand Canyon can be an extremely dangerous place, being with the TSX group made me feel more comfortable. I was thinking about my 23-year-old daughter visiting the Grand Canyon and I will insist that she uses the TSX tour group to keep her safe. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it is completely worth the money, time and effort for the amazing sights and experiences to be had. I am so grateful to have accomplished this and this trek was only possible for me thanks to the amazing experience, effort and planning of Tolman and the TSX team.

Justice Harker (March 2024, source: Guiding Company Website)

Completed this trip in March 2024. We had a member of our team who was delayed by one day due to flight issues, yet we still managed to execute our itinerary, with a bonus hike and trip to the Canyon while we waited for him to arrive. TSX went above and beyond to make accommodations to ensure everyone had a rewarding experience. What sets this trip apart is the intangible feeling of achievement upon completion. As a hiker from Texas, this trail tests limits, pushed outside the comfort zone. Everything they said is true. But the reward of hiking the Canyon is spectacular scenery. You will leave with sore muscles, stunning photos, and the kind of stories that no one at home or the office will believe. Pack your sense of adventure (and maybe an extra pair of socks), and get ready to explore the Grand Canyon. Excellent trip. Thanks to the TSX team for executing this!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local backpacking guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 4-day, 3-night Grand Canyon backpacking adventure along South Rim’s inner loops and the Colorado River
      • 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 back-country
      • 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). 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 this Grand Canyon backpacking trip. 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 the Grand Canyon adventure. 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 this Grand Canyon backpacking trip are best described as scenic, offering you the unique opportunity to sleep on the beaches of the Colorado River! 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 this group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 9:2.

    Backpacking in 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 the adventure, 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 of our hike, 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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