May through November
Up to 5 people
Intermediate to advanced
The magic of the Grand Canyon lies below the rim
Over 270 miles long and more than 6,000 feet deep, Grand Canyon National Park is undoubtedly one of the most majestic places in the world. People from around the globe come in droves just to stand on the edge of its precipice and marvel at the sublime beauty below — yet few of them dare to witness it up close. This tasking but immensely rewarding four-day rim-to-rim hike will allow you to do just that, as it takes you through five different ecosystems endowed with abundant wildlife and over countless layers of rock formations that tell a story two billion years in the making.
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Rim-to-Rim Backpacking Trip
This is the classic 24-mile hike on many backpackers’ bucket lists. The tour starts on the cooler North Rim and descends down to the canyon floor on the North Kaibab Trail. From there, you’ll hike along Bright Angel Creek to the Cottonwood Campground and stay for your first night. Other stops along the way include the Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River, then Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden. Finally, you’ll hike to Plateau Point before resuming your hike out of the canyon via the South Rim.
As you descend 6,000 feet into the vast depths of the canyon, you will be moving through spans of geologic time, witnessing the Earth’s aging before your very eyes. With its diverse life zones, terrain shifting from riparian zones to desert scrubland and boreal forest, the Grand Canyon is pure sensory overload. This four-day hike will have you feeling the miles in your legs, but the mesmerizing scenery will make it all worthwhile. Popular sights like Roaring Springs and Ribbon Falls, the historic Phantom Ranch or the stunning sunset seen from Plateau Point are just some of the many highlights on this journey.
- Meet in Flagstaff, Arizona
- Drive four hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
- Hike seven miles through dense conifer forest and Sonoran Desert, past Redwall limestone and Roaring Springs
- Reach Cottonwood Campground and make camp for the night
- Break camp and hike another seven miles down to Bright Angel Campground, with a side hike to Ribbon Falls. The camp is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, adjacent to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch.
- After a hearty breakfast, pack up and make an early departure for the Bright Angel Trail.
- Proceed along the Colorado River and up Pipe Creek until arriving at Garden Creek.
- From there, hike upstream to Indian Garden
- Reach the nearby Indian Garden Campground and set up camp for the night
- On our last night in the Grand Canyon, you’ll hike to Plateau Point, enjoying the sunset at one of the most spectacular viewpoints you’ll ever experience
- Enjoy a casual morning breakfast before continuing the scenic ascent to the South Rim via the Bright Angel Trail
- Exit the Grand Canyon and take an hour and a half drive back to Flagstaff
Please keep in mind, despite best efforts to stick to a set itinerary, plans can occasionally change based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
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Things you need to know
Covid measures in the Grand Canyon
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Grand Canyon please refer to the Arizona Office of Tourism.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- A professional, knowledgeable, medically-trained wilderness guide
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
- Meals from breakfast the first day through to lunch on the last day
- Use of trekking poles
- Roundtrip transportation to and from your hotel in Flagstaff
- Entrance fees and national park permits
- Emergency first-aid kit
How fit do I need to be?
This four-day rim-to-rim traversal will pose a challenge even to avid adventurers. You need to be able to hike four to seven miles per day while carrying a full daypack. Due to its length (24 miles), change in elevation (up to 4,000 feet in a single day) and temperatures prone to dramatic swings, this trip is suited for intermediate and advanced hikers. To ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, you should consider yourself healthy and active before taking on this challenge. If the trek is too difficult, there are plenty of less strenuous Grand Canyon hikes to get started on.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Daypack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35L bag)
- Three 1L water bottles
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots
- Rain gear
- Non-cotton and cotton clothing layers
- Hiking socks
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
What can I expect from hiking with a guide?
Hiring a local guide gives you the opportunity to experience the Grand Canyon in all its glory. Local guides will show you the hidden gems the area has to offer, explain the history and geology of the site, and will customize your day to the desires of your group. Because there is so much to see and experience in Grand Canyon National Park, this is one location where it really pays to have a guide by your side to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Why should I book with 57hours?
With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.
What is the minimum age requirement?
- Anyone over the age of 12 can join this hiking tour
- Children between the ages of 5 and 12 may join this hiking tour, but only on a case-by-case basis
If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 12, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements. If you do plan to hike with minors, please keep in mind that this is a four-day, 24-mile backcountry excursion.
What about group sizes and pricing?
The standard group size on this Grand Canyon backpacking trip is five guests and one guide, with a maximum of nine guests and two guides. Pricing is per person.
If your hiking group has more than five people, contact us to make arrangements.
What about bad weather?
Tours are scheduled to fit with the Grand Canyon’s ideal hiking season and will run in most weather conditions. As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation,” so make sure you bring the right gear. Inclement weather can always pose a challenge, but your guide will be prepared for anything and will know the best spots to move to if the weather takes a turn.
On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your hiking tour to a more favorable day.
If it is not possible to hike on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.
Do I need an insurance policy?
It’s highly recommended that you cover all your bases with travel and medical insurance. While hiking might seem like a low-risk outdoor activity, accidents can happen anywhere and we recommend insurance to avoid paying out of pocket for costly medical expenses. And as we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to have cancellation insurance that also covers lost baggage. It’s tried and tested and it works.
With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.
For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.
For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.
Getting there and meeting location
- Most people fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is a two-hour drive from Flagstaff, AZ, where most people stay. Flagstaff is only a 90-minute scenic drive away from the Grand Canyon.
- You will meet your guide for orientation the evening before your trip in Flagstaff, AZ, at the Little America Hotel or at your accommodations. Your guide will then pick you up the next morning for transport to the trailhead.