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To best serve your needs please include details for your tour in the form below and we will call you at the time you indicate. Our private tour specialists are available by phone Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm Arizona Time and you are welcome to give us a call during those hours. If you are inquiring outside of those hours or prefer email communication, then the information you provide below will start the process right away.
To begin the reservation process please fill out the form below. Reserving a group backpacking trip via the form below will hold a spot for you but does not guarantee your reservation. In order to complete your reservation a payment must be made. Our private tour specialists are available by phone Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm Arizona Time, you are welcome to give us a call during those hours to complete your reservation. The form contains a place to indicate the best time to call you back and our private tour specialists will be happy to call you back at that time as well.
All-Star Grand Canyon Tours, Inc.
2420 N. 3rd St., Suite D
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
International/Local: 928-814-8887 or Toll Free: 800-940-0445
tours@allstargrandcanyontours.com

Private Backpacking Tours

For hikers who are looking for a customized private backpacking tour exclusively for their family and friends, All-Star Grand Canyon Tours offers private tours in all permitted areas of Grand Canyon National Park and throughout the Southwest. Hiking and backpacking with All-Star on a private basis offers a unique experience. Our backpacking and private tour specialists create customized itineraries to accommodate and cater to your dream vacation.

*To view information click titles and content will expand*

Overview

Our backpacking and private tour specialists can create a customized itinerary for your Grand Canyon backpacking tour, created exclusively for your group, and accommodating your specific preferences and expectations.

Private backpacking may include the following custom options:

  • Dates, destinations, and itineraries
  • Remote destinations and trails
  • Menu items and dietary preferences
  • Lodging arrangements
  • Mule duffle services to Phantom Ranch/Bright Angel campground
  • Specialty activities (rafting, team-building, canyoneering)

Our owners and guides are experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate professionals who specialize in crafting and leading unforgettable Grand Canyon backpacking tours. All planning and permitting, cuisine, and gear is included and prepared for guests ahead of time.

What to Expect

All-Star Grand Canyon Tours' top priority is providing the best guides and gear for backpacking trips:

  • high quality clean gear, including backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and pads, trekking poles, and water bottles
  • Backpacks that are selected according to gender and size of the hiker
  • tents are available in 1, 2 and 3 person sizes
  • We provide sleeping pads and bags with appropriate temperature ratings, according to the season
  • all kitchen equipment and utensils
  • water filtration and purification, and backcountry first aid kits
  • Most importantly, All-Star Grand Canyon Tours prepares and serves the finest backcountry cuisine available, customized for your preferences, as well as abundant energy-sustaining snacks and drinks for trail travel and between meals.

What you Provide

While we provide all meals and gear for an enjoyable trip, we ask all of our backpacking guests invest time and energy in preparing physically for their Grand Canyon backpacking trip. Hikers can expect to carry a backpack that weighs between 25 and 60 pounds. All-Star Grand Canyon Tours offers the option of hiring a "porter" or "sherpa", for an additional fee. A porter is an additional staff member who is hired on a tour for the sole purpose of carrying extra weight.

Keeping in mind that you carry your own weight, here is a list of things you provide for yourself:

Essentials

  • Hiking Boots (make sure they are broken in)
  • Wide Brimmed Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals for camp and water crossings
  • 1 pair of high quality wicking socks/ day
  • 1 pair of undergarments/ day
  • Sun block SPF 30+ (no large bottles)

Personal Items

  • Camera
  • Film
  • Toiletries (Only bring travel sized items, and bring only what you need)
  • Lip balm

Warm Season Clothing

  • Light colored T-shirts (at least 1 per 2 days, no more than 1 per day)
  • Shorts (one pair is enough)
  • Light colored long sleeved shirt
  • Windbreaker
  • Wool hat (essential for all seasons)

Cool Season Clothing

  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • *Layers*
  • Synthetic Clothing (polypro, fleece)
  • Thermal underwear
  • Long pants and shirt
  • Rain jacket/ waterproof shell
  • Rain pants/ wind pants

Backpacking Meals

We provide all meals for private backpacking trips, from an early continental or local restaurant breakfast on the first day, to lunch at the end of the trip on the last day. We also pack a variety of energy-sustaining snacks for trail travel and between meals. Our meals are second to none, using fresh, organic, and local ingredients as often as possible. Our menus have been developed and perfected to provide the finest backcountry cuisine that is fully customizable according to our guests' preferences and dietary needs. Special food requests such as Kosher and gluten-free can be accommodated for.

How it all Works

Submit a reservation inquiry through our contact form or just give us a call. Our backpacking specialists will promptly respond via e-mail or telephone and provide courteous, knowledgable service. Our personal tour planners maintain contact throughout the planning process to answer questions and to help ensure that hikers are well-prepared for their Grand Canyon backpacking trip. We take care of everything so relax and let us know what your dream backpacking experience looks like and we will make it a reality.

Planning for a backpacking trip requires a backcountry (camping) permit application that must be submitted to the proper authorities several months in advance to ensure the best chances of securing the correct permits. Please start planning your vacation and contact us as far in advance as possible so that we can take care of all these processes for you.

Have a look at our group tour descriptions for an idea of what we can plan for you on a custom private basis.

Grand Canyon Permit Process

Grand Canyon Backpacking Permit Process

Every overnight camping/backpacking trip requires a permit from the appropriate management agency. See below for specific information regarding backpacking permits in Grand Canyon National Park. All-Star Grand Canyon Tours will take care of all the details necessary to apply for a permit, but we provide the following information so our guests can better understand the process.

The National Park Service manages overnight use throughout Grand Canyon National Park by requiring permits for all overnight users. This means that any visitor who wants to take part in a backpacking trip into Grand Canyon must first acquire a permit, issued by the National Park Service. This is true for private backpacking trips or guided commercial tours. The National Park Service has limits on the number of overnight visitors allowed in any particular campground or camping area inside of Grand Canyon. Since Grand Canyon is an extremely popular backcountry destination, this usually creates intense competition for the most popular areas and seasons in the park.

To increase chances of securing permits for guests, All-Star always recommends less crowded areas of Grand Canyon. The most sought-after campgrounds are those along the three "corridor trails": Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, and North Kaibab Trail. These corridor trails, aside from being the most popular with dayhikers and backpackers, are also the only trails that can be combined for the classic "Rim-to-Rim" hike. The most popular seasons for backpacking at Grand Canyon National Park are spring (March through May) and fall (September and October). Summer (June through August) is by far the busiest tourist season at Grand Canyon, but the extreme temperatures inside of the Canyon (regularly over 110 F) are not ideal conditions for backpacking tours. Winter (November through February) is generally the easiest season to secure a permit for a tour almost anywhere in the park.

Grand Canyon National Park permits are limited to 6 people (small group) and 11 people (large group), and there is generally much more availability for small groups than large groups. Permits become available four months in advance, and applications for permits are accepted via fax or in person. Because of the common high demand for backpacking permits, it is always best to submit these permit applications at the earliest possible opportunity--which is the first of the month, four months prior to the proposed month for the tour. See the table below for the permit application schedule:


Hikes during the month of: Earliest Date for Permit Request: Itinerary should to be finalized & down payment made by:
January September 1 August 15th
February October 1 September 15th
March November 1 October 15th
April December 1 November 15th
May January 1 December 15th
June February 1 January 15th
July March 1 February 15th
August April 1 March 15th
September May 1 April 15th
October June 1 May 15th
November July 1 June 15th
December August 1 July 15th

When it comes to backpacking permits for Grand Canyon National Park, there is no preferential treatment for commercial tour companies over private applicants. All applications received are treated equally. As a result, All-Star Grand Canyon Tours can never guarantee a particular itinerary, although we will always do everything we can to secure a permit that guests will be pleased with.

All-Star Grand Canyon Tours can also apply for backpacking permits that are less than four months in the future. These "short notice" permit applications however, are far less likely to be successful, as most of the availability for campgrounds and campsites may already be taken. In these cases, All-Star encourages potential guests to consider joining an existing group backpacking tour, or consider suitable second and third choices for tour dates and itineraries.

In order to submit a backpacking permit application on behalf of potential guests, All-Star requires the following information:

  • Tentative number of guests in the group
  • Names, addresses, phone and e-mail information for each member of the group
  • Tour deposit ($100 per person for group tours, $500 per group for private tours)
  • For more information on our backpacking tour terms and conditions, click here.

Weather Conditions

Month
South Rim
Inner Canyon
North Rim
Hi/ Low
Hi/ Low
Hi/ Low
January
41/ 19
62/ 37
37/ 16
February
45/ 18
60/ 35
39/ 18
March
53/ 26
72/ 47
44/ 21
April
60/ 34
80/ 58
59/ 23
May
70/ 40
91/ 64
62/ 34
June
76/ 54
105/ 75
73/ 40
July
80/ 60
107/ 77
77/ 46
August
80/ 54
110/ 74
75/ 45
September
74/ 48
98/ 67
69/ 39
October
62/ 35
85/ 59
59/ 31
November
50/ 28
69/ 45
46/ 24
December
42/ 20
64/ 38
40/ 20

Grand Canyon is the greatest of the deep stone canyons of the Colorado Plateau; a land of extremes, especially when related to temperatures. When planning a backpacking or hiking trip in Grand Canyon National park, temperatures must be considered. The Inner Canyon can get hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit mid summer, and the South and North Rims differ so greatly in temperature they are two different ecosystems. From rim to river, the elevation change averages 5,000 feet and the temperature difference can be as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This accounts for a wide variation in weather and temperature when Backpacking Grand Canyon National Park. All-Star Grand Canyon Tours is owned and staffed by experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, and professional backpacking guides. We provide season appropriate gear and itineraries for our guided backpacking trips.

Grand Canyon Trails

All-Star Grand Canyon Tours leads day hiking tours and backpacking tours in Grand Canyon in a group setting or as a fully customizable private tour. We would love to design a tour just for you. Some of the trails we use are listed below. Click the trail names below to expand details about that particular trail. There are also links to detailed histories and National Park service brochures about each trail. This list is not exhaustive, so if a place you want to go is not listed... please inquire!

We also have an interactive Google map with many of the trails marked so you can look at them via satellite imagery or topographical maps.

Corridor Trails

The "Big Three" trails of the main corridor are regularly and intensively maintained. This is in part to accommodate the high concentration of visitors to the National Park, and to meet standards for regular mule traffic. These trails are clearly defined with a generally smoother tread. They are however, still steep and rugged, and may be the most difficult hiking that many people will ever experience

Bright Angel

The Bright Angel Trail is Grand Canyon's most popular hiking trail. One reason for this is because its beginning is located right in the Village at South Rim. What most people do not realize is that the Village is there because of the trail, rather than the other way around.

Today's Bright Angel Trail is a modern and well-maintained version of a route that has been used by humans for thousands of years to access wild game, perennial water, and arable land within the Canyon, and in fact, Havasupai families made their homes at the area known as Indian Garden as recently as the 1920s.

Since the early days of Grand Canyon tourism, when local legends like Pete Berry and Ralph Cameron were getting their start, the Bright Angel has been used as a major thoroughfare, leading hikers and mule-riders into the Canyon to places like Indian Garden and Phantom Ranch. The tourism potential of the Bright Angel is what lured the Santa Fe Railroad, and ultimately led to development of the Grand Canyon Village into the tourist destination it is today.

For more information visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_brightangeltrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Bright_Angel_Trail.pdf

South Kaibab

The South Kaibab Trail (originally referred to as the Yaki Trail or Tillotson's Trail), is one of the three well-maintained corridor trails at Grand Canyon National Park. It is a popular and famous trail, because of the overwhelming views available almost throughout its length and the "ridge walk" route that it follows down to the Colorado River.

The South Kaibab is different from almost all other established trails at the Canyon, in that it is not a modern version of ancient Canyon routes. Rather, this unique trail is the product of the years-long power struggle between the National Park Service and Ralph Cameron, a legendary local business entrepreneur.

Since his prospecting days, Cameron held control of the Bright Angel Trail, which he developed into the only trail that offered access to the bottom of the Canyon, the Colorado River, and the burgeoning tourist destination that came to be known as Phantom Ranch. After a number of failed attempts to wrest that control away from Cameron, the Park Service eventually decided to simply bypass the Bright Angel and construct its own Rim-to-River path just a few miles to the east.

Today, the South Kaibab is a major thoroughfare for hikers and mule-riders.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_southkaibabtrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/South_Kaibab_Trail.pdf

North Kaibab

The North Kaibab Trail, as the third corridor trail and the only maintained trail that leads from the North Rim to the Colorado River, is a perennial favorite because of its varied scenery and dramatic construction.

Around the same time as the completion of the South Kaibab Trail in 1925, the National Park Service, in the interest of increasing tourist development and consolidating their influence over that area of the Canyon, began construction on what is now the North Kaibab Trail. This trail replaced what locals called the "Old Bright Angel" Trail, which is not at all related to today's South Rim Bright Angel Trail, but was referred to as such because it followed the Bright Angel Fault and Bright Angel Creek from the North Rim to the Colorado River. This old trail was never really formalized or fully constructed, and involved miles of nightmarish bushwhacking and nearly 100 stream crossings.

Today's North Kaibab Trail begins near the North Rim Lodge, ranger station, and other facilities located at Bright Angel Point. The trail descends through Roaring Springs Canyon, past the water source for North and South Rim facilities, down Bright Angel Canyon, and ultimately terminating at Phantom Ranch. The Black Bridge and Silver Bridge then make it possible to easily cross the Colorado River and continue on the South Kaibab or Bright Angel Trail for completion of a Rim-to-Rim trip.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_northkaibabtrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/North_Kaibab_Trail.pdf

Threshold & Primitive Trails

Threshold trails have been occasionally improved and maintained in the past and have simply fallen into some degree of disrepair over time. The trails are still generally well-defined, but with more rocky/rough/narrow tread that is sometimes steeper than that of a corridor trail.

Primative trails are generally remote, deserted, and have seen very little maintenance or improvement since the prospector days of the late 19th century. As a result, they are often poorly defined, have lose footing, and include sections that can be extremely steep, rough, exposed, or otherwise very difficult.

Hermit

The Hermit trail was once the finest and most modern example of trail design and construction anywhere in the Grand Canyon. Like almost every designated trail in Grand Canyon, the Hermit generally follows ancient routes used by wildlife and Native Americans to access water, wild game, and/or arable land.

Financed by the Santa Fe Railway to access the interior of the Canyon and a planned commercial tourist camp, the Hermit trail exhibits thoughtful planning and excellent craftsmanship (most notably along the Coconino switchbacks). Much of this quality construction has held up extremely well, particularly considering that the trail has not been comprehensively maintained since it was abandoned by the Santa Fe more than 80 years ago.

Today, the Hermit is a popular alternative to the more heavily-traveled corridor trails, although it is a much more rugged and challenging trail than any of those three maintained trails.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_hermittrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Hermit_Trail.pdf

Grandview

The Grandview trail is a perennial favorite for Canyon regulars, and an enduring testament to the toughness of the miner, tourism entrepreneur, and local legend Peter Berry. This trail is similar to the South Kaibab in that it does not follow preexisting and prehistoric routes. However, instead of having major resources at their disposal like the Park Service building the South Kaibab trail, Pete Berry and his early mining partners scratched out, blasted out, and built up a trail where craftsmanship and bold routing will still grab a hiker's attention today.

Originally intended only as access to the mining claims that yielded the rich copper veins of the Last Chance Mine, the Grandview soon became something of a tourist attraction where Berry and other miners doubled as tour guides. The constant flow of donkeys laden with ore sacks was somewhat displaced by tourist traffic, until the whole area was mostly abandoned around 1913.

Today's Grandview has seen some replacement and maintenance by the Park Service, but still retains the very rugged and challenging characteristics from its mining origins.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_grandviewtrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Grandview_Trail.pdf

New Hance

The New Hance is considered by many sources to be the most difficult established South Rim trail at Grand Canyon. "Captain" John Hance, after giving up on his washout-prone "old" Hance trail, constructed this "new" trail around 1894. By 1907, Hance had shifted his focus to the tourism traffic at the new Grand Canyon South Rim Village further to the west, where he shared his unique mix of experiences and fabrications that made him such an enduring historical figure. His trail was slowly abandoned over the next several years, and has hardly ever seen any Park Service maintenance at all.

Today, the New Hance is an exercise in mental toughness, physical strength, and keen attentiveness, plunging 4,500 feet (1,370 m) in less than 7 miles (11 km) from Rim to River. Hikers proceed with caution.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_newhancetrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/New_Hance_Trail.pdf

Tanner

Named for the prospector and Mormon scout Seth Tanner, this trail is the easternmost established South Rim trail at Grand Canyon. At nearly ten miles (16 km) in length, it is also the longest established Rim to River trail. With its lack of a single water source for the entire length and its deteriorated and unmaintained condition, it is recommended for experienced backpackers only.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_tannertrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Tanner_Trail.pdf

Boucher

This trail is one of a number of routes improved and maintained for a time by the Hermit himself -- Louis Boucher. Boucher, an immigrant from Quebec, was one of the early prospectors at Grand Canyon. All things "hermit" at the South Rim of Grand Canyon (Hermit trail, Hermit Creek, Hermit's Rest, etc.) are named for him, even though he never referred to himself as such. Throughout his time at Grand Canyon as both prospector and tourist entrepreneur, Boucher had dealings with numerous tourists and regional historic figures like Daniel Hogan, the Cameron and Kolb brothers and Pete Berry. Today's Boucher trail branches off of the modern Hermit trail, but is in an even worse unmaintained condition.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_bouchertrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Boucher_Trail.pdf

South Bass

William Wallace Bass is a memorable historic Grand Canyon figure, not only because of his very cool name, but also because he was one of the most prolific trail builders of the prospecting and early tourism era at Grand Canyon. His North and South Bass trails, connected by a suspended cable crossing that he built over the Colorado River, offered the very first Rim-to-Rim trail passage at the Canyon. Today, the South Bass has benefited from rehabilitation and some re-routing of significant stretches by the Park Service. However, it is still a less popular trail because of its ruggedness and difficulty, and because of its remote location several miles west of Hermit's Rest.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_southbasstrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/South_Bass_Trail.pdf

Tonto

The Tonto trail is the longest trail within Grand Canyon by far, slithering and contouring, mostly atop the Tonto Platform, for over 80 miles. The Tonto is the modern homogenized version of routes that prehistoric peoples used to travel long lateral distances within the Canyon. The broad Tonto Platform, whose foundation is the relatively resistant Tapeats Sandstone, provided this thoroughfare for early humans, and later for livestock, and then for touring visitors. Today's Tonto trail is typically utilized as a connector between any of the South Rim's Rim-to-River trails, allowing for a variety of "loop" itineraries that can last for several days.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_tontotrail.html

North Bass

As with most established trails that extend from the North Rim to the Colorado River, the North Bass is much longer than almost any South Rim trail. This is due primarily to the tilt and attendant erosion of the geologic strata in this area of the Colorado Plateau. In other words, tributaries on the north side of the River are longer than those on the south side, and therefore, the trails are too.

After Bill Bass completed his South Bass trail in the late 1890s, he decided to extend his route all the way to the North Rim. This northern extension, connected to his South Bass trail by a suspended cable crossing over the Colorado River, offered the very first Rim-to-Rim trail passage at the Canyon. A Rim-to-Rim is no longer possible here, as the cable has since been dismantled. Despite receiving attention from Park Service trail crews in recent years, the North Bass is still extremely rugged, difficult, and long. For strong and experienced backpackers only.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_northbasstrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/North_Bass_Trail.pdf

Thunder River

The Thunder River trail is a surprisingly modern addition to the Grand Canyon landscape, although it does of course, trace preexisting routes that have been used for thousands of years. The route was exploited by Mormon cattlemen beginning in the 1870s, but only formally constructed by Park Service trail crews and completed in the late 1930s. The Thunder River trail has seen an increase in popularity in recent years, mostly because of the incredible features revealed to visitors at Deer Creek and Thunder River itself. However the trail's difficulty, length, lack of water, and remoteness discourage many would-be attempts.

For more information, visit:

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimtoriverandinnercanyon_thunderrivertrail.html

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Thunder_River_Trail.pdf

Nankoweap

Commissioned for construction by Major John Wesley Powell himself in the 1880s, the Nankoweap is officially recognized as the most difficult designated trail at Grand Canyon. This remote trail in the eastern Grand Canyon has it all: fascinating geology and history ... but also lack of water, mandatory route-finding, perceived exposure, actual dangerous exposure, extreme steepness of the trail, and incredible elevation loss and overall trail length. For strong and experienced backpackers only.

For more information:

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Nankoweap_Trail.pdf

Payment and Cancellation Policies

All-Star Grand Canyon Tours has a three-step payment policy. 1) A $500 per group deposit reserves space on the desired tour. (This deposit is fully refundable if All-Star Grand Canyon Tours cannot secure the backcountry permits for the desired tour.) 2) 50% of the total trip cost is due at the time we secure a permit. 3) The balance of the trip cost is due 30 days prior to the trip launch date.

Should backpackers need to postpone or cancel a trip, they may transfer to another available date that is within twelve months of the original trip, with the understanding that this transfer may again be subject to the applicable permitting processes.

Hikers who cancel at least 30 days prior to trip departure will receive a full refund, minus the $500 per group deposit. Guests who cancel within 30 days will receive a 50% refund of the total trip cost.

For backpacker's protection and due to the unpredictable nature of adventure travel All-Star recommends purchasing basic trip insurance such as InsureMyTrip.com

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All-Star Grand Canyon Tours Inc. ®
2420 N. 3rd st. Suite D
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

(928) 814-8887
1-800-940-0445

email us

All-Star Grand Canyon Tours Inc. offers luxury, eco-friendly, full service Private Grand Canyon and Four Corners guided tours; as well as the best Daily Grand Canyon Tours and hikes from Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan, Grand Canyon Village, and Sedona. We are located in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona and operate in the Grand Canyon and Four Corners region of the Southwestern, United States.

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