Rim To Rim Group Backpacking Tour
Level 3: Immersive - Appropriate for athletic families with older kids (teens and above), as well as backpackers with some experience and stamina. Level 3 trips will typically be longer mileage, thus covering more of the Canyon landscape and giving the guest a broader overall experience. These trips will involve mostly well-maintained, but also some unmaintained trails.X
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Total Distance with loaded backpack: 23.5 miles (37.8 km). Elevation loss / gain: -5,761’ / +4,380’ (-1,756 m / +1,336 m)
This trip is only available from May through November. We can however do a Rim to Rim to Rim trip at those other times. Call us to customize a trip like that.
Day 1: North Rim to Cottonwood campground, via North Kaibab trail. 6.8 miles (10.9 km), -4,161’ (-1,268 m), Difficult. Backpackers begin their trip very early in Flagstaff, and travel to the North Kaibab trailhead on the North Rim of Grand Canyon. The steep hike on the upper section of the North Kaibab is highlighted by beautifully streaked Coconino Sandstone, a spectacular passage through the Redwall Limestone, and a view of Roaring Springs as it spills out of its caverns in the Muav Limestone. The fantastic views continue as backpackers follow the creek downhill to the first night's stay and an amazing dinner at Cottonwood campground. En route: potable tap water (seasonal) and enclosed composting toilets available at Supai Tunnel and Pumphouse Residence. At camp: potable tap water (seasonal) and enclosed composting toilets available.
Day 2: Cottonwood campground to Bright Angel campground, via North Kaibab trail. 7.2 miles (11.6 km), -1,600’ (-488 m), Strenuous. After breakfast in camp, backpackers will pack up and continue toward Bright Angel campground, Phantom Ranch, and the Colorado River. Throughout the day, hikers enjoy a gentle downhill grade, and have the opportunity to rest along the way at the famous Ribbon Falls. The last portion of the day's hike is punctuated by a dramatic walk into the Inner Gorge, where 1.7 billion-year-old Vishnu Complex metamorphic rock towers above the trail on both sides. En route: water available in Bright Angel Creek, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; no toilets available. At camp: potable tap water and restrooms available.
Day 3: Bright Angel campground to Indian Garden campground, via River trail and Bright Angel trail. 4.7 miles (7.6 km), +1,320’ (+403 m), Strenuous. After another great breakfast, backpackers will again pack up and cross the River on one of the Park's two bridges, and then begin the day's uphill hike. The trail will lead over riverside sand dunes and up unique corkscrew switchbacks to a hanging valley oasis at Indian Garden. This campground offers day hike opportunities, as well as simple, relaxing shade, picnic tables and lush greenery. Ask your guide for more information. En route: water available in Pipe Creek and Garden Creek below Indian Garden, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; enclosed composting toilets available at River Resthouse. At camp: potable tap water and enclosed composting toilets available.
Day 4: Indian Garden campground to Grand Canyon Village, via Bright Angel trail. 4.8 miles (7.7 km), +3,060’ (+933 m), Strenuous. On the last day, backpackers encounter a challenging steady uphill hike out to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. At the top, our backpacking groups relax near the trailhead and savor their accomplishments over a sandwich and cold refreshment. En route: potable tap water (seasonal) and enclosed composting toilets available at Three Mile Resthouse and Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse.