We meet at 8am this morning at our host hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. After introductions and a brief orientation, we’re on our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. En route, we stretch our legs at some of our favorite regional highlights, including Cameron Trading Post and Navajo Bridge. Once on the North Rim we set up camp and enjoy a tasty meal before heading to bed early in preparation for our first day on the trail. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: 1–2.5 miles, Elevation gain: minimal; Van transfer: 6–7 hours (broken up with stops along the way)
We begin our trip into the canyon along the North Kaibab trail. Our 4,161' descent takes us through almost every single ecosystem found in North America and offers an opportunity to study thousands of years of natural history. Along its steep and winding path we take our time to enjoy a treasure trove of spectacular panoramic views. Finally, after a full day on the trail we retire in the shadow of the spectacular North Rim canyon walls at Cottonwood Campground. All meals included.
Backpacking: 6.8 miles, Elevation loss: 4,161'
Cutting through the heart of the Grand Canyon is the mighty Colorado River, which for many is a destination all by itself. Today we get a face-to-face introduction to the Colorado as it continues its 1,450-mile journey to the Sea of Cortez. After a day of exploring the abundant natural and cultural history of the canyon we spend this evening relaxing under the stars at Bright Angel campground. All meals included.
Backpacking: 7.2 miles, Elevation loss: 1,600'
We start the day with a visit to the historic Phantom Ranch. For those interested, we can write and send postcards from the famed outpost, which will be carried out of the canyon by mule. Later, we cross the Colorado via the Silver Bridge, which takes us from the north side of the canyon to the south. Passage over the bridge provides a significant milestone in our journey. It also gives us a close-up view of one of the most important engineering accomplishments within the Grand Canyon: the Transcanyon Water Pipeline. As we start our ascent up Bright Angel, we encounter the infamous Devil’s Corkscrew, an impressive set of switchbacks that snake through picturesque desert terrain. We finish the day with a relaxing evening at Indian Garden Campground. All meals included.
Backpacking: 4.7–8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,320'–2320'/-1,000'; Optional hike to Plateau Point: 3 miles
We rise early to take advantage of the cool temperatures and morning shade. Our first mile of trail offers a gentle slope; a perfect warm-up to the day. We then make our way up Jacob’s Ladder, a series of tight switchbacks winding through the stunning Redwall Limestone which Grand Canyon National Park is famous for. A breather at Three-Mile Rest House provides the perfect stop for last-minute reflections. Finally, as we reach the South Rim a wave of emotion and relief washes over us. We’ve done it! We celebrate our enormous accomplishment with a well-earned lunch along the South Rim before making our way back to Scottsdale for our final farewells.
We estimate arriving back in Scottsdale at about 5:30pm today. But please note this time may vary depending on group pace, trail conditions, weather, traffic and other factors beyond our control. To be safe, do not book travel out of the Scottsdale/Phoenix area until after 8pm today. Breakfast and lunch included.
Backpacking: 4.8 miles, Elevation gain: 3,060'; Van transfer: 3–4 hours