Grand Canyon Hiking – Lodge-based

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$2,139 for REI Members
$2,339 for non-members
Departures Jul 2022-Nov 2022

Immerse yourself in the history and visual spectacle of Grand Canyon National Park and the red rocks of Sedona. Enjoy unforgettable hikes with expert guides, then relax in cozy park lodging perched on the edge of the canyon’s South Rim.

There’s no greater icon to the Southwest’s beauty and mystery than the Grand Canyon. In addition to being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, this 277-mile-long panorama-maker houses geology’s and human history’s grandest secrets. It takes an explorer at heart to not just see the Grand Canyon but to truly experience it, and once it’s in your heart it will remain there forever.

Spend four days on a quest to understand a place older than dinosaurs—discover fossils, relax by a natural spring, journey viewpoint-to-viewpoint along the canyon rim, and hike among the oldest exposed stones on the planet. Your guides will assure a carefree weekend, with carefully curated hiking routes and plenty of choose-your-own adventure options to make this vacation fit any wish. From the hiker hungry for miles, to the historian craving stories of adventure, to the romantic seeking a quiet corner with nothing but atmosphere between them and the horizon, this captivating itinerary will not disappoint.

Wide, dusty trails switchback into the depths of the largest canyon on earth, just steps from National Park rim-side lodging .

Trip Highlights

  • National Park lodging with canyon-view rooms
  • Hike below the rim and visit famous landmarks such as Ooh-Ahh Point, Hopi Point and Hermit’s Rest
  • Dine in the famous El Tovar Dining Room
  • As an official Dark Sky Park, stargazing the Milky Way is truly breathtaking
  • Hike the red rocks of Sedona and visit the House of Apache Fire

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be in very good physical condition and be comfortable with daily hikes of up to 6 miles with elevation gains/losses of up to 2,100'. Hiking trails are composed of dirt, rock and sand with some steep sections and exposed overlooks. All hikes are optional and our guides will brief trip members on the vigorousness and exposure of each hike prior to setting out.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Three nights hotel accommodations; guide leadership; round trip van transportation from/to Phoenix, Arizona; all meals as noted on the daily itinerary; park fees and local taxes.

Accommodations

Hotel, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Grand Canyon Hiking – Lodge-based
Day 1

Meet in Phoenix and hike the red rocks of Sedona

Our trip begins today in Scottsdale, AZ, the blue-sky, fair-weather tourism hub of the Sonoran Desert. Here we meet our guides and fellow travelers in the lobby of our host hotel for introductions and a quick orientation before traveling to beautiful Sedona. En route, we watch the landscape change from low desert to high, say goodbye to saguaro cactus and hello to pinion pine, and make our way to Red Rock State Park. The rolling trails and stunning red rock views Sedona is known for are at their best here, as we bridge meandering creeks and watch for javelina crossing our paths. We enjoy an al fresco lunch before journeying farther north, into the cool pine-covered elevations of canyon country. Our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon is unforgettable and allows us an up-close understanding of how geology created such a fascinating spectacle. Tonight, we check into our rim-side lodge where every room has a view of the canyon, and meet back up for dinner at the lively and historic Fred Harvey Tavern. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 2.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 230’; Van transfer: 4.5 hours

Day 2

Hike Bright Angel Trail and enjoy dark sky viewing

After breakfast together, we don our hiking boots and hit the trail. Bright Angel Trail was originally a toll route, traversed by the likes of President Teddy Roosevelt and others who wished to reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Set along a natural fault line that can been seen running trans canyon, the unending switchbacks escort us back in geologic time 10,000 years at a time. In just 3 miles we descend more than 2,100 feet in elevation, or about halfway down the canyon. Here we take in the view at the top of the Redwall Limestone layer, a spry 335 million years in age (older than the oldest known dinosaur). We enjoy a picnic lunch and learn about John Wesley Powell’s exploration and mapping of the Grand Canyon in 1869 before we make the challenging trek back to the rim.

This afternoon, you can choose to go your own way and explore the Shrine of the Ages, the Grand Canyon Village, or a ranger-led program. Your guide will offer a hike on the outstanding East Rim Trail along the Trail of Time, an interesting layer-by-layer look at the dozens of rock types that make up the canyon. Tonight, we dine together before an optional night sky viewing led by our guides in one of the world’s official International Dark Sky Parks, where our view of the stars is specially protected for our enjoyment. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 2,102’; Optional additional hikes: 2–4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 500’

Day 3

Descend South Kaibab Trail and enjoy dinner at El Tovar

We rise to the promise of a day filled with some of the most scenic miles the Grand Canyon has to offer. After breakfast, we ride the park shuttle to Yaki Point, the start of the famous South Kaibab Trail. While the Bright Angel Trail follows a fault line, the South Kaibab was carved from a prominent ridgeline and affords us nearly 360-degree views of the widest part of the canyon. A favorite stop is Ooh-Ahh Point, aptly named. Don’t forget your camera. We continue down the manmade stairs on this well-maintained trail to Cedar Ridge and on to Skeleton Point. Here we get our first glimpse of the Colorado River, the powerful force behind the carving of the canyon itself, and the life-giving artery of the southwestern U.S. After returning to the rim, we again have the option to explore the canyon as desired, with various shopping or hiking options available, including a trek along the West Rim Trail to Hopi Point, one of the best views on the South Rim. Tonight, we dust off for a celebratory dinner in the famed El Tovar Dining Room. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 2,060’; Optional additional hikes: 1.5–3 miles, Elevation gain/loss: Up to 250’

Day 4

Bike or hike along the canyon rim to Hermit’s Rest before journeying back to Phoenix

For early birds or YOLO enthusiasts, our guides offer an optional sunrise walk out to Trailview Overlook, where we face east into the rising sun while the Bright Angel Trail meanders beneath our viewing platform. Breakfast is on your own today to allow you to set your own pace on our final morning at the Grand Canyon. Today, we explore the lesser-known Hermit’s Rest area, either on foot or by bike—your choice! Cyclists will be able to rent their own hybrid or electric bike and tour the Hermit’s Rest route in style. Hikers will ride the park shuttle out to Hermit’s Rest, a unique building designed by influential architect Mary Jane Colter in 1914, and hike the rim trail back toward the heart of the village. Our hiking route today takes in eight viewpoints, each more stunning than the last. And with regular shuttle stops along the way, we can travel at our own speed and never worry about being on time.

This afternoon we say farewell to the canyon, having visited its most popular trails and navigating to our own secret spots over the past four days. We’ll journey south, from pine to cactus, and return to our host hotel in Scottsdale between 6:00–6:30pm, including a stop at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) for those who have flights out tonight. All meals included.

Hiking (optional): Up to 9.8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: Minimal; Biking (optional and on own): Up to 18.6 miles; Van transfer: 3.5 hours

Itinerary map for Grand Canyon Hiking – Lodge-based

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.