This trip is rated Strenuous . Participants will be carrying backpacks of 30–45lbs over steep and rocky terrain for up to 11 miles per day. Participants should be prepared to hike over steep, rocky and sometimes exposed terrain, with constant and dramatic elevation gains and/or losses of up to 3,700'–5,000' per day on most days. Sections of the trail will be exposed and pass near cliff edges. This trip is not recommended for those with vertigo or an extreme fear of heights. We strongly recommend practicing with 30–45lbs in the pack you intend to use for the trip and making sure your hiking boots are broken in before departure. This is not a beginning backpacking trip. Previous experience is highly recommended and we ask you to review your personal health and preparation plan with your medical physician prior to traveling.
We may reverse days, use different trails, and/or change campsites. Final trip materials will indicate our determined route.
Rise early and be sure to eat a hearty breakfast before meeting with your group early this morning in Kanab, Utah. There will be an orientation and backpack check before we caravan in our personal vehicles to the trailhead. The drive is approximately 1.5 hours along paved and gravel roads that pass through beautiful forests. With a few final adjustments, we leave the trailhead to begin our descent into the canyon. Marine fossils can be found in the Kaibab and Toroweap Limestones as the trail drops through the Coconino layer. The notorious "50 Switchbacks" deposits us onto the Esplanade, where a long flat traverse takes us to our amazing campsite overlooking the inner canyon. Dinner included.
Backpacking: 6–11 miles; Elevation loss: 2,000'–5,000'
We will continue our journey today by following a break in the Redwall and making a steep descent further into the canyon. The stunning Tapeats Amphitheater comes into view to the east, and we quickly find one of the most amazing sights in the canyon: Thunder River, one of the steepest and shortest rivers in the world. The trail continues to follow the river to its confluence with Tapeats Creek and we soon have the opportunity to study the rare Grand Canyon Super Group layers as we hike to the Colorado River and our campsite for the night. We'll take many opportunities to cool off in the falls and creeks along the way with a final great plunge in the Colorado at the day's end. Breakfast and dinner included.
Backpacking: 7 miles; Elevation loss: 3,200'
An early rise sets us on the trail for the hike to Deer Creek, considered by many to be the most beautiful spot in the canyon. The trail travels above the ancient basement schist and granite of the inner canyon with expansive views of the river and soaring rock formations. See remnants of the canyon's previous inhabitants, ancient Cambrian fossils, and lush springs and waterfalls. Breakfast and dinner included.
Backpacking: 8 miles; Elevation gain: 1,800'
We rise early and are rewarded with a beautiful, early morning hike in the coolest part of the day as we tackle the day's first difficult uphill climb. We retrace our steps across the Esplanade, back up the Switchbacks, with a final push through the Kaibab to the rim. Our finishing time varies due to many factors, so we recommend making return travel plans for the following day. Breakfast included.
Backpacking: 9 miles; Elevation gain: 3,200'
Note: Trip members will need to bring a variety of quick foods for snacks and lunch each day. Granola bars, drink mixes, trail mix, bagels, hard cheeses, salami, jerky, tuna packets (not cans), crackers, packets of nut butter (not jars), apples, etc. are all good choices.