Grand Canyon Backpacking – North Rim

Grand Canyon Backpacking – North Rim

Remote Adventure Amid a Natural Wonder

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  • Activity Level: 5
  • Days: 4
  • Group Size: 4-9
  • Member price: from $899
  • Non-member price: from $999

Your Adventure Itinerary

Route Variation

This itinerary is subject to change based on permit availability.

We may reverse days, use different trails, and/or change campsites. Final trip materials will indicate our determined route.

Day 1

Hike down "50 Switchbacks" and over the Esplanade to our inner canyon camp.

Rise early and be sure to eat a hearty breakfast before meeting with your group at Honey's Marketplace in Kanab, Utah, at either 7AM or 8AM (depending on route). 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'

Day 2

Hike along the Thunder and Colorado Rivers to our camp.

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'

Day 3

Hike to Deer Creek past rock formations and traces of past civilizations.

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'

Day 4

Make the challenging climb out for a last, scenic view from the rim.

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.

Adventure Expert


I trained for this trip like crazy and it was so incredibly worth it. I gained a very real personal connection to the canyon on this trip, I learned more over the course of the four days than I thought possible.


Majestic four days

The hike was a truly special 4 days of hard, hard work. You must train to be able to truly enjoy it. Going down is harder then climbing up. If you have fear of heights find another trip. Tom and Kristen were tremendou...

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