By the numbers
Length: 3- or 4-day options
Cost: $750 (3-day) / $950 (4-day)
Route distance: 16.5 miles
Energy-mile equivalent: 26 EMs
This three- or four-day trip is an ideal way for adventurous visitors to experience Grand Canyon for the first time. Your route takes you from rim to river and back on the park’s famous “corridor” trails. Some of the canyon’s best views can be found along this route. Not least among them are the shaded oasis of Indian Garden, and the banks of the Colorado River, and the sweeping inner-canyon views.
What you experience
- Beautiful views from rim to river
- Two of Grand Canyon’s most famous trails: The South Kaibab and Bright Angel
- Skeleton Point, the Tonto Bench, and the Inner Gorge
- Camping near historic Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River
- A riverside trail constructed by CCC workers in the 1930s
- Indian Garden, a Grand Canyon oasis with centuries of human history
Hiking mileage: 7.0 miles
Start/finish elevation: 7,260 ft. / 2,480 ft.
Route: South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground
Our trip begins as we enter Grand Canyon at the South Kaibab Trailhead. The historic trail alternates between switchback descents and long downhill grades before taking us through the Redwall cliffs and pausing at Tipoff Point. From there we proceed into the depths of Grand Canyon’s Inner Gorge, hiking through some of the world’s oldest exposed rock. At the bottom of the canyon, the trail crosses an historic suspension bridge and follows the banks of the Colorado River to Bright Angel Campground. The campsites are near the clear waters of Bright Angel Creek, a short distance upstream of its confluence with the Colorado.
Hiking mileage: 4.7 miles
Start/finish elevation: 2,480 ft. / 3,800 ft.
Route: River Trail and Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden
Morning light fills the canyon, and sunlit cliffs tower above the shaded recesses of the Inner Gorge. After breaking camp, we parallel the Colorado River along the River Trail. Upon connecting with the Bright Angel Trail, we hike out of the Inner Gorge and into the sandstone walls of the “Tapeats Narrows.” Here in the Narrows, Garden Creek provides a soundtrack to accompany the sublime experience. The day’s hike concludes at Indian Garden Campground, a tree-shaded oasis. If time permits, hikers may wish to explore the 3-mile side trip to Plateau Point, where they can watch the Colorado River rush by over a thousand feet below.
Hiking mileage: 4.8 miles
Start/finish elevation: 3,800 ft. / 6,860 ft.
Route: Bright Angel Trail from Indian Garden Campground to South Rim
Dawn breaks at Indian Garden, and we prepare ourselves for the final ascent out of Grand Canyon. Gaining elevation, we hike through different life zones, leaving behind open desert and reaching juniper-pinyon woodlands. Periodic rest stops provide time to appreciate our last inner-canyon views. Finally, the Bright Angel Trail emerges on the canyon rim, not far from modern-day amenities like ice cream and cold drinks.
The four-day itinerary adds a layover day at Bright Angel or Indian Garden Campground, with options for side trips to places like Plateau Point.
You know that friend-of-a-friend who has tons of cool gear, legendary skills, and an encyclopedic knowledge of local terrain? Canyonology Treks is like the down-to-earth version of that guy.
We take care of the big-ticket gear: Packs, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and trekking poles. For clothing and various personal items, we provide a concise packing list. We also provide transportation to and from our staging point in Flagstaff. Ever struggled with a finicky camp stove? Good news: Meals in the backcountry are prepped and served by your expert guide.
Alternate itineraries: Itineraries may vary slightly from those described here. The most common cause of variant itineraries is backcountry permit availability. Canyonology Treks won’t submit a permit request for different dates or locations without talking to you first.
Group size: Other hikers may be joining you on your trip. Multi-day trips accommodate mixed groups, with a maximum of six guests total.
Rates: Listed rates are per person per trip. Guests are responsible for the cost of clothes, toiletries, and other items on their packing list. Guests are also responsible for arranging transportation between home and our staging point in Flagstaff. Flights into Flagstaff are available, but many guests will prefer to fly into Phoenix. From Phoenix, shuttle services and rental cars are available to cover the roughly 2.5-hour drive into Flagstaff.
Gratuity: Guide gratuity is not included in the trip fee. Typical gratuity is between 10 and 20% of trip cost.
Difficulty: Trekking Grand Canyon is not easy. We ask prospective clients to honestly evaluate their abilities, and to consult with a physician. Overnight trips in Grand Canyon involve an added degree of difficulty to which clients may not be accustomed. Although your guide will be carrying a disproportionate amount of the group’s gear, practical considerations mean that the trip is not fully portered, and clients will be hiking with technical backpacks.
Cancellations: For information on cancellations and refunds, see our terms and conditions.
About your guide
Your guide is Mike Campbell, a Grand Canyon local and owner of Canyonology Treks. In between guiding Grand Canyon hiking trips, Mike has written for various canyon-related publications, including Canyon Views, the quarterly publication of the park’s official non-profit partner organization. He has also worked for Grand Canyon Whitewater and led classes for the Petrified Forest Field Institute.
Rim-to-river trip dates
Trip departure dates are based on hiker needs
Inquire with the dates that work best for you. Canyonology Treks then submits a backcountry permit request based on your needs.
Because registration is subject to backcountry permit availability, early applications are preferred.