Autumn Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon

Flagstaff, AZ
5.0 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Traverse of Grand Canyon
  • Desert Waterfall
  • Colorado River
  • Iconic Views
  • Fascinating Geology
  • Desert Wildlife
  • Plateau Point Dinner

Description

This trip is an opportunity to embark on one of the world’s most famous hikes in the cooler period from September 16 through November 30. Our Summer Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike is offered May 12 through September 15.

Starting in Flagstaff, AZ we shuttle to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. On the way we’ll enjoy a scenic breakfast at the historic Navajo Bridge, suspended high above the Colorado River, before completing our drive. Once at the North Rim, we dawn the backpacks that contain all we’ll need for the next four days and begin our descent. The next four days take us past phenomenal views, deep side canyons, desert oases, waterfalls, fascinating history and of course the mighty Colorado River. Your guide(s) will regale you with stories of visitors past, including the Native Americans who called the Canyon home for millennia and early pioneers and miners. Eventually we’ll top out on the South Rim and be able to look back at our entire route. What a feeling!


Need to Know: Permits & North Rim Closing

Grand Canyon Permits
It is strongly recommended to book your Grand Canyon backpacking trip 5 months in advance due to the Park’s permit system. Backpacking permits are issued on the first of the month 4+ months in advance (see deadlines for each month.) Permits for the most popular trips sell out very quickly during the initial lottery, so registering prior to the deadline of the month you’re interested in is highly beneficial. You can also pick any dates, and you’ll receive a 5% early registration discount!

North Rim Closing
The North Rim road officially closes on November 30, marking the end of the Rim to Rim season (we still run our Winter Rim to Rim to Rim after this date.) There is a small chance the North Rim may close before November 30 if the area receives significant snowfall. In this case, we run a 3-day Grand Canyon Classic as a backup and refund you 25% of your payment.

Read more …
4 Days
$1595 Per Person
Pre-permit Registration $1515  

Pre-permit Registration $1515

Grand Canyon’s permit process is complicated, but we take care of everything so you don’t have to worry about it! Here’s what you do need to know – Grand Canyon issues backpacking permits through a lottery system 4+ months in advance (deadlines listed below). Permits for popular trips sell out immediately during the initial lottery, so it’s important to register before the process begins. Pre-permit registrants also receive a 5% discount and can pick any dates!

When you register we will ask you for backup dates and itineraries, as they are helpful if your first choice isn’t available. If a permit request is denied, pre-permit registrants have top priority for open spaces on confirmed permits, and very often get spots. Finally, we have good success rates, but your deposit is 100% refundable or transferable if we’re unsuccessful. Still have questions? Call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453)!

Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-9 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 24MI / 39KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

This trip follows very well maintained, frequently traveled trails. It has significant elevation gains and losses, and there are tall steps from logs across the trail that increase difficulty. Like all Grand Canyon trips, it has heights exposure, but we are generally able to walk several feet away from cliff edges.
Hiking Distances:

6-8 mi
Backpack Weight:

30-40 lbs
Terrain:

Lightly Rugged
Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 4k ft
Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Physical requirements:

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 30-40 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on variable, uneven terrain
  • Negotiating tall steps (trekking poles help)
  • Hiking with moderate heights exposure

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Grand Canyon hike a solitude 2 because it follows the most popular route across the Canyon (North Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail). You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time once we’re several miles into the Canyon.

WHY WE BASE IN FLAGSTAFF VS. PHOENIX
  • Reduced drive time by 3 hours on first day of hiking
  • Guide support is only an hour away vs. 4-5 hours away in Phoenix.
  • Increased flexibility with unforeseen circumstances
  • Flagstaff is a scenic mountain town with great hiking and restaurants!

GROOME SHUTTLE
Groome Transportation operates an Arizona Shuttle that makes 9 dependable trips daily each direction between Phoenix and Flagstaff. The duration is 2.5-3 hours. They pickup/drop off at Sky Harbor Airport and the Metro Center in Phoenix, and in Flagstaff at the Amtrak Station (near downtown) and the NAU campus.

Note: Groome also offers daily transportation (3 trips in each direction) from Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

CAR RENTAL
Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix has a fantastic car rental facility that is easily accessible and hosts a great variety of companies. We recommend checking Priceline.com as well for especially good deals.

ARIZONA EXECUTIVE TRANSPORT
Arizona Executive Transport offers private, reliable SUV service between Phoenix and Flagstaff. This option is best if you’re traveling in a group of 3 or 4. As Wildland Trekking guests, your one-way cost for up to 4 passengers is only $275. Simply type “Wildland Trekking Company” in the Discount Code Box at the bottom of the online registration page. You can go to http://www.arizonaexecutivellc.com to make your reservations online.

Arizona does not charge sales tax on services, so there is no sales tax for this trip.

All trips in Grand Canyon National Park have a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is applied when your reservation is made and is passed through directly to the national park.

There are no other taxes or fees associated with this trip. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
PDF Trip Itinerary Packet Book online
Or fill out a Reservation Request
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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon: 4-hour drive from Flagstaff
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 4,161 feet

We begin our Grand Canyon Rim to Rim backpacking trip at 8,000 feet and hike downhill approximately 7 miles to our first camp at Cottonwood Campground. This is a fantastic hike for the natural history buff as we descend through a dense mixed conifer forest on the North Rim to a semi-arid High Sonoran desert environment inside the Grand Canyon. Also en route we hike through the ominous and stunning Red Wall Limestone and past Roaring Springs – a cascading stream erupting from the side of an adjacent slope.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1,600 feet

On day two we’ll break camp and hike another 7 miles down to Bright Angel Campground (en-route we’ll do a side hike to a fantastic waterfall – Ribbon Falls). Our camp is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon adjacent to the Colorado River and historic Phantom Ranch.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

After a hearty breakfast we’ll pack up and make an early departure to take advantage of the cool hiking hours of the morning. Hiking on the Bright Angel Trail along the Colorado and up Pipe Creek we’ll arrive at Garden Creek. From here we’ll hike upstream past its junction with Pipe Creek to Indian Garden – a spring site that watered seasonal Havasupai garden plots for centuries. From here it’s a short final hike to our camp for the night – Indian Garden Campground, another enchanting camp with shade and water. On this last evening in the Grand Canyon we’ll cap off the trip with a hike out to Plateau Point to enjoy a sunset at one of the most breathtaking viewpoints you’ll ever experience.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
  • Shuttle to Flagstaff: 1.5-hour drive from the South Rim

A casual morning breakfast will precede a beautiful hike out as we continue our ascent to the rim via the Bright Angel Trail. This trail is the most hiked in the Park because of its endless views, availability of water, and its steady grade taking us out of the Grand Canyon. It’s a finish to a hike you’ll never forget!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Permitted and Confirmed Trip Dates

These trip dates are permitted and confirmed. Click on a date to book!

Pre-Permit Trip Dates

Permits have not yet been issued for these months. It is best to book before the listed deadlines. You can pick any dates (listed or not) and receive a 5% discount! Click on a date or contact us to book. (Permit system details)

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Grand Canyon hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona to the Grand Canyon and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits (read about Grand Canyon’s permit system)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear to Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

Unless we tell you otherwise, you will meet your guide and group at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff (use this reservation page for a 10-60% discount at Little America) for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. We’re happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you’re not staying at Little America, but staying at one of our other recommended hotels. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Grand Canyon Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Flagstaff at an agreed upon time.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 4 and 7 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Grand Canyon backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 9 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in the Grand Canyon

The weather in the Grand Canyon varies tremendously from the rim to the canyon floor, with as much as a 30 degree Fahrenheit difference. For this reason, the Canyon is truly a year-round hiking destination. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures at the South Rim and the Canyon bottom:

MonthSouth RimCanyon Bottom
hilowhilow
Dec-Feb41°18°60°38°
March51°25°71°48°
April60°32°82°56°
May70°39°92°63°
Jun-Aug82°

53°108°75°
September76°47°97°69°
October65°36°84°58°
November52°27°68°46°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (5 reviews)
Beth B
5.0

Phenomenal!

2 days ago

From the advice about training to the food to the hiking itself, the Wildland team—particularly our extraordinary guide, Carlos—helped make the trip enjoyable, educational, and even life-changing. Within days of getting home, I was already looking for my next Wildland trip.

Linda M
5.0

Surpassing Expectations

7 days ago

Enjoyed the views at every turn. With Michael’s experience as a guide we were able to keep a comfortable pace and not feel rushed and be able to see all the beautiful stops and side hikes along the way. He made excellent accommodations for food sensitivities. We had fresh delicious meals. Over all wonderful experience surpassing expectations. Thanks

Alexandra P
5.0

Impressive!

8 days ago

I expected this trip to be pretty amazing, little did I know that this would be the trip I talk about for the rest of my life. Karla went above and beyond, we were all constantly impressed with her incredible knowledge about everything involving the Grand Canyon. I would love to hike with her again!! She is now a friend. We all look forward to booking another trip with the company again in the future!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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