Grandview Trek

Flagstaff, AZ
5.0 (33 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Canyon Solitude
  • Cave of the Domes
  • Possible Day Hike to the River
  • Spectacular Grandview Trail
  • Desert Springs & Oases
  • Mining History & Ruins
  • Guides Choice Trip


The Grandview Trek is a backpacking trip into a remote and quiet part of the Grand Canyon. It offers incredible views, fantastic natural and cultural history (including a 19th-century mine and miner’s cabin), great camping with plenty of solitude, and the opportunity (not guaranteed) to reach the Colorado River via a historic trail that is rarely used today.

The trip lives up to its name the moment we start hiking as stunning panoramas of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River explode in front of us. The scenery continues to inspire as we descend to Horseshoe Mesa, which extends into the Canyon like the deck of a battleship with expansive views in every direction.

We’ll hike off the west side of the Mesa to Cottonwood Creek. From here you can expect exciting hiking, camping at remote desert oases, incredible views of the Inner Gorge and Colorado River, and the possibility of reaching the Colorado River via the Old Grandview Trail (if your itinerary has two nights at Cottonwood Creek). Our route circles around Horseshoe Mesa, re-ascends it, and takes us back to the South Rim, where we’ll complete one of the best loop hikes in the Canyon! (The 3-day version with two nights at Cottonwood Creek is an out-and-back hike, not a loop hike.)

Need to Know: 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!

3 Days
$1055 Per Person
4 Days
$1255 Per Person
5 Days
$1475 Per Person
Pre-permit Registration $1002-$1401  

Pre-permit Registration $1002-$1401

  • 3 Days: $1002
  • 4 Days: $1192
  • 5 Days: $1401

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)!

Month of Trip
Register Before
Permit Results
Sept 1
~Sept 15
Oct 1
~Oct 15
Nov 1
~Nov 15
Dec 1
~Dec 15
Jan 1
~Jan 15
Feb 1
~Feb 15
Mar 1
~Mar 15
Apr 1
~Apr 15
May 1
~May 15
June 1
~June 15
July 1
~July 15
Aug 1
~Aug 15
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: 3-5 Days
Distance: 27MI / 43KM


Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
30-40 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-6 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
3500 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
3500 feet
Quality of Trails:
Lightly maintained to not maintained, generally rugged
The trail to the Colorado River is not maintained and is steep and loose in places (pictured below right). This portion of the trip is optional.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. regularly exercise vigorously
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, running, or swimming for several hours without many breaks


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Grand Canyon hike a solitude 4 because it follows primarily remote, unmaintained trails. The first 1-2 miles of the Grandview Trail attract a moderate number of hikers, but after that it tapers off quickly. Inside the Canyon, you can expect to see no more than 1 or 2 hiker groups per day.

  • 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 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.

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 as well for especially good deals.

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 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

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

  • Shuttle to the South Rim: 1.5-hour drive from Flagstaff
  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 3,500 feet

We’ll begin this exceptional Grand Canyon backpacking tour by hiking down the Grandview Trail, a historic Indian route rebuilt by Pete Berry for his Last Chance copper mine. Pete Berry and partners staked the Last Chance claim in 1890 and worked the mine on and off until 1916. We’ll hike to Horseshoe Mesa then drop off the west side to Cottonwood Creek, which is a remote camp nestled beneath a small grove of cottonwood trees. Cottonwood Creek is a spring-fed creek that trickles between pools near camp. Your guide will prepare a hearty dinner while you relax and soak up the views!

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 1,500+ feet

Today is a layover day at Cottonwood Creek to descend the Old Grandview Trail, which is a spectacular 6 mile round trip hike to the Colorado River and back (1500 feet elevation loss/gain). This ancient trail, which was built in the 1800’s by a miner and hasn’t been maintained for more than 50 years, is unknown to all but a few who call the Grand Canyon their second home (rangers and guides mainly). It’s rarely hiked and is a truly memorable experience in and of itself.

Please note: since this trail is not maintained its condition can vary and there are always some loose, exposed sections that may not be suitable for some guests. We do not guarantee reaching the Colorado River on this trip, but we do guarantee a tremendously scenic and adventurous journey into the Grand Canyon!

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles + day hike
  • Elevation Change: minimal

If you’re doing the 3-day itinerary, you’ll be departing today and hiking back out the Grandview Trail, which is the opposite of Day One. Day three, on the four and five day itineraries, is our hike across the Tonto Plateau, which is often compared to a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing 360 degree views that shift constantly as we make our way toward our next camp. Plan on having the Grand Canyon all to yourself today, as we’re unlikely to meet more than one or two other hiking groups. This is Canyon Solitude at its finest! We’ll be hiking east from Cottonwood Creek to camp at Hance Creek, which is another remote and quiet camp with a spring-fed creek trickling nearby. After dinner we’ll stay up and enjoy the stars, which are unparalleled in this special, wild place!

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet
  • Shuttle to the Flagstaff: 1.5-hour drive to Flagstaff

On the 4-day itinerary we’ll be hiking out today. Please read below for information on the 5-day itinerary, which allow for an extra night on Horseshoe Mesa. If we’re hiking out, we’ll get an early start, enjoy a quick breakfast and begin our hike back to the South Rim. Our route takes us up a rugged trail to Horseshoe Mesa, where we’ll stop in the shade of Junipers, have a trail snack and soak up some more views. Then we’ll continue up the Grandview Trail back to where we started. An hour shuttle ride to Flagstaff gives us time to relax and reflect on the incredible journey we’ve just completed!

Horseshoe Mesa Variation (5 days)

Horseshoe Mesa Addition (adds 2 miles with little elevation change): we can spend one additional night at Horseshoe Mesa (making it a 4-day or 5-day itinerary) on our way out. After we’ve moved camp to the mesa we’ll head out and explore some fantastic additions to the trip. Horseshoe Mesa is home to Cave of the Domes, which is the only cave in Grand Canyon National Park visitors are allowed into. Its opening is perched on top of a 500-foot tall cliff overlooking where we camped at Cottonwood Creek. We can also hike to the edge of the mesa for birds eye views of our day two hike across the Tonto Plateau

3-day Loop Variation

This trip is sometimes run as a 3-day loop hike with one night at Cottonwood Creek and one night at Hance Creek. It is the standard 4-day itinerary without the layover at Cottonwood Creek and Day 2 hike to the Colorado River. This variation is a phenomenal loop hike with iconic views, oases, solitude, and spectacular views of the Colorado River from the Tonto Plateu.

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.

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


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


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


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 and Microspike Crampons if necessary
  • 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
  • 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 or Black Diamond 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. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

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. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

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.


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)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • 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




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 (33 reviews)
Holland S

Can't Wait to Go on Another Adventure!

1 month ago

The Grandview Trek trip truly surpassed my expectations! Everything was so well organized, communicated, and any questions or concerns I had were addressed ahead of time. Our guide, Stephen Ackley, was phenomenal! He had so much knowledge on local flora & fauna, history of the Canyon, and took us on an awesome adventure each day making this a very memorable experience. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking for an all-inclusive feel; the food was excellent and the gear performed very well! We had the best time and can’t wait to plan our next one!

Regina J.

Super Fun Trip!

1 year ago

This trip has opened my eyes to the real beauty of the Grand Canyon. Our Guide, Fletcher, was amazing! He cooked delicious meals, filtered all the water, knew about the geology and local history. This was my first time down in the canyon. Seeing the Grand Canyon from the rim is wonderful, but to experience the Grand Canyon while below the rim is where you really discover much more! This trip was so much fun!

Jill B.

Life Changing Trip!

2 years ago

Hiking the Grand Canyon has always been on my bucket list and this trip not only checked it off my list, it also made me add about four other hiking trips to my bucket list! Our guide was Beau DeMello and he was certainly the MVP of the experience. Beau was extremely knowledgeable about the trails and the formation of the Grand Canyon, answering our never ending stream of questions. I was also shocked to discover he also knew a ton about all of the living things in the canyon, whether it was coming out of the ground or crawling on it, he knew what it was and interesting facts about it. He even followed up after the trip to identify the Tall Yellow Evening Primrose that I asked about days prior. This trip was physically and mentally demanding. Through all of the rocky and steep inclines, Beau did a great job of encouraging us and always offering a hand. He was also funny and quick witted, which was greatly appreciated during particularly strenuous trails. While it was demanding, the views and experience were amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The equipment, communication and food provided by Wildland Trekking was fantastic and exceeded all of my expectations. I’d highly recommend the Grandview Trek, Wildland Trekking and Beau DeMello to anyone looking for a life changing, memorable and truly fun trip!

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