Mule Assisted Classic

South Rim Village, AZ
5.0 (97 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Famous Hiking Trails
  • Mules Carry Gear & Supplies
  • HUGE Canyon Views
  • Mighty Colorado River
  • Layover Day to Explore
  • Oasis of Havasupai Garden
  • Mind-blowing Geology

Description

Please Note: From December 14, 2024 to May 9, 2025 this trip is unavailable due to trail closures. For alternative options, check out our wonderfully diverse inn-based tours and camping based tours from the South Rim during this timeframe.

Fantastic for families, people with limited time, and for a broad range of ages and abilities, the Mule-assisted Grand Canyon Classic Tour (100% a hiking trip) is an opportunity to experience the fullness of Grand Canyon National Park with a higher level of comfort than a backpacking trip. You get to fully soak up the beauty as you hike with just a small, top-of-the-line backpack we provide, while mules carry your gear down and back up!

Enjoy starting at the popular South Rim, hiking classic trails with quintessential views, visiting historic Phantom Ranch, camping at breathtaking Bright Angel Campground, spending time at the Colorado River, and hiking by ancient Havasupai Gardens. You can just relax and enjoy yourself, as we provide all the gear, tasty meals, and a professional guide. This hike is an all-around taste of the Grand Canyon in a relatively short amount of time – don’t miss it!

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From USD
$1890 Per Person
Permit Deadlines  

Permit Deadlines

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.

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)!

PERMIT DEADLINES
Month of Trip
Register Before
Permit Results
January
Sept 1
~Sept 15
February
Oct 1
~Oct 15
March
Nov 1
~Nov 15
April
Dec 1
~Dec 15
May
Jan 1
~Jan 15
June
Feb 1
~Feb 15
July
Mar 1
~Mar 15
August
Apr 1
~Apr 15
September
May 1
~May 15
October
June 1
~June 15
November
July 1
~July 15
December
Aug 1
~Aug 15
Trip Type: Portered Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-9 Guests
Trip Length: 3 Days
Distance: 17MI / 27KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

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

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip consists of longer distance hikes (up to 9.5 miles) and extreme elevation changes (over 4000 feet) on good, maintained trails. Logs crossing the trails create tall steps up/down, which increases difficulty. The final important point is that doing this trip between May and September may require hiking in 105+ degree fahrenheit temperatures.

Hiking Distances:

Up to 9.5 mi

Backpack Weight:

15-25 lbs

Terrain:

Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

4500 ft

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 15-25 lb backpack for 8-12 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on variable, uneven terrain
  • Hiking in 105+ degree farenheit ambient temps may be required in the warmer months (May-Sept). Learn more about desert heat.
  • Hiking with moderate heights exposure
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

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

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 South Kaibab TH: 15 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 4,800 feet

This classic Grand Canyon hiking tour begins on the South Kaibab Trail, a deservedly popular hiking route that offers spectacular views both up and down the Grand Canyon. It’s 7.5 miles of moderate hiking to the Bright Angel Campground, our destination and camp for the first night. This camp is one of the most charming in the Park as it’s situated at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the Colorado River and adjacent to Bright Angel Creek. Campsites are shaded by tall, spreading cottonwoods, piped drinking water is available, and nearby Phantom Ranch offers a snack bar and ranger-led evening interpretive programs.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 0-7 miles day hiking
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: < 1,000 feet

This is a layover day and a chance to relax and absorb the magic of the Canyon or go on a memorable day hike. Remember your swimsuit for a soak in the cool waters of Bright Angel Creek, catch up on that book you’ve been wanting to read, spend quality time with your family exploring the area, or join your guide for a customized day hike. Hiking options include an off-trail trek up a side canyon with cascades, pools and oases; a breathtaking hike paralleling the Colorado River a thousand feet above it on the Clear Creek Trail; or a relaxing walk on the River Trail.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet

An early breakfast will precede a long but beautiful hike out as we make our ascent to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim via the Bright Angel Trail. It’s 9.3 miles from camp to the Rim, where we’ll look back over our hike and reflect on the beauty of this place and our accomplishment in achieving something that few have had the privilege of experiencing.

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). Click on a date or contact us to book. (Permit system details)

December 2024 (Book before August 1, 2024)
May 2025 (Book before January 1, 2025)

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
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Grand Canyon National Park wilderness permits (read about Grand Canyon’s permit system)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • Mandatory 5% national park fee that passes through directly to Grand Canyon

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • National park entrance fee
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • A lightweight stuff sack for your belongings during mule transport
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • National park entrance fees
  • 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)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

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!

Grand Canyon Conservancy

By traveling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, the Grand Canyon Conservancy. Donations help them protect Grand Canyon National Park and support trail restoration, conservation of native plants and wildlife, and educational programs. Learn more about this partnership!

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 in the lobby of the Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins. For Private Mule-assisted Classic Grand Canyon Tours your guide can meet you at your hotel in Tusayan or at the South Rim 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.

Travel to the South Rim

All Mule-assisted Classics begin and end at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is located 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona (via highway 64) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff (via highway 180). You can fly into Phoenix, Flagstaff, or Las Vegas and either rent a car or take shuttles to reach the South Rim.

Groome Transportation provides 9 trips daily between Phoenix and Flagstaff, and 3 trips daily between Flagstaff and the South Rim. The majority of our guests, however, find it most convenient to rent a vehicle and drive from Phoenix or Flagstaff to the South Rim.

Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information on getting to the South Rim.

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 Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

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.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 8 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:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

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°

November
52°27°68°46°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on this trip 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 (97 reviews)
Kelsey K
5.0

Highly Recommend This Company

10 months ago

The hike was one of the best experiences in my lifetime. Our guide was tremendously knowledgeable; helpful and full of fascinating information about all the beauty we witnessed. I highly recommend this company for experiencing the Grand Canyon in the most awe inspiring way!

Julie H
5.0

I highly recommend this trip

10 months ago

Tiffany was wonderful. She made my epic 60th birthday one I’ll never forget. Her meals were great. She has great knowledge of the canyon, plants, rock formations and the trails. With over 20+ years of experience I felt totally at ease with the trip. I highly recommend this trip and Tiffany.

Andrew S
5.0

Lifetime of good memories

10 months ago

The hiking experience in the age and a canyon was excellent. Super knowledgeable guide, great hiking pace- left a lifetime of good memories

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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