Mule Assisted Classic

South Rim Village, AZ
5.0 (72 reviews)

Trip Highlights

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

Description

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 Indian 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!


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!

Read more …
3 Days
$1495 Per Person
Pre-permit Registration $1420  

Pre-permit Registration $1420

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)!

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
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Portered Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-9 Guests
Trip Length: 3 Days
Distance: 17MI / 27KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

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

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:

10-15 lbs
Terrain:

Lightly Rugged
Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

4000+ ft
Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Physical requirements:

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 10-15 lb backpack for 8-12 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on variable, uneven terrain
  • Hiking in 105+ degree fahrenheit temperatures (May-Sept)
  • 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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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
  • National park camping 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
  • 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 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, a lightweight stuff sack for your belongings that will be going with the mules, 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 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.

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 this is 6 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:

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 (72 reviews)
Donna D
5.0

Loved Our 10 Star Guide!

5 months ago

This was an adventure of a lifetime, and largely due to the experience and skills and knowledge of our guide Tiffany. Her cheerful demeanor, breadth of knowledge of the canyon and its history and her ability to read how we were doing along the way made our hike not only safe and successful but a fantastic adventure. The meals she prepared for us were unbelievable! Delicious, fresh, healthy and energizing. I give her 10 stars!

David D
5.0

The Experience of a Lifetime!

5 months ago

Thanks to Wildland Trekking and our incredible guide, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back was not just an unforgettable experience, but the experience of a lifetime!

Melinda T.
5.0

We had a Great Experience!

5 months ago

This was a trip of a lifetime! The entire process from registration, pre-trip information and the journey itself went smoothly thanks to a dedicated staff both in the office and on the trail.

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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