Packrafting Rim to Rim

Flagstaff, AZ
5.0 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Hike Across the Grand Canyon
  • Rugged & Remote Route
  • Packraft Across the Colorado River
  • Extraordinary Canyon Solitude
  • Explore Side Canyons & Narrows
  • Remote Desert Springs & Oases
  • Trip Featured in Outside Magazine


Please Note: This trip will not be operated in 2022. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453)!

A Rim-to Rim trip on the North and South Bass Trails is a remote, rugged journey from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other. This trip is an opportunity to hike “Rim to Rim” but to do it in high adventure style, to enjoy incredible solitude along the way, and to discover remote, wild pockets of the Grand Canyon that only a tiny fraction of Canyon visitors ever see. We’ll hike and camp through stunning country with BIG views as well as charming, intimate details like spring-fed creeks, flowering cacti, and desert wildlife.

We utilize the historic trails of William Wallace Bass, who was the first European- American to guide visitors on Rim-to-Rim trips, beginning in the year 1900. We will also cross the Colorado River under our own power via small, inflatable boats called packrafts, which is a unique highlight of this trip!

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!

6 Days
$1825 Per Person
Pre-permit Registration $1733  

Pre-permit Registration $1733

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: 6 Days
Distance: 21MI / 34KM


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:
40-45 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
1-7 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
3400 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
2400 feet
Quality of Trails:
Very rugged, unmaintained
These trails are loose and steep in places. Be prepared for demanding hiking on sections of steep trails. This trip also necessitates a section of pack rafting, which requires good balance and good upper body strength.

Participants should:

  1. be very active, healthy people
  2. exercise vigorously several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, or running for hours at a time without taking breaks


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Grand Canyon hike a solitude 5. You can expect to see just a handful of other groups over the entire trip.

Learn More about our Rating System
  • 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

Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:

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
Learn About Our Private Trips
View Private Trips
Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:



Day 1

  • Shuttle to the North Rim: 5-hour drive from Flagstaff

We’ll begin this exceptional Grand Canyon backpacking tour with a scenic shuttle from Flagstaff to the North Rim. En route we’ll take some time to walk over the historic Navajo Bridge near Lees Ferry, which is the beginning of the Grand Canyon. We’ll continue to the North Rim, where we’ll wind through pine forests to the North Bass Trailhead. There, we will enjoy a sunset dinner, the last of our “front-country” luxuries, and soak up the solitude of the North Rim.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 3,440 feet

Today we’ll don our backpacks and begin our descent of the North Bass Trail. En route, we’ll pass “Teddy’s Cabin,” a historic ranger cabin built in 1925 on a campsite of former U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt.

Continuing down, we pass along a seldom-maintained trail with dramatic views into a deep, narrow gorge. After a series of steep switchbacks and more sweeping vistas, we will arrive in the bottom of Muav Gorge, a place with water and lush vegetation. We’ll find camp shortly thereafter along a series of flat ledges complete with small waterfalls and pools.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1,800 feet

On our third day of the trip, we will round the corner from camp and immediately encounter a magnificent view downcanyon. After taking pictures, we will continue to follow the trail through a wide open area with plenty of views, until the canyon narrows into an enchanting chasm. We’ll drop packs and explore for a little while, enjoying the cathedral-like slot canyon and the otherworldly scenery found there.

Next, we’ll boulder-hop along White Creek to its confluence with Shinomu Creek. This section requires some hands-on hiking, as the challenges include some large boulders that block the way. On our way to the Colorado River, we will pass a historic site used by William Wallace Bass himself, in the days when this trail was one of the most popular in the Grand Canyon. At camp, we will enjoy beachside camping on the Colorado River, and a possible day hike to a deep, gloomy chasm and a waterfall.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet

Today we’ll inflate our packrafts and cross the Colorado River. Dramatic river views open up in both directions as we utilize this thrilling method of crossing one of North America’s largest rivers.

Upon successful completion of the river crossing, we will continue up the South Bass Trail, passing a scenic point of geologic interest called the Wheeler Fold. We will camp at a series of water holes carved into an immense rock slab.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet

After breakfast, we’ll continue up the South Bass Trail, climbing up through Bass canyon and camping at an overlook in the Esplanade sandstone. If time and energy allow, we’ll spend some time exploring the spectacular Darwin Plateau- an area of surreal desert beauty and classic Grand Canyon vistas.

Day 6

  • Hiking Mileage: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet
  • Shuttle to Flagstaff: 2 hour drive

Today we will finish up our journey by ascending the remainder of the way to the South Rim. There we will see what remains of William Bass’s trailhead rest house, before navigating the rugged 4 wheel drive road back to pavement and civilization. Upon request, there will be time to visit the South Rim village and visitor center before returning to Flagstaff.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you’re interested in.

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.

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, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Pack raft, paddle, and life jacket
  • 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 sleeping bags
  • 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.

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:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

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 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)
Kathy R.

15 Trip with Wildland - Superb

1 year ago

This was our 15th trip with Wildland Trekking. Our guide, Ron, was superb. Ron ensured that every guest had a fun and safe trip. We’ll be back for more.

David M.

Couldn't Have Been Better!

1 year ago

Ron was extremely professional and savvy. I appreciated the clear signals he sent. And I'm still impressed with all he carried to provide such complete meals, water, first aid, etc. The trip couldn't have been better! I'm still basking in it.

Albert W.

Bucketlist Experience Not to be Missed

2 years ago

While anyone can “hike” the backcountry of the Grand Canyon, Wildland Trekking made this a bucket list backcountry experience not to be missed. We were fortunate to have one of their most experienced guides as our host, leader, and navigator through the “Wonders of the Grand Canyon.” Due to heavy snow and torrential run off, Ron was able to modify our trip and safely guide us through challenging routes that only someone with his expertise could achieve. He was considerate of all hikers capabilities and was truly a servant leader in meeting our needs. I give this trip two thumbs up and 5 stars!

See More Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

Related Trips

You might also like...

Receive a PDF info packet via email which includes:
Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:
Privacy Policy: Click Here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *