Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Grand Canyon Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Kanab Creek Adventure

Highlights

  • Hike the longest tributary to the Colorado River
  • Explore one of the most remote corners of the Grand Canyon
  • See ancient pictographs
  • Hike sheer slot canyons
  • Discover amazing water features, springs and grottos
  • Sleep under incredible star-lit skies
  • Embark on a fantastic Grand Canyon adventure!


Description

Come join us for this world-class off-trail Grand Canyon backpacking adventure! This trip is for the more serious adventurer, as it is our most strenuos and most secluded trip in the Grand Canyon.

We'll follow a series of breathtaking side canyons deep into the Grand Canyon, finally arriving at the Colorado River on day four. We'll hike through land rich with cultural and natural history, including some incredible pictographs. A few of the highlights include a traverse of Jump Up Slot Canyon, Sowats Canyon, Kanab Creek, a layover day near the Colorado River, time at Whispering Falls, and a hike across the scenic Esplanade.

This trip is a Grand Canyon backpacking trip you will truly never forget. Call us today at 1-800-715-HIKE for more information on this once-in-a-lifetime hiking opportunity!

Please note: Due to Grand Canyon's permit system, it's beneficial to register 5 months or more in advance, and you'll receive a 5% discount for doing so. Click here to read more about permits.


 

Photos of this Trip

Photos: Russ Nordstrand

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the North Rim: 3.5-4.5 hour drive
Hiking Mileage: 3.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 2,200 feet


This adventurous Grand Canyon backpacking tour starts from Sowats Point, where we hike rapidly downhill to the esplanade, a broad terrace at approx. 5,000’ of elevation. An enjoyable 2-mile hike along the esplanade brings us to Sowats Canyon. The canyon is shallow and dry for ¾ mile until we get to Mountain Sheep Spring, a gushing spring of fantastic drinking water. We’ll make camp near the spring in a beautiful alcove beneath scarlet overhangs. Also nearby are a series of remarkable pictographs left by Native Americans.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 9.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 1,300 feet


A hearty breakfast will precede our hike down Sowats Canyon. After a mile of hiking adjacent to Sowats Creek we’ll arrive at Jump-up Canyon. At this point Jump-up is more of a broad valley than a canyon, allowing views of the rim of the Grand Canyon above. However, after hiking a bit further we’ll encounter the first layers of the redwall limestone; a layer of rock hard enough to promote formation of the Jump-up slot canyon. Soon we’ll find ourselves hundreds of feet deep in a narrow swath of polished stone. Several miles further the canyon widens and intersects Kanab Creek. Now the canyon is wide and deep, with brilliant red walls rising high overhead. Another couple of hours of hiking brings us to the hanging garden of Showerbath Spring. Just beyond the spring is a campsite protected by more overhangs. This is a long day consisting of 8 miles of rugged canyon hiking and will likely take 10-11 hours to complete.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 400 feet


Another hearty breakfast will precede a shorter hike downstream. The canyon grows ever deeper and presents a show of features including massive overhangs, enchanting springs, exquisite lighting and a myriad of colors. We'll make camp adjacent to a narrow and beautiful side canyon containing Whispering Falls, a rivulet of water that "whispers" its way down a polished incline, and makes for a wonderful afternoon hike.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 8.0 miles optional round-trip day hike
Elevation Loss/Gain: 200 feet


Today is a much needed layover day. Willing members of the party have the option of a day hike to the Colorado River and back (no backpacks). The mouth of Kanab Creek creates a thundering set of rapids on the Colorado. We’ll eat lunch while appreciating the grandeur of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon and then hike back to camp.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 400 feet


On Day 5 we turn around and begin our hike out of the Grand Canyon. We'll hike up Kanab Creek to our camp near Showerbath Spring, where we'll again enjoy the beauty of this majestic camp.


Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet


Today’s hike will re-trace our steps through Jump-up canyon, however once we’ve hiked through the slot canyon we’ll immediately turn east into Kwagunt Hollow. Kwagunt is more dramatic than Sowats and presents a variety of terraces and overhangs. We'll make camp this evening in Kwagunt Hollow near small seeps that we’ll use for our drinking water.


Day 7

Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet
Shuttle: 3.5-4.5-hour drive

After a lazy morning we’ll hike out Kwagunt and re-join the Sowats trail near the bottom of the switchbacks. Hiking up the switchbacks to Sowats Point will complete this classic Grand Canyon backpacking trip. From the top of Sowats Point we’ll be able to look out over each canyon we hiked all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • 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 origin 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
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


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
  • Satellite phone


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

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. 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.

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 Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form 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 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

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.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, 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 6 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 no later than 7 PM.


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.


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 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)
         
 
Month
South Rim
Canyon Bottom
 
 
hi
low
hi
low
 
 
Dec-Feb
41°
18°
60°
38°
 
 
March
51°
25°
71°
48°
 
 
April
60°
32°
82°
56°
 
 
May
70°
39°
92°
63°
 
 
Jun-Aug
82°
53°
108°
75°
 
 
September
76°
47°
97°
69°
 
 
October
65°
36°
84°
58°
 
 
November
52°
27°
68°
46°