Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Grand Canyon Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Colorado River Traverse

Highlights

  • The remote and wild Tanner Trail
  • One of the most exciting hikes in the Canyon
  • Remote beach camps on the Colorado River
  • A vast amount of the Grand Canyon in 4-6 days
  • Side creeks and canyons of the Grand Canyon
  • Challenging trails and terrain
  • Hike Red Canyon & the stunning New Hance Trail

Description

The Colorado River Traverse is a demanding and rewarding backpacking trip in the Eastern Grand Canyon. This is a 4-6 day trekking adventure that follows the Colorado River from the Tanner Trail to the New Hance Trail (or the Grandview Trail on the 6-day itinerary). The Colorado River Traverse is one of our most aggressive itineraries and will take you to remote and wild areas. This trip features fantastic Colorado River beach camping, stunning slot canyons and out-of-this-world views. You'll spend days having the Canyon all to yourself, eating surprisingly great backcountry cuisine, learning about the history of the Canyon, and soaking up the magic of this extraordinary landscape!
If a wild, remote, adventurous hike in the Grand Canyon is what you're after, then this trip is for you! Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your trip today.

Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

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 South Rim: 2-hour drive from Flagstaff
Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Loss: 4650 feet


We begin this Grand Canyon backpacking tour with a journey down the Tanner Trail to a stunning beach campsite on the Colorado River. The trail is long and steep and we’ll rejuvenate by soaking tired feet in the icy waters of the Colorado River. Relax in camp tonight as your guide prepares a hearty meal to the sound of Tanner Canyon Rapids.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Loss/Gain: 1200

We’ll rise early to take advantage of hiking during the cooler morning hours. Today’s hike travels west along the Escalante Route of the Colorado River. Our goal is to reach Escalante Creek beach, a stunning side canyon that empties into the Colorado River. Relaxing by the river is one of the best rewards at the end of another day in Grand Canyon.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 4-7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 850-1650 feet


Day 3 is often considered the most scenic and adventurous of all - following breakfast we’ll break camp and continue west until we reach Seventyfive Mile Creek; a serpentine slot canyon that pours into the Colorado. Some technical but photo-worthy terrain lies between here and our campsite. Our goal today is Red Canyon beach which may just be the most pristine beach in all of the Grand Canyon. Time permitting, we may choose to continue up Red Canyon for camp, shortening our exit day.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 4-7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2800-4450 feet
Shuttle to Flagstaff: 2 hours from the South Rim


A hearty breakfast will precede our hike out as we make our way to the rim. We’ll ascend out of Red Canyon and traverse the Supai and Red Wall formations into an old creek bed. After following the creek for awhile we’ll scramble up out of the creek bed to the trailhead and our ride back to Flagstaff.


5-Day Variation

On the 5-day version of this trip we add a layover day at Tanner Beach in order to explore up further up the Colorado River. This version extends the time in the backcountry at a stunning location and provides fantastic day hiking in one of the most remote and stunning sections of the Grand Canyon. This variation adds anywhere between 2 and 8 miles of additional hiking with minor elevation gain/loss.


6-Day Variation

This trip also makes a great 6-day trip by skipping the layover day (on the 5-day itinerary) and continuing to hike west on the Tonto Trail to Hance Creek, instead of heading up the New Hance Trail. We continue past Paige Spring to Horseshoe Mesa, where we’ll have the opportunity to explore an old copper mine and the Cave of the Domes (the only cave in Grand Canyon National Park visitors are allowed to explore). Then we hike out on the Grandview Trail, named for some of the biggest views in the Grand Canyon; as much as 100 miles on a clear day! This variation adds 12 miles of hiking and little to no changes in elevation from the 4-day itinerary.


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 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
  • 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 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.


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°