Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Grand Canyon Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Portered Cottonwood Creek

Highlights

  • Explore a wild and remote part of the Canyon while hiking with a light daypack
  • Soak up some of the very best views in the Grand Canyon
  • Enjoy fantastic canyon solitude and quiet camps
  • Visit desert springs and oases
  • Hike a seldom-used, adventurous and historic trail to the Colorado River
  • See relics and remnants of 19th century prospectors


Description

Our Portered Cottonwood Creek trip is an adventurous hike into a remote and quiet part of the Grand Canyon. It offers incredible views, fantastic natural and cultural history (including a 19th century mine and miner's cabin), great camping with lots of solitude, the ability to hike this area with just a light day pack, and the opportunity (not guaranteed) to reach the Colorado River via a historic trail that is rarely used today. (Read more about the porter service on this trip)

The trip lives up to its name the moment we start hiking as stunning panoramas of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River explode in front of us. The scenery continues to inspire as we descend to Horseshoe Mesa, which extends into the Canyon like the deck of a battleship with classic views in every direction.

We'll hike off the west side of the Mesa to Cottonwood Creek, where we'll spend two glorious nights. From camp we'll descend the Old Grandview Trail to the Colorado River on Day 2. Please note this trail is not maintained, is rarely hiked, and is steep and loose in places. Descending the Old Grandview Trail all the way to the Colorado River is an unforgettable adventure, but is not mandatory to join this trip, and reaching the Colorado River is not guaranteed.

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, PJ O'Malley

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the South Rim: 1.5-hour drive from Flagstaff
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Loss: 3,500 feet


We’ll begin this exceptional Grand Canyon hiking tour by hiking down the Grandview Trail, a historic Indian route rebuilt by Pete Berry for his Last Chance copper mine. Pete Berry and partners staked the Last Chance claim in 1890 and worked the mine on and off until 1916. We'll hike with light day packs to Horseshoe Mesa then drop off the west side to Cottonwood Creek, which is a remote camp nestled beneath a small grove of cottonwood trees. Cottonwood Creek is a spring-fed creek that trickles between pools near camp. Our camp and belonging will be waiting for us having been set up by the porters, and your guide will prepare a hearty dinner while you relax and soak up the views!


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Loss/Gain: 1,500+ feet

Today is a layover day at Cottonwood Creek to descend the Old Grandview Trail, which is a spectacular 6 mile round trip hike to the Colorado River and back (1500 feet elevation loss/gain). This ancient trail, which was built in the 1800's by a miner and hasn't been maintained for more than 50 years, is unknown to all but a few who call the Grand Canyon their second home (rangers and guides mainly). It's rarely hiked and is a truly memorable experience in and of itself.

Please note
: since this trail is not maintained its condition can vary and there are always some loose, exposed sections that may not be suitable for some guests. We do not guarantee reaching the Colorado River on this trip, but we do guarantee a tremendously scenic and adventurous journey into the Grand Canyon!


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet

Shuttle to the Flagstaff: 1.5-hour drive to Flagstaff

We'll get an early start, enjoy a quick breakfast and begin our hike back to the South Rim. Our route takes us back up the rugged Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, where we'll stop in the shade of Junipers, have a trail snack and soak up some more views. Then we'll continue up to the South Rim to where we started. An hour shuttle ride to Flagstaff gives us time to relax and reflect on the incredible journey we've just completed!


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
  • Porter service to carry the bulk of gear and food (Read more about the porter service on this trip)
  • 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 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)
  • 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)
         
 
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°