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Grand Canyon Hiking Guides
Grand Canyon Guided Treks
Grand Canyon Backpacking
Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Tour
Grand Canyon Guided Backpacking
Grand Canyon Backpacking Tour
Grand Canyon Hiking Guides
Grand Canyon Hiking Vacation

Packrafting Rim to Rim


  •   Rim to Rim hike without the crowds
  •   Rugged, historic trails
  •   Extraordinary canyon solitude
  •   Packrafting across the Colorado River!
  •   Exploration of side canyons and narrows
  •   Remote desert springs and oases


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!

It is strongly recommended to book your Grand Canyon backpacking trip 4+ 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!

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Backpacking/Packrafting Trip
Flagstaff, AZ
6 days
21mi / 34km
Per Person: $1825
Early Reg: $1735

Taxes & Fees

Travel from Phoenix to Flagstaff

  Private Trips

  See Trip Dates

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
  • Going Fast
  • Request a Reservation

Permitted and Confirmed Trip Dates
These trip dates are permitted and confirmed. Click on a date to book!

Pre-Permit 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)
SEPTEMBER 2021 (register before 5/1/21)
OCTOBER 2021 (register before 6/1/21)

SEPTEMBER 2022 (register before 5/1/22)
OCTOBER 2022 (register before 6/1/22)

Don't see your dates?
Call us and add any pre-permit dates you want!
800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

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.

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 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)
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
  • 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

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, 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? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green 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 ($100).

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.


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)
South Rim
Canyon Bottom

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

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.

backpacking meals

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.

backpacking campsites

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.

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