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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

Winter Rim to Rim to Rim


  •   Solitude on the most famous trails
  •   Traverse of the Grand Canyon twice
  •   Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River
  •   Waterfall oasis of Ribbon Falls
  •   Amazingly varying climatic zones
  •   Stunning canyon scenery


Our Winter Rim to Rim to Rim hiking tour is a rare opportunity to hike the Grand Canyon's most famous trails, see both rims in winter, and experience the amazingly diverse micro-climates in the Canyon, all while having it nearly all to yourself. We begin and end on the South Rim, crossing the Colorado River near Phantom Ranch, and continue up to a high camp where we day hike to the North Rim. And we see waterfalls, Indian ruins, box canyons and more en route!

This trip takes us down the South Kaibab Trail, which has arguably the best views in the Grand Canyon, up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim and back to the South Rim via the spectacular Bright Angel Trail. The first day we'll hike to Bright Angel Campground and the Colorado River, where we'll enjoy moderate desert temperatures at the bottom of the Canyon. From there we'll take 3 days to reach the North Rim and return to Bright Angel Campground. There are two variations for finishing the trip - as a 5-day trip with pack mules carrying the gear out the last day (10 miles, 4500 feet elevation gain), or as a 6-day trip with a final night at Indian Garden. Please check with our Adventure Consultants when planning your trip to make sure you get the variation you prefer.

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 Trip
Flagstaff, AZ
5 or 6 days
44mi / 71km
5 Days: $1395
6 Days: $1550
Early Reg: $1325/$1472

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.
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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)
NOVEMBER 2021 (register before 7/1/21)
DECEMBER 2021 (register before 8/1/21)

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 South Rim: 1.5-hour drive from Flagstaff
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 4,800 feet

This Grand Canyon backpacking trip begins on the South Kaibab Trail, a deservedly popular hiking trail that offers spectacular views both up and down the Grand Canyon. It’s 7.5 miles of well-maintained hiking to the Bright Angel Campground, our destination and camp for the first night. This camp is one of the most charming in Grand Canyon National Park as it’s situated at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the Colorado River and adjacent to Bright Angel Creek. Campsites are shaded by tall, spreading cottonwoods, piped drinking water is available, and nearby Phantom Ranch offers a snack bar.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet

On day two we’ll break camp and hike another 7 miles up to Cottonwood Campground. While hiking we’ll make a detour to a fantastic waterfall - Ribbon Falls. Cottonwood Campground will be our staging point for the next day’s hike to the North Rim.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 13.6 round-trip day hike miles
  • Elevation Gain: 4,161 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 4,161 feet

After a hearty early breakfast we’ll begin our hike toward the North Rim. (If the weather isn't favorable for the hike to the North Rim, we'll instead hike to Upper Ribbon Falls, which offers an exciting hike to a breathtaking waterfall.) The hike to the North Rim is a fantastic one for the natural history buff as we ascend through a semi-arid High Sonoran desert environment at mid-canyon to a dense mixed conifer forest on the rim. We’ll be rewarded with increasingly brilliant views as we hike upwards. Once to the top we’ll enjoy the view, have a snack and hike the same route back to camp.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1,600 feet

This day is done in reverse of day 2 back to Bright Angel Campground.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

Out of camp we’ll hike on the Bright Angel Trail along the Colorado and arrive at Pipe Creek. From here we’ll hike up Pipe Creek past its junction with Garden Creek to Indian Garden - a spring site that watered seasonal Havasupai garden plots for centuries. From here it’s a short final hike to our camp for the night - Indian Garden Campground - another enchanting Grand Canyon camp with shade and water.

Day 6
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
  • Shuttle to Flagstaff: 1.5-hour drive from the South Rim

A casual morning and delicious breakfast will precede a beautiful hike out as we continue our ascent to the rim via the Bright Angel Trail. It’s a 4.8 mile hike from camp to the South Rim, where we’ll look back over our trip and reflect on the beauty of this place and our accomplishment in achieving something that few have had the privilege of experiencing.


5-day Backpacking ($1395): On Day 5 we'll depart from Bright Angel Campground and hike all the way to the South Rim, which is 9.3 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gain. This option includes pack mules to carry our gear out from the bottom of the Canyon.

5-day with 1 night at Phantom Ranch ($1445): At the end of Day 4 we'll check into Phantom Ranch and celebrate our final evening in the Canyon in style with showers, warm beds and Phantom Ranch lodge meals. On Day 5 we'll depart from Phantom Ranch and hike all the way to the South Rim, which is 9.3 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gain. This option includes pack mules to carry our gear out from the bottom of the Canyon.

6-day with 2 nights at Phantom Ranch ($1750): At the end of Day 4 we'll check into Phantom Ranch for 2 nights, which gives us a layover day at Phantom Ranch to do more hiking and exploration or just relax. During our time at Phantom Ranch we'll enjoy showers, warm beds and Phantom Ranch Lodge meals. On Day 6 we'll depart from Phantom Ranch and hike all the way to the South Rim, which is 9.3 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gain. This option includes pack mules to carry our gear out from the bottom of the Canyon.

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
  • Use of trekking poles and Microspike Crampons
  • 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
  • Pack mules to carry the gear out on the final day as described in the itinerary (included on select trips only)
  • Phantom Ranch lodging and meals as described in the Itinerary (included on select trips only)
  • 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)
  • Microspike Crampons

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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