Bright Angel Loop with Mule Support

Trip Description

This classic Grand Canyon hiking tour is perfect trip for people who are new to Grand Canyon and are interested in camping but not excited about carrying a big backpack. We start our hike on the South Kaibab Trail, which offers the shortest possible route to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. We spend 2 nights camped at the beautiful Bright Angel Campground and enjoy a layover on Day 2 to explore nearby trails, viewpoints, and hidden secrets. Day 3 climbs up and out of the canyon on the famous Bright Angel Trail. This is a fabulous introductory hike in Grand Canyon that features famous trails, classic scenery, and a chance to visit the historic Phantom Ranch. Enjoy all the rewards of a Grand Canyon hiking and camping experience while you guide handles all the work!

*Due to temporary trail and campground closures, this trip will not be offered from December 14, 2024 through May 9, 2025. For excellent alternatives, we recommend our Lodge-based Grand Canyon Tours or other Basecamp Adventures.


Trip Details

Type: Mule-supported hiking/camping

Days: 3 Days

Distance: 23 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate +

Origin: South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park

Cost: $1600/person


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

We will meet at the South Rim the morning of our hike and make our way to the South Kaibab Trailhead. After final preparations, we will begin our trek down into the Canyon, stopping regularly for breaks, snacks and photo opportunities. Upon reaching the Colorado River, we cross the impressive Black Bridge, just a few minutes from our home for the next two nights at Bright Angel Campground. Relax by the creek while your guide sets up camp and prepares a delicious dinner. You will also have a chance to visit Phantom Ranch and take in a ranger-led program while the night sky fills with an unimaginable number of stars.
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 4800 foot descent
Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Our second day affords us the opportunity to explore the many wonderful side canyons and trails in the bottom of the Canyon. Hike up the Clear Creek Trail to stunning views of the Colorado River. Explore the narrows of Phantom Canyon and its delightful pools and waterfalls. Or feel free to spend your time relaxing by the creek or cat-napping under a shady cottonwood tree. The day is yours to enjoy as you decide.
Distance & Elevation: Variable, depending on chosen hike
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

After an early breakfast we will begin our hike back up to the South Rim. Enjoy stunning views along the Colorado River before heading up Pipe Creek along the Bright Angel Trail. This trail offers a wonderful contrast to the views found along the Kaibab Trail on Day 1. Keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep and the endangered California condors soaring overhead. Enjoy a tasty lunch along the way while taking in the sweeping views across to the North Rim. You will thrill at the feeling of reaching the trailhead in Grand Canyon Village, knowing that you have just completed one of the greatest hikes in the world.
Distance & Elevation: 9.5 miles, 4400 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.


Is this trip for me?

This hike is rated Intermediate Plus. It is intended for active people who exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and do not have any chronic knee issues. Though mules will carry all of the camping gear, that does not mean that this is an easy Grand Canyon hike. It is a strenuous endeavor and the decision to join one of these trips should not be taken lightly. Each participant must be able to comfortably manage an approximately 20-pound backpack while hiking for 7 to 9 hours on steep canyon trails, descending or ascending more than 4500 feet in a single day. The descent into Grand Canyon is perhaps the most challenging part of the hike and the physical demands of downhill hiking is often underestimated.

It is each participant’s responsibility to ensure they possess the level of physical fitness required to complete the hike. Do not take this lightly or fail to properly prepare for the hike. If you are not already a very active person in excellent health, then you are encouraged to consider a different trip style. 

What's Included

  • A professional, licensed and medically trained guide
  • All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
  • All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your guide will prepare all meals)
  • All meals from a lunch on Day 1 through lunch on the last day + trail snacks
  • Backcountry permits and fees
  • 5% National Park Service Commercial Fee (a required fee that passes through to Grand Canyon National Park)
  • Duffel service for tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, group gear and food to be carried by the mules. Participants only carry personal clothing/items.

What's Not Included:

  • Transportation to/from Grand Canyon, South Rim
  • Lodging the night before/after the trip
  • Clothing, raingear, and footwear
  • Personal toiletries, sunscreen
  • Water bottles/hydration bladder
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (suggested 10-20% of trip cost)

*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?

Most camping trips in Grand Canyon will accommodate 5 people plus one guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 9 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?

Children under the age of 13 are generally not permitted. This restriction may be negotiable on private tours. Please contact us with any questions regarding this policy.

How do I sign up?

In order to confirm a reservation, we require an initial non-refundable deposit of $250 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.

Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. You can also pay by personal check or PayPal (PayPal incurs a 1.5% surcharge). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-877-272-5032

Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?

This trip will begin/end in Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure here. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (3.5 hour drive) or Flagstaff (1.5 hour drive).

Where do meet our guides?

We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 5:00pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the Bright Angel Lodge. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation. Most trips will depart between 5:30am and 7:30am.

What will the mules carry? What will I carry?

The mules will carry your tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, all group kitchen/eating gear and food. Each person is expected to carry up to 15 pounds. This will include 3 liters of water (~ 6 pounds) and all personal clothing/items. The weight you carry is largely dependent on how much personal clothing/items you bring.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?

On the morning of your hike’s departure, the group will meet at the Backcountry Information Center at a predetermined time. There is a large, long-term parking area here where you can leave your car. Most guests leave their extra luggage in their car during the hike. However, feel free to discuss luggage storage options with your hotel. They are often willing to accommodate you, especially if you will be spending an additional night there after the hike.

What time will we get back on the last day?

Expect to be back on the South Rim by 4pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2024 Dates

September: 5-7, 9-11,15-17, 18-20, 21-23, 24-26, 29-October 1

October: 5-7, 10-12, 13-15, 22-24

Permits for the dates below have not yet been issued. Request these dates or choose your own.

November: 3-5, 7-9, 15-17, 25-27 (Pre-registration Deadline July 1, 2024)

December: 1-3, 5-7, 11-13, 16-18 (Pre-registration Deadline August 1, 2024)

Due to a temporary closure of Bright Angel Campground scheduled for December 19, 2024 through May 9, 2025, this trip will not be possible during the closure.


Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!

Call 1-928-525-1552 or email us for details.

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

“Four Seasons is the gold standard of guided hiking trips! I just returned from a mule assisted hike to the bottom of Grand Canyon with guide Jeremy. I’ve traveled with other companies in U.S. parks and abroad, and Four Seasons tops them all. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable, experienced, fit and fun to hike with. The equipment is well maintained and of good quality. The food is outstanding, plentiful and tailored to your needs (vegetarian, lactose free, GF. Whatever your requirements). If you want to enjoy the hike without the hassle of putting it together, I heartily recommend Four Seasons.” – Anne T.

“This was our best trip ever. We were a group of four, Mum, Dad, and 2 adult kids on our first family trip in years. Lily was our guide – knowledgeable, patient, informative, great cook and great fun. She has an intuitive ability to cajole and encourage a group to make the most of what should be – and was for us – the trip of a lifetime. Our overall experience of Four Season Guides is that they are a professional, well run, and friendly who genuinely care for the lucky guests they guide through some of the most beautiful and impressive – I almost said awesome – places on the planet.” – Rory N.

“Just back from a guided trip into the Grand Canyon, led by Karne from Four Seasons. The trip, Karne (!), and really everything from our initial contact with FSG on were truly first rate. Dave and Scott were highly responsive to all our pre-trip questions and a pleasure to work with. Our amazing hike into the GC was significantly enhanced by Karne’s knowledge of the canyon, as well as her expertise in leading us and making sure we were prepared throughout the trip. The camping gear provided by FSG was excellent. All in all a most memorable experience. I would highly recommend FSG.” – Pat H.

“For my third time, I chose Four Seasons Guides to make my Grand Canyon experience safe and wonderful. Four Seasons Guides has consistently provided me with seasoned guides who earn your respect and generate your total appreciation. Each of the guides I have used over the 9 years (Scott, Bob and Jeremy) are well prepared, totally knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your Grand Canyon experience.” – Steve C.

“This was my 3rd trip with Four Seasons and as usual they did a fantastic job. Dave is extremely knowledgeable about the history of the canyon and a great cook. I will definitely use Four Seasons in the future.” – Dennis S.

When booking your Grand Canyon hiking trip, make sure that you book out at least 4+ months in advance due to Grand Canyon National Park’s permit system. The deadline to apply for backpacking permits is on the first of the month, 4 months prior to the month you intend to hike (i.e. January 1 deadline for all May trips, February 1 for June, March 1 for July…etc.).