Type: Mule-supported hiking/camping
Days: 3 Days
Distance: 23 mi/37 km
Difficulty: Intermediate +
Origin: South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
*All commercial trips in Grand Canyon National Park are subject to a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is included in the advertised trip cost.
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!
* We do not hike with the pack mules. They simply carry everything in and out of the canyon so we can travel light!
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
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
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
*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.
- 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
- Duffel service for tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and 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 10-15% 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 10 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 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. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-877-272-5032
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). Please visit our Travel Resources page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.
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.
September: 7-9, 17-19, 28-30
October: 3-5, 13-15, 28-30
November: 2-4, 5-7, 13-15, 19-21, 27-29
December: 10-12, 14-16, 18-20, 21-23, 28-30
Call 1-877-272-5032 or email us for details.
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.).