Trip Details

Type: Backpacking/Camping

Days: 3 or 4 Days

Distance: 20 mi/32 km

Difficulty: Intermediate +

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: 3 Day: $900/person, 4 Day: $1100/person

*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. 

Trip Description

Hike down the Grandview Trail and follow in the footsteps of the 19th century prospectors. The steep trail was first constructed by Pete Berry to access his copper claims on Horseshoe Mesa and the remains of his operation can still be seen today. After the first 3 miles, we arrive on Horseshoe Mesa and head west towards to Cottonwood Creek for our first night. Day 2 traverses east around the foot of the mesa on the Tonto Trail, offering epic views down to the Colorado River 1500 feet below. Arriving in Hance Creek, we will make camp and spend some time exploring the depths of this watery oasis. Day 3 climbs the steep trail past Page Spring back to Horseshoe Mesa before ascending the final 3 miles to the rim. A 4-day itinerary offers a final night on the mesa and the opportunity to explore the limestone caverns of Cave of the Domes, as well as savoring the unrivaled views from this sky island in the middle of Grand Canyon.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
Depart Flagstaff early for an enjoyable drive through the largest Ponderosa Forest in the world before arriving at the South Rim. We will hike 3.5 miles down to Horseshoe Mesa where we will eat our lunch, and enjoy a well earned break. We will then continue down to Cottonwood Creek on the west side of Horseshoe Mesa. This is where we will spend our first night below the rim. Cottonwood Creek provides a refreshing place to rest up. The creek polishes beautiful slickrock into narrows downstream and offers excellent afternoon exploration. This area was also home to ancient life; as you scan the cliffs with your eyes, see if you can spot the ancient granaries.

Day 2:
After breakfast, prepare for a full day of exploration. We will pack up camp and travel on the Tonto Trail around Horseshoe Mesa. The hike will include unbelievable vistas into the vast Grand Canyon and glances into the depths of the inner gorge. Drop below the Tonto plateau and find camp along Hance Creek. Settle in the shade of Cottonwood trees and soak your feet in the cool water or do a little exploring along the creek. As the sun goes down, enjoy the changing colors on the cliffs that surround you and watch as the stars slowly appear in the night sky.  This day really makes this adventure one of the finer backpack trips in the Grand Canyon.

Day 3:
After packing up camp we begin our ascent out of Hance Creek, up toward Horseshoe Mesa. We stop and rest in the shade of miner’s spring- a secret oasis off the main trail. The climb continues as we rejoin the Grandview trail on Horseshoe Mesa and retrace our path to Grandview Point. The views back towards Coronado Butte and the Sinking Ship, and the meandering Colorado River will be etched in your memory forever.

*A 4-Day itinerary offers a final night on Horseshoe Mesa, with it’s historic relics, wonderful solitude and incredible views.

* The final itinerary may change due to weather or any unforeseen circumstances.

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 light breakfast on Day 1 through lunch on the last day + trail snacks
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff, AZ to Grand Canyon
  • Entrance fees and backcountry permits

What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to/from Flagstaff, AZ
  • 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 backpacking 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 on backpacking trips. 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 Flagstaff, AZ and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (2 hour drive) or Flagstaff. 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 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the Four Season Outfitters shop in Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.

Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation. Most trips will depart between 4:30am and 7am. *This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?

We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at your hotel in Flagstaff and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the Embassy Suites (recommended) or Hampton Inn & Suites can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at our shop for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there.

What time will we get back on the last day?

Expect to be back in Flagstaff by 5pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Many 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.

2019 Dates

October: 1-3, 2-5, 18-20, 24-26, 25-27

November: 6-9, 11-13


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

Call 1-877-272-5032 or email us for details.