Trip Details

Type: Backpacking/Camping

Days: 3 or 4 Days

Distance: 15 to 20 mi/24 to 32 km

Difficulty: Intermediate (3-Day), Intermediate + (4-Day)

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.

On the somewhat easier 3-Day itinerary, we will take one of several trails that lead back up to Horseshoe Mesa where we will spend our second night. Once climbing back up to the mesa, we will set-up camp and spend the reminder of the day exploring and enjoying the outstanding views before hiking back up the Grandview Trail on Day 3.

The more physically demanding 4-Day itinerary continues east on Day 2 towards Hance Creek. 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 where we will spend the afternoon exploring 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. Our final day ascends the last 3 miles to the South Rim.


Guest Testimonials

“I returned a couple of weeks ago from my 4 day guided Grandview Loop hike with Four Season Guides, and the trip was AMAZING!! I am still on a high about the hike! I have done tons of day hikes, but have never done overnight hiking, and was a little apprehensive, but Four Season guides made it very easy. Their packing list was spot-on, Dave was available for all of my questions by email, & Bob, our guide was terrific. The hike was challenging and so rewarding. The views were incredible and being out in nature day and night with silence and stars felt so good to my soul. I highly recommend Four Season Guides and will definitely hike with them again; hopefully in the near future!” – Darlene I.


“I went for a 3 day Grandview Loop backpacking trip which turned out to be one of the amazing experiences of life. Our guide Matt was fantastic. I have never come across a guide who is so passionate and knowledgeable. Matt prepared all the meals for us which were delicious. In summary it was a fantastic experience and I look forward to some more trips in future with Four Season Guides.” – Fazal A.


“Fantastic, professional, one-of-a-kind experience! Four Seasons Guides are consummate professionals, knowledgeable, and excellent at getting the whole family engaged and energized. We hiked, laughed and faced very adverse conditions with no complaints from kids and never felt like the guides did not have everything under control. Bob and Brandon were a great team – Use them or any 4SG pro’s!!! 3 days 2 nights in Cottonwood Canyon and Horseshoe Mesa. Fantastic, totally professional guides who can have fun, teach and make sure everyone gets home with a big smile!” – David L.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
Depart Flagstaff early for an enjoyable drive to the South Rim and the Grandview Trailhead. 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.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 3500 foot descent
Light Breakfast,Lunch, Dinner

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. We will choose one of 2 routes to climb back up to the Mesa where we will establish camp and spend the remainder of the day exploring with day packs. Spend your time exploring the Cave of the Domes, checking out inspiring viewpoints and taking in an amazing sunset. Horseshoe Mesa offers great opportunities to spend the day soaking up the impressive canyon views.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 1000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
After a beautiful sunrise and leisurely breakfast, we will pack up camp and begin our ascent out of the canyon. The steep climb demands regular breaks to catch our breath, as well as take in the remarkable scenery. The views back towards Coronado Butte and the Sinking Ship, and the meandering Colorado River will be etched in your memory forever. Upon arrival back at Grandview Point, we will celebrate our accomplishment with a delicious lunch overlooking the canyon. The drive back to Flagstaff should have us arriving by 3pm at the latest.
Distance & Elevation: 3 miles, 2500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch

4-Day Itinerary

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.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 200 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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 where we will make camp and spend the remainder of the day exploring with day packs. Spend your time exploring the Cave of the Domes, checking out inspiring viewpoints and taking in an amazing sunset. Horseshoe Mesa offers great opportunities to spend the day soaking up the impressive canyon views.
Distance & Elevation: 5 to 6 miles, 1200 foot ascent
Breakfast,Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
After a beautiful sunrise and leisurely breakfast, we will pack up camp and begin our ascent out of the canyon. The steep climb demands regular breaks to catch our breath, as well as take in the remarkable scenery. The views back towards Coronado Butte and the Sinking Ship, and the meandering Colorado River will be etched in your memory forever. Upon arrival back at Grandview Point, we will celebrate our accomplishment with a delicious lunch overlooking the canyon. The drive back to Flagstaff should have us arriving by 3pm at the latest.
Distance & Elevation: 3 miles, 2500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 1.5 hours

* 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.

2020 Dates

March: 14-17, 18-20, 26-29, 30-April 1

April: 8-11, 13-15, 22-24, 27-30

May: 4-6

October: 1-3, 5-8, 18-20, 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.

When booking your Grand Canyon backpacking 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.).