Trip Details

Type: Backpacking/Camping

Days: 4 or 5 Days

Distance: 30 mi/48 km

Difficulty: Intermediate +

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: 4 Day: $1100/person, 5 Day: $1300/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

This rewarding Grand Canyon backpacking tour is a great first step away from the popular corridor trails and into Grand Canyon’s more rugged backcountry. The route descends from the South Rim on the historic Hermit Trail. Constructed by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1912, the Hermit is one of the more adventurous trails in the park and requires hikers to negotiate large boulder fields, exposure to heights, and steep descents. You’ll marvel at the sweeping views as you make your way down to your first night’s camp beside the peaceful Hermit Creek. Over the next two days, you’ll travel east along the Tonto Trail, traversing in and out of the many side canyons and being treated to some of the most awe-inspiring views Grand Canyon has to offer. Enjoy the quiet and solitude of your campsite in Salt Creek followed by a final night at Indian Garden Campground. Don’t miss a sunset at Plateau Point, the perfect way to cap off this outstanding hike. The upper 4.5 miles of the Bright Angel Trail will take you back to the South Rim on your last day.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
Depart Flagstaff early for the drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Hermit Trailhead. After final preparations, we will begin our trek down into the Canyon, stopping regularly for breaks, snacks and photo opportunities. Keep your eyes open for the numerous fossils found in the trailside rocks. After a lengthy traverse through stunning redrock cliffs, you’ll begin the rocky descent down the Cathedral Stairs before leveling out for the last few miles into camp along Hermit Creek. Relax by the creek while your guide sets up camp and prepares a delicious dinner.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 7.8 miles, 3800 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:
After a tasty breakfast, your guide will pack up camp and lead the group along the Tonto Trail to Salt Creek. You’ll pass through Monument Canyon along the way and be treated to epic views of the Colorado River, Granite Rapids and The Abyss. Your camp in Salt Creek is the epitome of solitude. You’ll have Grand Canyon all to yourself.
Distance & Elevation: 7.2 miles, minor decent & ascents
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
Continuing east along the Tonto Trail, you’ll enjoy another day of beautiful vistas and peace and quiet. The sculpted buttes of the North Rim and the towering canyon walls of Horn Creek are highlights of this wonderful stretch of trail. Your camp at Indian Garden offers lush groves of shady cottonwood trees. Take a stroll out to Plateau Point for sunset before your last night’s rest beneath the starry skies.
Distance & Elevation: 7.2 miles, minor decent & ascents
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
After packing up camp we begin our final ascent to the South Rim. This stretch of trail offers some of the best chances to see the endangered California Condor, the largest bird in North America. A big, tasty lunch and some time on the rim will allow you to celebrate your accomplishment before the drive back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 4.6 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

*5-Day Option: This itinerary offers a more relaxed pace and will allow more time for exploring Hermit and Monument Canyons. Your second night will be spent camped along the Colorado River at Granite Rapid. The rest of the itinerary remains the same.

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

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

September: 23-27, 29-October 2

October: 2-5, 8-12, 18-21, 23-26, 30-November 3

November: 7-10, 13-16, 17-21

December: 16-20


2020 Dates

January: 6-10, 16-19

February: 13-17, 24-27

March: 9-12, 16-20, 18-21, 22-26, 24-27, 30-April 2

April: 6-9, 9-12, 13-17, 19-22, 27-30

May: 4-7, 7-10, 11-15

More dates to come soon…

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.).