Horseshoe Mesa

Trip Description

This Grand Canyon hiking tour is the perfect trip for those looking to get a taste of Grand Canyon’s wilder side in just a few days. The Grandview Trail was built in the 1890s to access Pete Berry’s Last Chance Mine and remnants of the original trail work can still be seen today. This steep but well-traveled route leads hikers quickly down 2500 feet to Horseshoe Mesa, a broad flatland formation offering some of the best views found below the rim. From your primitive, backcountry campsite you will have the opportunity to explore beautiful Cottonwood Creek with its impressive sandstone narrows, old mining relics, and incomparable views. Each night you will be treated to some of the best sunsets night skies in the Southwest. The quiet and solitude experienced on this wonderful backpacking trek will certainly reward and rejuvenate your senses!


Trip Details

Type: Custom Backpacking

Days: 3 Days

Distance: 15 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1250/person


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

This fantastic Grand Canyon hiking tour begins at the South Rim. We kick things off with a hike on one of the South Rim’s best trails. The Hermit Trail offers a chance to hike below the South Rim while avoiding the crowds on the busier trails. Stunning views and tranquil solitude make this an excellent beginning to your Grand Canyon exploration. After a picnic lunch along the trail, we return to the rim and begin making our way east to Desert View for its spectacular and unique views of the canyon and the distant Painted Desert. We then exit the park and drive through the Painted Desert to our cozy lodge in Marble Canyon. After some well-deserved showers, we will head out for a delicious dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours to South Rim, then 1.5 hours to Marble Canyon
Distance & Elevation: ~6 miles, 1500 foot descent/ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Arise early for a cup of hot coffee as the sunrise paints the surrounding canyon in gorgeous colors. After a tasty breakfast, your guide will lead you on a rewarding day of exploration. Cottonwood Creek is a watery oasis with lush vegetation, impressive sandstone narrows and inviting pools. Explore its depths or relax by the creek in the shade of a cottonwood tree. In the afternoon, you will have a chance to explore and savor the amazing viewpoints found around the mesa. At the end of the day, kick back and enjoy the views while your guide fixes another tasty dinner.
Distance & Elevation: 6 to 8 miles, 1000 foot descent/ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Arise early for sunrise coffee and prepare for your hike back up to the South Rim. Your guide will prepare a hearty breakfast and pack up camp before we set out, retracing our steps up the Grandview Trail. Along the way, look back in awe at the landscape you spent the last few days exploring. One last lunch at Grandview Point on the South Rim and then it’s back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 3 miles, 2500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 1.5 hours

*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
  • 5% National Park Service Commercial Fee (a required fee that passes through to Grand Canyon National Park)

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 10-20% 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 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 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.

Where do meet our guides?

We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:00pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.

Most trips will depart between 4:30am and 6:30am. *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 Little America Hotel (recommended) can leave their cars at the hotel. The hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at our warehouse 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.

Trip Dates


This is a custom backpacking trip. Available dates are published as trips are scheduled and space allows.


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

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

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