Kanab Creek Backpacking

Trip Description

This adventure is for the experienced backpacker who wants to explore the wilder side of Grand Canyon. The Kanab Creek Wilderness is 75,000 acres of deep sandstone and limestone gorges, slickrock expanses, freshwater springs, Native American relics and perfect solitude. Kanab Creek itself is the largest tributary system on the north side of Grand Canyon. This trip starts at Sowats Point, a remote trailhead on the North Rim, and descends into the Kanab Creek Wilderness. Your days will be spent descending Sowats, Jumpup & Kanab Canyons to explore the depths and secrets, before retracing our path back to the rim. There are many opportunities for exploration in this unparalleled wilderness. This is a challenging hike involving off-trail routes, scrambling and frequent stream crossings. However, the rewards are many for those who decide to visit this incredible area.


Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 5 Days

Distance: 36 miles

Difficulty: Advanced

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1800/person


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

This exciting Grand Canyon hiking tour starts at the remote Sowats Point along the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The steep upper sections of the trail will demand your attention as the footing is loose and rocky. After an initial descent of about 1500ft, the trail will level out as we begin our traverse along the Esplanade, eventually arriving at our camp in Sowats Canyon, near a beautiful spring and outstanding rock art.
Drive Time: 4.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, 2475 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

After a tasty breakfast, we’ll pack up camp and make our way into the depths of Kanab Creek. The Jumpup Canyon Narrows are the undisputed highlight of the day: 3 miles of continuous limestone narrows, at times 300 feet deep and as little as 20 feet wide. Once reaching the confluence with Kanab Canyon, we’ll head a few miles downstream and camp in the vicinity of Showerbath Spring. Rinse off in the glorious dripping spring, kick back and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by your guide.
Distance: 9 miles
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

After breakfast, we’ll head off for a full day of exploring without backpacks! The towering limestone cliffs of Kanab Creek soar overhead as we descend ever deeper into this wild canyon. We’ll enjoy delightful pools, small waterfalls, and polished limestone terraces, with every twist and turn offering stunning new sights. Perhaps we’ll even encounter some of the bighorn sheep that frequent this sedtion of canyon. We’ll enjoy lunch along the way before heading back to camp for some dinner and relaxation.
Distance: 6-8 miles
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today we’ll pack up camp and begin our trek back towards the rim. The going is slow as we work our way over and around the countless boulders strewn in our path. We will fill our water bottles at Showerbath Spring and head back through the Jumpup Canyon Narrows, equally as stunning the first time through. Camp will be made in the vicinity of Kwagunt Hollow, setting us up for shorter hike out to the rim. Kick back at the end of the day while your guide serves up another wonderful feast.
Distance: 7-9 miles
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Another hearty breakfast and a beautiful sunrise will start our sixth and final day. Your guide will pack up camp before our final climb to the rim. Frequent rests will afford plenty of opportunities to gaze back upon this remarkable landscape. We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch back on the rim before loading up for the drive back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, 1900 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch

*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 hotel 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

2024 Dates


Permits for the dates below have not yet been issued. Request these dates or choose your own.

October: 3-7, 10-14  (Pre-registration Deadline June 1, 2024)


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

Call 1-928-525-1552 or email us for details.

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

“Just returned from my 3rd Four Seasons hike, this time in the Kanab Creek wilderness which connects to the Grand Canyon. The hike description is spot-on, it will test you. You will see gorgeous narrow canyons, gentle streams and boulder strewn areas to navigate that show the power of canyon flash floods. Our guide Jeremy was fantastic, imparting interesting history of canyon explorers, leading us on a great day hike through Scotty’s Hollow that ended with dinner watching the recent Supermoon rise, and showing a keen sense of humor.” – George H.

“Awesome trip into the Canyon. I highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to see a less populated area of the canyon. Beautiful fern covered springs, waterfalls and narrow canyons. Definitely a challenging hike! This was our 13th trip with FSG. I highly recommend them.” – Janet G.

“I have recently completed a six day Kanab Creek hike which lived up to its billing of being “strenuous” and “challenging”, but as usual with FSG it was an excellent trip. The pre-trip planning and administrative details were handled very efficiently, and the hike itself from beginning to end was everything you would expect. Our leader, Scott, was supportive, very friendly, and always extremely professional. As a somewhat older hiker I was very appreciative of his keeping watch over me. The food on the hike, as usual, was extremely good, varied, and nutritious, everything you need during and after a hard day’s trek. We saw spectacular scenery, we worked hard, and we had unique camps in which to recharge for the next day. From beginning to end, FSG did a spectacular job, and I want to say how much I appreciate everything. Again, I especially want to thank Scott for another superb hike, and want to say thank you for being so concerned about taking good care of us.” – Dan S.

“I put my trust in Four Season Guides. Last year I did the rim to rim hike with my girl friends using their services. It was awesome, so I felt the pull to come back and bring my daughter for some mother/daughter bonding time. I also wanted something a little more off the grid and slightly more challenging. Dave, the boss of the company, found us the perfect hike! It was gorgeous (as he said it would be) and Scott was the most confident, prepared guide we could have asked for. Being more ‘backcountry’ gave me some concern, but Scott kept us safe and motivated. And he was a very good cook! There are other guide companies, but I would definitely go with FOUR SEASON GUIDES again!” – Sherrie H.

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.).