Marble Canyon & Vermilion Cliffs Lodge-Based Hiking

Trip Description

This fantastic off-the-beaten-path hiking trip offers you the opportunity to explore some of the most remarkable landscapes in the Grand Canyon region through a series of exciting day hikes. Featuring trails at Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Marble Canyon, and Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, you’ll spend your days hiking narrow canyons, climbing to stunning viewpoints and wandering through some of the most fascinating landscapes in the Southwest. Your last day features a float through the peaceful grandeur of Glen Canyon on the Colorado River. This trip focuses on discovering the lesser-known wonders of this incredible region and avoiding the more popular and crowded tourist areas. Each day holds a new and exciting adventure and your nights are spent in the comfort of a lodge nestled at the base of the towering Vermilion Cliffs and dining at various nearby restaurants. The combined experiences throughout the tour will earn you a well-rounded sense of everything the greater Grand Canyon region has to offer.

Call or email us with any questions.


Trip Details

Type: Lodge-Based Hiking

Days: 4 Days

Distance: ~25 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1950

Single Supplement: + $300


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

Depart Flagstaff early for your scenic drive through northern Arizona. Our destination will be the South Rim of Grand Canyon for a scenic day hike, viewpoints and a picnic lunch. We will choose a quiet trail and venture more than a thousand feet below the rim to soak up the majestic views and tranquil wilderness. After the hike we will rest our legs while we take in remarkable vistas including the many colorful layers of the Painted Desert, Little Colorado River Gorge, and Vermillion Cliffs before arriving at Marble Canyon. Enjoy a shower before a relaxing dinner at the lodge.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours to South Rim, then 1.5 hours to Marble Canyon
Distance & Elevation: up to 6 miles, 1500 foot descent/ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

After a delicious breakfast at the lodge, we are off for a full day of exploring some quiet, off-the-beaten-path canyons.  We will embark on an exciting hike through a stunning, narrow canyon that winds its way down to the banks of the Colorado River. The gorge grows deeper with every step, until the cliffs are several hundred feet overhead. Arriving at the banks of the river, we will pause to relax and soak in the beauty of this beautiful and remote location. We return the way we came and then head over to the historic Navajo Bridge for lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for the chance of sighting the remarkable California Condors that frequent this site. After lunch, it’s off to a secret canyon that’s home to ancient rock art: cliff paintings left by the Ancestral Puebloan culture that called this region home more than one thousand years ago. After a full day of exploring, we will return to the lodge for showers and dinner.
Drive Time: 30 minutes
Distance & Elevation: ~6 miles, 500 foot descent/ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the world. Our access is via another, even narrower canyon where the sculpted sandstone walls are often only a few feet wide. Arriving in Buckskin, the canyon walls now tower 150 feet overhead and widen to about 20 feet. We will spend a few hours exploring this serpentine labyrinth admiring nature’s wondrous creation. If time permits later in the day, we will head to a wonderful expanse of sculpted rocks unknown to most visitors. This otherworldly landscape is unlike anything you’ve seen. After another great day of exploring, it’s back to the lodge for showers and dinner, and perhaps some evening stargazing.
Drive Time: 2 hours roundtrip
Distance & Elevation: ~8 miles, minimal elevation change
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today we will pack up and be on our way after breakfast. Our first stop includes a short hike to Horseshoe Bend Overlook, an iconic turn in the Colorado River as it carves a course 2000 vertical feet below. Then we will meet our raft guides for a peaceful float trip down the Colorado River through the very stretch of canyon you just viewed from above. This float will last until 3:00pm and take you to Lee’s Ferry where your guide will meet you and you will then travel back to Flagstaff. We will arrive in Flagstaff around 5:30 pm.

Drive Time: 2 hours back to Flagstaff
Distance & Elevation: 1.5 miles, 200 foot ascent/descent
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: day pack, trekking poles, traction devices (for icy conditions)
  • Three nights lodge accommodations in Marble Canyon
  • 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
  • Park entrance fees
  • 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?

Your guide will pick you up at your Flagstaff hotel the morning of your trip’s scheduled departure, at a pre-determined time. Most trips depart between 6am and 8am. We strongly recommend staying at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff the night prior to departure, where we have arranged discounted rates for our guests.

You will receive an orientation email approximately 5 days pror to your trip’s departure with last-minute details and helpful information.

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

2023 Dates

April: 3-6, 10-13, 18-21

May: 8-11



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

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

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

“We spent four amazing days, hiking down into the Grand Canyon, climbing cliffs and floating on the Colorado. We booked the trip through Four Seasons and it was a true trip of a life time! We brought our four teen aged kids and experienced sights and adventures beyond imagination. I can’t wait to travel with Four Seasons again!!”   – Jennifer A.

“My 2 teenagers (ages 16 and 18) and I did the Marble Canyon & Vermilion Cliffs Lodge-based hiking trip in March of 2019. It was an amazing 4 day and 3 night trip. My teenagers loved it! My daughter did not want to camp so we decided on the lodge based trip. The lodge where we stayed was clean, comfortable and close to the hikes. What really made the trip GREAT was our guides Scott and Bob. There were both great people. They made us feel comfortable and welcomed. They have incredible knowledge of the area and history of the Grand Canyon. Totally enjoyed hearing all their stories. I am looking forward to another guided trip with Four Season Guides soon.”  -Lawrence K.

“Three friends and I participated in the Marble Canyon trip in March 2017 and all four of us were beyond delighted with the entire trip from the beginning orientation until our rafts landed at Lee’s Ferry on the last day. We had an OUTSTANDING guide who not only led us on some of the most spectacular hikes I have ever meandered about, but she also was extraordinarily knowledgeable about the Canyon and the surrounding area…a totally unexpected and wonderful bonus for the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed our accommodations in Marble Canyon. I loved the peace and quiet and immense beauty of being nestled in amongst the Vermilion Cliffs. So so much better than the over crowded South Rim places!!

As my husband and I begin to plan our Rim to Rim hike in the Canyon, we are definitely going to contact Four Seasons Guides to guide us there!! Their services are worth every penny!!! I highly highly recommend this guiding outfit and will use their services again and again!!!”   -Suzanne R.

“We just did the Marble Canyon /Vermilion Cliffs trip and it was wonderful. Bob was knowledgeable entertaining and very patient with our younger hikers (9 and 11) who had good stamina but needed more frequent bathroom breaks… Bob was able to avoid the crowded areas during a very busy Canyon visitation week and we had a fantastic and unique experience catered to our family. Cliff Dwellers was an amazing location to stay the night and the food was good and plentiful. Hoping to hike with Four Seasons Guides in the future.”  -Jennifer J.