Winter Rim to Rim

Trip Description

This is the most classic hike in Grand Canyon but at a much quieter time of year! This tour offers you the opportunity to hike Rim to Rim when no one else is doing it. We begin the hike on the South Kaibab Trail, descending 7 miles to Bright Angel Campground in the bottom of the Canyon and a short walk from the Colorado River and historic Phantom Ranch. Next we continue along the North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Campground, relishing in the vastly different views and feel of the North Rim. Day 3 will be spent day hiking towards the North Rim and back, with another night at Cottonwood before retracing our steps to Bright Angel Campground on Day 4. On Day 5, we will pack our tents and sleeping bags on mules and head up the Bright Angel Trail with lighter backpacks to the South Rim. A 6-day itinerary includes a final night at Indian Garden Campground.

A Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hiking tour is the finest way to experience what this incredible National Park has to offer. Since 1999, this has been one of our most popular tours and our guides are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable in the business. Join us for the trip of a lifetime!

Call or email us with any questions.


Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 5 or 6 Days

Distance: 24 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate +

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: 5 Day: $1600/person, 6 Day: $1750/person

*All commercial trips in Grand Canyon National Park are subject to a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee will be added when you confirm your reservation and transferred directly to Grand Canyon National Park.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

Depart Flagstaff early for the drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the South Kaibab Trailhead. After final preparations, we will begin our trek down into the Canyon, stopping regularly for breaks, snacks and photo opportunities. Upon reaching the Colorado River, we cross the impressive Black Bridge just a few minutes from our home for the night at Bright Angel Campground. Relax by the creek while your guide sets up camp and prepares a delicious dinner. You will also have a chance to visit Phantom Ranch and take in a ranger-led program while the night sky fills with an unimaginable number of stars.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 4800 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

After breakfast we will begin our hike up to Cottonwood Campground. Highlights of today’s walk include The Box, a narrow section of winding canyon along the banks of Bright Angel Creek, and Ribbon Falls, a spectacular waterfall tucked away in an idyllic grotto just off the main trail. As you near Cottonwood Camp, the massive cliffs of the North Rim tower overhead. Tonight’s camp is the ideal place to stargaze, with lots of open sky to catch shooting stars and passing satellites.
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 1600 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

After a few hot cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast, we will strike out on a mission towards the North Rim. Traveling with just our day packs and essentials, we will make our way up the trail, past Roaring Springs and through the seemingly endless layers of colorful rocks laid down over millennia. The towering cliffs are nothing short of spectacular and the wilderness solitude is a rare treat. We will venture as far as conditions and energy allow. After a delicious lunch, we will head back down to camp for some well-deserved rest & relaxation.
Distance & Elevation: 10 to 14 miles, 2500 to 4500 foot ascent/descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today we’ll pack up and head back to Bright Angel Campground, enjoying lunch at Phantom Ranch. Spend the afternoon relaxing…you’ve been working hard!
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 1600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

We’ll be up early again to have breakfast, breakdown camp and pack up for the final leg of the journey. But today we’ll lighten our loads by packing out tents, sleeping bags and a few other items on the mules. We head up the famous Bright Angel Trail, featuring a stunning stretch along the Colorado River, the Granite Narrows of Pipe Creek and nice rest at Indian Gardens. We’ll top out in the early to mid-afternoon and celebrate a great accomplishment before heading back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 9.5 miles, 4400 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 1.5 hours

Day 6 option:

On Day 5 we will enjoy a lazy breakfast before packing up and continuing our trek up to Indian Garden Campground. In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely 1.5-mile hike out to Plateau Point, the finest place in Grand Canyon to watch the sunset. Day 6 finishes with a 4.5 mile hike to the South Rim.

*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 10-20% 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

2021 Dates

November: 18-22, 20-24, 28-December 2, 30-December 4

December: 10-14, 18-22, 29-January 2

2022 Dates

January: 18-22, 25-29

February: 1-5, 27-March 3

March: 6-10, 27-31

November: 18-22, 20-24

December: 1-5, 12-16, 19-23, 27-31


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

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

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

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.).