Canyon Classic

Trip Description

This is one of our most popular Grand Canyon backpacking tours and it’s great for people who are new to the canyon. We start our hike on the South Kaibab Trail, which offers the shortest possible route to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. Once we reach the canyon floor, we will cross the Colorado River via the Black Bridge, which brings us to camp at Bright Angel Campground. Here, you can relax by the creek, explore inner canyon trails, enjoy a sandy beach by the Colorado River, or visit historic Phantom Ranch. The next day starts with an extraordinary traverse along the Colorado River as we make our way towards the historic Bright Angel Trail and up to Havasupai Gardens Campground. We spend our last night here and enjoy a late afternoon stroll out to Plateau Point to take in a spectacular sunset. The last day we hike to the top of the South Rim, continuing along the Bright Angel Trail, and enjoy a delicious lunch with spectacular view. This tour offers you the best introduction to Grand Canyon hiking and backpacking.

*Due to temporary trail and campground closures, this trip will not be offered from December 14, 2024 through May 9, 2025. For excellent alternatives, we recommend the Hermit Loop or Grandview Loop, both of which feature excellent backcountry hiking and camping and equally fantastic secenery.


Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 3 or 4 Days

Distance: 17 to 24 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: 3 Day: $1400/person, 4 Day: $1650/person


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

This Grand Canyon hiking tour starts early with an enjoyable 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:

Today’s adventure starts with a breathtaking walk along the Colorado River, offering unparalleled views of the Inner Gorge and the surrounding buttes. The Bright Angel Trail will lead us onward and upward along Pipe and Garden Creeks, through the Devil’s Corkscrew and on to Havasupai Gardens, a beautiful, shaded oasis and our second campsite. After some rest and relaxation, we will take an enjoyable stroll out to Plateau Point to take in one of the greatest views Grand Canyon has to offer. Bring your camera…the sunsets here will leave you speechless!
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 1500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

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 (10ft wingspan). A big, tasty lunch and some time on the rim will allow you to celebrate your accomplishment before the drive back to Flagstaff.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 4.6 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch

4-Day Option:

This will include a layover day at Bright Angel Campground. This option allows a full day for day hike exploration of areas such as The Box, Clear Creek Trail, or perhaps Ribbon Falls. Or just spend some time relaxing in one of the most beautiful places in the world!

Temporary Itinerary Change (Dec 1, 2023 through Apr 14, 2024)

Due to a temporary closure of the Bright Angel Trail, all Canyon Classic trips will follow a modified 3-Day itinerary. We descend the South Kaibab Trail on Day 1 and spend two consecutive nights at Bright Angel Campground. Day 2 will be spent exploring the inner canyon with lightweight day packs. Options include hiking to an incredible and secluded vantage point above the Colorado River or exploring the North Kaibab Trail. Day 3 will ascend back up the South Kaibab Trail, a challenging 7-mile hike climbing 4800 feet. This significantly increases the difficulty level of this hike and should only be attempted by strong hikers in excellent physical fitness.

*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 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

Grand Canyon issues permits for backpacking trips approximately 5 months in advance via a lottery system. We can request permits for any date you like so be sure to contact us before the deadlines (noted below). Permits for the most popular trips will sell-out immediately during the initial lottery. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you contact us prior to the deadline for the month you are hoping to hike. Pre-registration is free!


2024 Dates

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

November: 4-6, 6-9, 14-16, 18-21, 25-27 (Pre-registration Deadline July 1, 2024)

December: 9-11, 15-18 (Pre-registration Deadline August 1, 2024)

Due to a temporary closure of Bright Angel Campground scheduled for December 19, 2024 through May 9, 2025, this trip will not be possible during the closure.


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

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

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

“The Grand Canyon is a very sacred place to me. I have done many guided trips in the Grand Canyon and Utah and I had used the same guiding company and had great experiences. I thought it would be impossible for any other company to exceed those experiences. I was very wrong.

With a lot of reservation, I decided to try another guiding company. Four Season Guides was the first guiding company that I contacted, and Immediately I was taken aback. Four Seasons was able to accommodate my trip requests and within a few minutes I was booked for the Canyon Classic. Each time that I contacted them they responded immediately. I was able to speak to the same person each time. Our guide, Jeremy, was an absolute dream come true. He greeted us with the biggest smile, and you instantly felt his love for his job and felt comfortable with his ability to make our adventure something that would be a precious memory lasting a lifetime. He was knowledgeable, funny and took excellent care of each of us. All our meals were excellent. He was patient and allowed time to take pictures and plenty of stops to just take in the views. It was not just our amazing group that fell in love with the Grand Canyon, you could see the love Jeremy had as he shared the same appreciation as we did.

Our group had various levels of abilities and Jeremy was able to handle our group with such professionalism. He was able to kick up a conversation with every single person as if we had all been best friends for life. I literately cannot say enough good things about Four Seasons or Jeremy. Dave and Jeremy have kept in contact regarding my next adventure. They are not pushy and have no interest other than making sure my hiking experiences are what I want. Four Seasons puts a lot of effort in making sure the trip you choose is something that is within your capabilities and that you are prepared so that you do not have to worry about anything other than taking in the majestic Grand Canyon.

If you are looking for an adventure of a lifetime with an experienced guiding company, where the guides share the same passion as you then look no further because I feel confident Four Seasons will exceed your expectations.” – Michelle H.

A trip that far exceeded expectations! I found Four Seasons Guides while reading about things to do while at the Grand Canyon and signed up for a four-day Canyon Classic backpacking trip. I am so glad that I did because I had the most amazing experience and cannot wait to do another! I had only spent a few nights camping in my life and had never done any serious hiking prior to this trip. David, the owner, was so kind and spoke to me at length on the phone about what to expect and how best to prepare for the trip.

Our guide, Bob, was FANTASTIC. He not only prepared some of the best backcountry meals I’ve ever had, but also was incredibly knowledgeable about the Grand Canyon. Bob made sure to pace the trip in a way that everyone was comfortable and we’d take breaks to snack/catch our breaths on particularly challenging sections of the trail.

While the trip was challenging, I found the entire thing very doable. Four Seasons really emphasizes that preparing for the trip is fundamental and I could not agree more. While the Chicago winter and general flatness of the surrounding area made it challenging to practice any serious elevation change, I found that all my effort weight-lifting prior to the trip made the experience that much more enjoyable in the Canyon. My knees were tired the day after our descent, but I really appreciated our day in/near Phantom Ranch as a day of shorter hikes and not carrying the big packs!

The gear they provided was great! I really appreciated having both an air mattress and a foam pad. The sleeping bags were warm and the tents were great (and amazingly very light). If you’re worried about the food–don’t be. We had a bag full of delicious snacks to choose from on the trip and I was especially impressed with dinners that included fresh vegetables even on Day 3!

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Four Seasons Guides. I felt so well taken care of the entire time I was in the Canyon and felt like I could always call beforehand if I had any questions. As someone who has spent so much time in cities, I enjoyed my time outdoors so much more than I expected. I cannot wait to join them on another trip!” – Victoria C.

“Our Grand Canyon hike with Matt was truly exceptional. From the first communications, the Four Seasons team was responsive, friendly and informative. The hike itself exceeded our expectations which is really saying something. Matt, and the company as a whole, clearly care about and have great respect for the Canyon. Matt was truly an expert on all things related to the Canyon. On more than one occasion we overheard other guides giving misinformation and also had guides ask Matt questions. It was such a comfort to be with someone who park rangers, other guides, phantom ranchers, and mule wranglers all knew and clearly respected. Not to mention he was just an awesome guy, made amazing meals (complete with fresh veggies every day!), and was a master at pacing the hike so we all enjoyed ourselves while pushing just enough. We are already planning our next trip with Four Seasons- just can’t decide which to do!” – Chris G.

“This trip was above & beyond anything we could have imagined! It was definitely a bucket list trip for me, and it was perfect! I also just wanted to take a minute to tell you how AMAZING Jeremy was. Truly such a professional, fun, extremely knowledgeable guide. My husband & I can’t say enough positive things about our time with Jeremy- from the extra steps of gloves/mask while preparing food, taking us on side excursions while sharing his knowledge, frequently checking in with each of us. Not to mention he checked in with people not even traveling with our group that were struggling, and bandaged a strangers foot who was in a pretty bad way. You can tell he is passionate about his job & goes much over the simple “job expectations”-he represents the company so well!! I won’t name any specific names but we talked to several companies before booking this trip and after seeing a few others on the trail, I am exuberant that we chose to book with y’all. Really no comparison between our experience and what we witnessed their experiences to be. We can’t wait to travel with y’all again!! I’m also including a picture of the group, Jeremy Packing up to leave after dinner, and a nice view of the bridge leaving phantom ranch-feel free to use any of them if you would like!” – Brittni M.

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.).