Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What's included in the price?

  • Professional, knowledgable & medically certified guides
  • Transportation to and from the trailhead via origin city/town
  • Entrance fees into the park (when entering in a Four Season Guides vehicle)
  • Backcountry permits
  • All necessary gear: sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, tents, trekking poles, cookware & utensils
  • All meals starting with lunch on Day 1 through lunch on the last day, trail snacks
  • Lodging on our Lodge-Based tours (not including the nights before/after tour)
  • A lifetime of great memories!

What’s not included?

  • Transportation to/from trip meeting location
  • Lodging the night before/after the trip
  • Clothing, raingear, and footwear
  • Personal toiletries, sunscreen
  • Water bottles/hydration bladder
  • headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (suggested 15% of trip cost

How large are the groups?

Our average group size is 5 or 6 guests to 1 guide.   Some of our trips can have as many as 10 guests, but when our trips exceed 6 guests we will have 2 guides in order to maintain an exceptional level of service.

Are solo travelers permitted?

Yes.  Singles are more than welcome to join an existing trip.  We may require a single supplement fee that ranges from $45-$450 depending upon the trip.

Is there a minimum number of people required for a trip to run?

For most trips, we require two or more guests for the trip to run and four or more guests for a kayaking trip to run.

What age range do you recommend?

Many of our trips are appropriate for anyone over the age of 12. Some trips may be suitable for children as young as 8 years old. However, every trip varies so please contact one of our trip specialists for more information.

Do you offer private or customized trips?

Yes, call or email us with your request. We offer custom itineraries for small and large groups as well as private tours (costs vary). If you don’t see a trip on our schedule that interests you, please contact our trip specialists to discuss the possibility. If we operate in that particular National Park/Monument, chances are that are guides know the trails/areas and we would be happy to arrange a trip for you.

What can I expect the weather to be like on my trip?

Be aware that the weather in and around the canyons and high mountains can change at any time. The elevation in the Southwest can range from 2000 feet to over 9000 feet above sea level, and some of our camps in the High Sierra’s are over 10,000 feet/3000m, so one can expect all four seasons. You must be prepared for warm and cold in the spring and fall. Temperatures in the middle of the summer can be HOT in the Southwest! They have been known to exceed 120F (48C) at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in July. In the winter, we can see freezing temperatures at night and the occasional snowstorm. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Do you cater to dietary restrictions?

Yes. If you have any diet restrictions or preferences (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) please let us know well in advance and we will accommodate your needs as much as possible.  Our trip specialists will work closely with you to custom tailor a menu that will meet your needs and wishes. Certain dietary requirements may involve a supplemental fee.

Can I be contacted in case of an emergency?

Please tell friends and family members to call (928) 525-1552 if there is an emergency.  Depending on the trip, it can take up to 24 hours (or more) for us to get a message to you in the backcountry.

Should we tip the guide?

It is never expected, but always appreciated. Our guides are the best in the business and will do everything they can to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime. Gratuities are a wonderful way for you to show your appreciation for the personalized care and attention you receive. A typical gratuity on a trip is 15-20% of the trip’s cost.

Booking Questions

How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?

We recommend 6+ months to secure your preferred dates. However we welcome last minute inquires. Grand Canyon permits become available 5 months prior to the month you want to hike. If you are interested in specific dates, please contact us at least 6 months in advance in order to have the best chance of securing those dates.

How do I make a reservation?

You can start the process by submitting a Reservation Request right here on our website. Or you can call 1-928-525-1552 to speak with a trip specialist. To guarantee your reservation, we require a $250 per person deposit payable by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or ACH bank transfer. The remaining balance is due 90 days prior to the trip departing. If booking less than 90 days from the departure date, full payment is required. After submitting a Reservation Request or speaking with a trip specialist, we will email you a payment link.

What is your cancellation policy?

Please visit our Cancellation Policy page for details.

Do you recommend purchasing Trip Protection Insurance?

Absolutely! It is not uncommon that some of our guests must cancel their trips due to unforeseen reasons. We strongly recommend buying Travel Protection Insurance. Prior to trip departure, a sudden illness or injury involving yourself, a family member, or a travel companion can lead to a canceled trip. Also, unexpected travel interruptions and delays can cause guests to miss the tour departure. Travel Protection Insurance also provides full medical coverage in the event of an accident or illness incurred while traveling.

When Four Season Guides secures your tour, we incur many non-refundable expenses. When a guest cancels a reservation, we must enforce our cancellation policy. Once you are within 30 days of the departure date (or 60 days for Phantom Ranch and Custom/Private trips), these consequences become significant and result in a full forfeiture of your trip cost. Furthermore, the majority of travel insurance claims happen one week prior to trip departure. For this reason, we strongly recommend buying Travel Protection Insurance.

Please visit our Travel Protection Insurance page for details.

What additional policies apply to my reservation?

Please visit our Terms & Conditions page for details. Additonally, all participants must meet the Essential Eligibility Criteria for any given tour. You can find more information HERE.

Do you ever cancel trips due to weather?

Trips go rain, snow or shine. However, we reserve the right to change the trip itinerary due to weather or any other conditions beyond our control. Four Season Guides reserves the right to cancel a trip due to extreme weather circumstances. We only do this with everyone’s safety in mind.

Here are some weather links:
Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
Phantom Ranch/Bright Angel Campground
Havasu Falls – Grand Canyon
Escalante, Utah
Canyonlands/Arches, Utah
Yosemite National Park (Yosemite Valley)

Trip Difficulty & Training Questions

Can anyone participate on these trips?

Our tours are decidedly active pursuits and participants should expect to be outside and hiking in varying weather conditions and over variable terrain. Our tours also have age restrictions, as some of our trips are likely inappropriate for young children.

Participants must be able to meet the Essential Eligibility Criteria relevant to the trip they are intending to register for. For more information about Essential Eligibility Criteria, click HERE.

In general, we highly encourage you to contact our team to discuss tour difficulty and help you determone what might be appropriate, based upon your fitness level, experience, and expectations.

Do I have to have previous hiking/backpacking experience?

No.  But you should be in good physical shape.  Backpacking trips require participants to carry at least 30 pounds, often for 5-7 miles per day over varying terrain. If you want to enjoy your backpacking trip as much as possible, please put in the time to physically prepare yourself. Our trip specialists can assist in recommending appropriate training exercises and help you determine what trips are best for your level of fitness.

We also offer a number of fantastic trips that do not require carrying a heavy backpack. Mule-assisted, basecamp and lodge-based adventures are all excellent options for folks looking for a more “easy-going” outdoor experience! But keep in mind, all of our overnight trips are designed to appeal to healthy, active travelers. Expect to spend the majority of each day hiking in the outdoors!

How do you rate these hikes?

All of our trips are focused on active, outdoor pursuits and are designed for people looking to spend most of their vacation hiking in the outdoors. That being said, our wide variety of trips feature varying degrees of difficulty. Each trip is assigned a difficulty rating. These ratings are designed to help you determine that approximate difficulty of the hiking and decide whether or not this is the right trip for you.

Please visit our Trip Difficulties page for more information.

How much weight will I have to carry?

An average backpack on a 3 or 4 day backpacking trip weighs a total of 30 to 35 lbs (13.5 to 16 kg). You can add 5 to 10 pounds (2.2 to 4.5 kg) for winter hikes and trips lasting 5 to 6 days.  Weight for trips lasting more than six days can vary (please inquire) but it may reach 50 lbs (23 kg).

For Mule-Assisted & Basecamp/Lodge-Based Trips- pack mules carry most of the gear in and out of the campground, so your day pack will weigh less than 20 lbs (9 kg). Our Basecamp/Lodge-Based trips just require carrying a day pack, usually less than 10 lbs (5 kg).

How should I train for the trip?

When you register for a trip, we will provide you with detailed training information specific to your trip to help you get physically prepared. But in general, our trips are designed for healthy, active people who enjoy spending the vast majority of each day hiking over variable terrain.

Travel Questions

Meeting time and place?

We offer a variety of trips in a number of National Parks and Monuments across the Southwest so our meeting places/times vary. You can find this information in your trip’s description on this website. Or feel free to contact our trip specialists for more information. Most trips involve a short welcoming orientation the evening before the trip departs. We request that you consider this when making your travel arrangements.

Can I arrive the same day the trip departs/fly home the same day the trip ends?

We will require that you arrive at the meeting location the evening prior to your trip’s scheduled departure. Same day arrivals cannot be accommodated. And it is generally encouraged that you do not plan to travel home on the same day that your trip ends. Should an unexpected delay occur on the last day of your trip, you would run the risk of missing your flight home. But feel free to contact us with any specific questions. On occasion, we may be able to accommodate an exception.

What airport should I fly into?

This information varies depending on which trip you are registering for. Please feel free to contact us for specific information.

Do you offer airport pickups?

We do not offer airport pickups. It will be your responsibility to arrange for all transporation to/from the trip meeting/ending locations.

Is there a place to park my car and store my luggage while I’m on the trip?

Many of our guests leave their cars at their hotel while out on a trip. For all trips based out of Flagstaff, you are more than welcome to leave your car at either of our prefered hotels if you are staying there. If staying elsewhere, discuss this option with the hotel in advance. There is also a long-term public parking lot in downtown Flagstaff that is convenient. We can store your luggage and valuables in a secure place.  For trips based out of other locations, please talk to your hotel.  If you encounter any problems, please call us (928) 525-1552.

Gear Questions

What kind of gear do you provide?

For backpacking trips, we provide Deuter backpacks, Thermarest inflatable sleeping pads, MSR/Sierra Designs/or Kelty tents, Marmot/Big Agnes/or Kelty sleeping bags, and Black Diamond trekking poles. All cooking and eating gear is also provided.

For lodge-based & basecamp trips, or day hikes, we provide Deuter or Kelty day packs and Black Diamond trekking poles.

Can I bring my own equipment?

Yes! If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to use it.  If it does not meet our requirements we will ask you to use our gear. Contact our trip specialists with questions regarding appropriate gear.

What kind footwear do I need?

This can vary depending upon the hike.  In the Grand Canyon we like to see everyone in a well broken-in boot/hiking shoe.  This also goes for all of our trips in Yosemite, Canyonlands and Grand Gulch.  In Escalante we like boots, but we also like shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.  Many of the hikes involve numerous creek/river crossings throughout the day.  We recommend “canyoneering” shoes, sandals and/or an old pair of running shoes. Please call us if you have more questions. No matter what trip you are on, it’s nice to get out of your hiking shoes/boots at the ned of the day. Water sandals or flip-flops are nice for relaxing around camp and hanging out in the creeks.  A good pair of sandals is mandatory for all Havasu Falls trips.

What else do I need to bring on the trip?

Each trip will require you to bring your own clothing, footwear, toiletries, etc. For other items specific to your trip, please refer to your detailed trip packet (provided upon booking).