Trip Details

Type: Backpacking/Camping

Days: 4 Days

Distance: 24 mi/39 km

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1450/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 Description

This is the most famous hike in Grand Canyon. We begin backpacking in the cool spruce and fir forests of the North Rim, descending the North Kaibab Trail. As we make our down this relatively wide and well-maintained trail, the dramatic views unfold with every turn.  We pass Roaring Springs, an idyllic watery oasis bursting from the canyon wall. Near the banks of Bright Angel Creek, Cottonwood Camp offers an intimate and peaceful first evening to enjoy the setting sun on the soaring cliffs. The wondrous Ribbon Falls and serpentine turns of The Box highlight your second morning, with the afternoon offering the opportunity to explore historic Phantom Ranch & the Colorado River or relax beneath the shady cottonwoods in Bright Angel Camp, our home for the evening. We then cross the mighty Colorado and continue our trek southward, up to Indian Gardens and Plateau Point where we’ll enjoy sunset at one of the most incredible vantage points in the park. Our journey ends on the South Rim on Day 4.

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. Let us show you the trip of a lifetime!

 Click here for our 5-Day Winter Rim to Rim tours!


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim tour departs Flagstaff early for a beautiful drive through the Navajo Reservation & Painted Desert, across the Colorado River and along the Vermilion Cliffs and Kaibab Plateau to our starting point 8000 feet above sea level. We descend the spectacular North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Campground. Enjoy stunning canyon scenery as you traverse along towering cliffs and dramatic gorges, past Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Creek. The evening skies are magical as the sunset colors fade to night and an unimaginable number of stars take their place.
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 4160 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:
We rise with the sun, enjoy a tasty breakfast and head back out on the trail. Tonight’s home will be Bright Angel Campground, a short stroll from Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River. But along the way we’ll stop to admire the remarkable Ribbon Falls, tucked away in a beautiful little alcove off the main trail. Continuing on, the wide open views we’ve been enjoying give way to the sinuous narrows of The Box. This fabulous stretch of trail follows the creek closely as the black cliffs of the Vishnu Schist rise immediately beside us, a thousand feet overhead, eventually opening up as we approach camp. Enjoy a cold lemonade or frosty beer in the late afternoon at the Ranch followed by a delicious dinner prepared by your guide.
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 1600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
After breakfast we will begin our trek up to Indian Gardens with side hiking options and some beautiful pools to cool off in. Enjoy stunning views along the Colorado River before heading up Pipe Creek and the famous Bright Angel Trail. Late in the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely 1.5 mile hike out to Plateau Point, the finest place in Grand Canyon to watch the sunset.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 1500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
After packing up camp we begin our final ascent, 4.5 miles and 3000ft to the South Rim. The ever-evolving view will assure you stop regularly to take photos and catch your breath. This is also your best chance to catch a glimpse of the endangered California Condors soaring overhead. We’ll a big, tasty lunch on the rim before the shuttle drive back to Flagstaff.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 4.6 miles, 3000 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

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

Is this trip for me?

Backpacking trips are strenuous endeavors and the decision to join one of these trips should not be taken lightly. Every participant must be able to comfortably manage a 35-pound backpack each day while hiking for 6 to 8 hours. Elevation changes are significant, often covering over 4000 feet in a single day. The descent into Grand Canyon is perhaps the most challenging part of the hike and the physical demands of downhill hiking is often underestimated. Our backpacking trips are intended for fit and highly active individuals of a healthy weight and free from preexisting knee or back issues. If you are not already a very active person in excellent health, then you are encouraged to consider a different trip style.

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. Please visit our Travel Resources page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do meet our guides?

We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the Embassy Suites 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 Embassy Suites (recommended) or Hampton Inn & Suites can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels 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/camping trips 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!


2022 Dates

May: Call or email us before January 1 to request your preferred dates.

June: Call or email us before February 1 to request your preferred dates.

August: Call or email us before April 1 to request your preferred dates.

September: Call or email us before May 1 to request your preferred dates.

October: Call or email us before June 1 to request your preferred dates.

More dates coming soon…


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

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

Guest Testimonials

“Hiking Rim 2 Rim in the Grand Canyon was a spiritual and life-changing experience for all of us – I cannot say enough about the exceptional customer service, attention to detail, and overall trip approach provided by Four Season Guides (FSG). The extensive expertise, company culture and overall philosophy makes FSG a stand out among the herd. I‘m so glad we did not pick the global “imitator” – while the outside wrapper may look identical – it was clear after running into a couple of those groups on the trail, we made the very best choice. It would have ruined the experience for me to be a part of a “circus clown car” hike – loud, rushed, and garish. FSG’s local, long time roots in the community, knowledge, respect of the canyon, the process and their clients has won us over forever. We are already planning our next adventure. Five star all around!” – Melissa H.

Hi Dave – I want to tell you that my rim to rim hike was exhilarating, exciting, excrutiating, and absolutely the most satisfying adventure I’ve ever been on. You could not have put together a better group of fellow hikers, and a totally fantastic guide in Lily. There has not been a day I don’t think about it. When I think about how many people visit the canyon, and how very few do what we did, what a sense of accomplishment. Thank you. When a person stands at the Bright Angel terminus and stare across to our north starting point, you can’t help but think it’s impassable. Lily was absolutley fantastic. We had danger, with the thunderstorm going down the north, to the rattler heading up, which one of us would have stepped on if not for Lily. On the trail, we saw one one of your competitors, I’m so glad I went with you. I have and will always recommend Four Seasons. You and your staff are 1st class. Thank You very much!  – Rich H.

“My family and I have returned from our Rim to Rim experience with Four Seasons and more specifically with Matt.  One word summary – Amazing!  From the equipment pick up and orientation talk until we returned to our hotel after the hike you guys were great and professional.  Matt is world class.  It was great to have a guide who is spiritually connected to the canyon, loves his work and has great pride in sharing his “temple” with others.  His knowledge and sharing of the geology and history of the people was truly captivating. He was amazingly respectful of our crazy and diverse dietary habits every meal and snack.    I was more than a little challenge with a real fear of heights – Matt was so supportive and helpful in getting over those bridges (I hated every one of them). 

Summary — you guys did a great job.  I will pass this on to anyone you think I can to help your efforts to continue a first class backpacking company.” – David S.

“Highly recommend using Four Season Guides! They are just incredible! We just finished the Rim to Rim trip with them and I am completely blown away by how much Four Season Guides enhanced the experience. Our guide, Bob, was so encouraging, knowledgeable, and made the best meals while on the trail – who knew you could have “fiesta night” with chicken burritos, guacamole and salsa while sitting under the stars in the Grand Canyon? Just incredible!

Four Season Guides is a great group of people. Everyone I spoke with was so responsive, helpful and professional. These people just love what they do and know everything about the hikes. I will be forever grateful that we used them for our Rim to Rim hike, and I can’t wait to work with Four Season Guides on our next adventure!!! – Jacqueline J.