Granite Creek Canyon
Arizona Backpacking
An Epic Experience

Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: AZGC

Duration: 4 Days

Distance: Up to 35 mi/56 km

Fitness: 3
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 5

Origin: Flagstaff, Arizona

Cost: $1050/person

Trip Description:

Tucked away in amongst rolling hills, volcanic mountains, and horse ranches lies a surprising secret; a canyon 1.4 billion years in the making.  The best part?  We'll have it all to ourselves.  This is the Granite Creek Canyon Backpacking tour, and only the adventurous need apply.  We will hike, rock climb, scramble, explore, and ramble all over this wild and woolly canyon that empties its monsoonal rains into the Verde River to the north.  However, we will most likely stay high and dry.  Though it's not a world-famous destination, you might say that will work in your favor if you prefer solitude, towering canyon walls of polished metapmorphic rock, daring exploration opportunities, great swimming holes, abundant wildlife such as owls, eagles, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional Gila Monster, and scenery in an intimate canyon setting that rivals any canyon in Arizona.  Pack it in, this hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking trip is superb!

  1. Granite Creek, Arizona Backpacking
  2. Rock Folds at Granite Creek Canyon, Arizona Backpacking
  3. Camping at Granite Creek, Arizona Backpacking
  4. Sunset at Granite Creek, Arizona Backpacking
  5. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Arizona Backpacking
  6. Spring Bloom at Granite Creek Canyon, Arizona Backpacking
  7. Sunrise at Granite Creek Canyon, Arizona Backpacking
  8. Granite Creek Canyon, Arizona Backpacking
Request a Reservation!
Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Granite Creek Canyon backpack tour begins after an adventurous 4wd trip to its mouth.  Enjoy excellent views of Granite Mountain, The Thumb, and panoramic vistas across the Chino Valley.  We'll dive right in with an absolute feast of geology, as we pass major strucutres, faults, folds, and several different rock units before we even get into what you might call Granite Creek Canyon.  As we continue down the wash, the canyon will begin to close in on us, its walls rising with every step.  We will make our basecamp near towering monolithic walls, and enjoy a gorgeous sunset as your geologist/guide whips up a fine feast.
Drive TIme: 2.5 hours

Distance & Elevation: 8-10 miles, 200 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 2 & 3:

Our second and third days are all about adventure hiking and exploration (without our backpacks!).  Day 2 will see us make it down to the Verde River,  designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, one of the most beautiful and lush in all of Arizona.  Side canyon spelunking and scrambling are on the agenda for today's adventure.  For the most adventurous in the crew, we will be tackling some technical rock climbing routes on day 3.  If that's not your style, we will also be doing some less vertical rock scrambling and relaxed hiking around the canyon, as well as entertaining ourselves in excellent swimming holes and enjoying our solitude.
Distance & Elevation: 5-10 miles each day, 300-500 foot elevation gain/loss each day
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Our final day in Granite Creek Canyon will begin with sunrise yoga on the rocks, and follow with more exploration in and around Granite Canyon, as there is much to be had.  We will then pack up camp and head back to the mouth of the canyon and our shuttle and celebrate our epic trip like a geologist; with cold beverages at a local watering hole.  After some good times, we will cruise back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 8-10 miles, 200 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2.5 hours

*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, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff to Granite Canyon and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Flagstaff, Arizona
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Arizona will accommodate 5 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 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. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Flagstaff, Arizona 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 you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*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 the host hotel in Flagstaff and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel 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 a secure location 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 6pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some 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

2017 Dates
April: 17-20
May: 9-12
September: 19-22

2018 Dates
April: 17-20
May: 9-12
September: 19-22

More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.