Grand Canyon Classic
​Grand Canyon Backpacking
An Epic Experience

Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: GCCB

Duration: 4 Days

Distance:  20.1 mi/32 km

Fitness: 4
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 1

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1050/person

Trip Description:

The Grand Canyon Classic backpacking tour is the trip that everyone dreams about.  You will hike the excellent South Kaibab trail that meanders down the wondrous Grand Canyon's layercake of geologic time, spending your first night at the highly sought Bright Angel Campground.  After spending a day at the river hiking and exploring side canyons and world-famous Phantom Ranch, we will ascend to Indian Gardens via the incredibly beautiful and scenic Bright Angel Trail.  All around you will feel the essence of the Grand Canyon, as its special aura and billions of years of geologic history pull at your imagination.  This backpacking tour is not to be missed, and your geologist/guide will ensure that you don't take a second of it for granted.  Your photo album and memory will thank you.

  1. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon
  2. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Bright Angel Campground, Grand Canyon
  4. Broooo at Grand Canyon
  5. Lasting Memories, Grand Canyon National Park
  6. Ooh-ahh Point, Grand Canyon
  7. Sunrise at the South Rim, Grand Canyon
  8. The Inner Gorge, Grand Canyon National Park
  9. The Rim of Grand Canyon
  10. Redwall Limestone, Grand Canyon
  11. Mighty Colorado River, Grand Canyon
  12. Playing the Slots, Grand Canyon
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Grand Canyon Classic backpacking tour begins at the South Kaibab Trailhead, just a short shuttle ride from the South Rim visitor center.  After final preperations, we will begin our winding descent over the precipitous red mesas through aptly named Ooh-Ahh Point, down to the tipoff, and into Grand Canyon's fantastic Inner Gorge, where dark-streaked walls of 1.8 billion year-old metamorphic rocks await you.  After reaching Bright Angel Campground, take in the astonishing granduer while your geologist/guide sets up camp and prepares an excellent meal.
Drive Time: 2 hours
Distance & Elevation: 7.6 miles, 5000 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Today’s adventure starts with frolicking the Colorado River, and lazy strolls into some epic Colorado River tributary canyons.  The scenery here is truly special, and you will welcome a day without your backpack!
Distance & Elevation: 4 miles, negligible elevation change
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Your third day will see us leave the river, and make our way through 500 million years of Earth's history, looking at the work done by Bright Angel Fault, observing natural springs, and drinking in epic scenery.  We will spend the night at Indian Gardens, a gorgeous natural spring once used by Ancestral Puebloans as they traveled through the Canyon. 
Distance & Elevation: 4.6 miles, 2500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Our final day of this adventure offers more tremendous, sweeping views as we meander up the Bright Angel Trail toward the South RIm escarpment.  After we come up topside, we will celebrate our Grand Adventure in the geologist's tradition: with libations at a local watering hole before we head back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 4.8 miles, 2500 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, 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 Grand 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 liightweight, 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, 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 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Grand Canyon will accommodate 5 people plus one 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 $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. 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, 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 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 5pm 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: 10-13
May: 1-4
September: 27-30
November: 1-4

2018 Dates
April: 10-13
May: 1-4

September: 27-30
November: 1-4

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.