Have a little bit of backpacking experience but don’t have the time or expertise to plan your own trip? Take a self-guided backpacking tour into the heart of Grand Canyon, and immerse yourself in one of the natural wonders of the world with us! Rubicon’s founder Matt Brown has been organizing backpacking trips in Grand Canyon for 20 years and considers this the company’s specialty. We’ll take care of the logistical considerations such as permitting and route planning to set you up on a route we know you will love. Our veteran guides can give you great advice on equipment, clothing, and packing, or we can completely outfit you with all the necessary gear you will need like tents, sleeping bags and pads, backpacks, etc. Our detailed route descriptions and maps are packed with information making it easy to navigate the trails on your own as though you had your own trusted private guide right there with you!
At 277 miles long, 6000 ft deep and up to 18 miles wide, the scale is simply stunning. Most visitors never get beyond the rim, and that’s a shame since to truly experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon you need to hike down into it. Better yet, is to hike to the Colorado River at the bottom and spend a couple nights inside the canyon. This self-guided route takes you there! For four days the rush of the modern world falls away as you descend into Grand Canyon, the river threads its way below, and the rim rises above. You’ll start with one night in a comfortable lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon preparing for your adventure to come. Then spend 4 days and 3 nights hiking in western Grand Canyon on the Hermit, Tonto, and Bright Angel trails discovering twisting side-canyons, lush riparian corridors, and roaring rapids.
Our hike descriptions time your days so you can finish around 4 pm, giving you time to relax or perhaps do a bit of exploring around camp. The Grand Canyon is particularly well suited to fall, winter, and spring hikes. Colder weather at the rim is ideal for hiking, and warmer temperatures near the bottom are comfortable without the overwhelming heat the region experiences in the summer. Temperatures at the bottom of the Canyon are typically 25-30 degrees warmer than at the rim, so we can enjoy cool days for hiking and comfortable evenings at camp.
Grand Canyon Village – After arriving in Phoenix, rent a car and drive north through Arizona’s surprisingly varied landscape to Grand Canyon National Park. If you’re renting gear from us, you’ll stop on the way in our home town of Prescott for outfitting; we’ll get you set up with all your gear and help you pack before you continue on to the park. Spend your first night at the rim in one of the comfortable hotels in Grand Canyon Village, and enjoy a wonderful dinner at a classy hotel restaurant in anticipation of your upcoming adventure.
Hermit Creek Camp– You’ll start with a brief shuttle to the western end of the park’s main corridor where you’ll find the Hermit Trailhead and begin your trek down into Grand Canyon. You’ll have expansive views from Lookout Point before continuing your descent at Cathedral Stairs and heading west on the Tonto Platform. This wide plateau marks the top of the inner gorge and is composed of shale, limestone, and sandstone layers. At 2,980′ in elevation, the perennial Hermit Creek has cut a beautiful side canyon into these layers making for a perfect scenic place to spend our first night below the rim.
Monument Creek Camp – This morning you’ll pick up the Tonto Trail and track east under Cope Butte looming in the Redwall Formation. The hike to this camp is a relatively short and easy 2.5 mile traverse to where the trail intersects Monument Creek. However, you should plan to get here early in the day, and after dropping your full packs and setting up camp you can continue on down another 2 miles to the Colorado River. Winding through this sometimes narrow, twisting side-canyon is worth every minute of exploration on your way to the very bottom of Grand Canyon. Here, the last two days of hiking are rewarded with the rush of the Colorado’s power at Granite Rapids; a sound reserved for the relatively few visitors who venture this deep into the park. You can have lunch and spend the afternoon at the river’s edge where you may see whitewater rafters or kayakers running this impressive rapid, which can be quite a thrilling spectacle in itself! Once you’ve had your fill, hike back up to Monument Creek Camp where you’ll spend a relaxing night.
Indian Garden Camp – After breakfast you should plan to break camp early this morning for Indian Garden. Although the hike today is the longest of the trip at about 10.5 miles, it gains little elevation. You’ll traverse your way along the top of the inner gorge around the bases of Dana Butte and the infamous and often-photographed Battleship Butte towering above. If you’ve got energy to burn, perhaps take a short and highly recommended detour out to Plateau Point for some of the most spectacular views of the inner canyon before finishing the day at Indian Garden. This camp is set in a lush green riparian corridor shaded by huge cottonwood trees in the heart of Garden Creek. This camp is one of our favorite places to rest after a full day of adventure and wild scenery.
Grand Canyon South Rim, Departure – For your final hike of the trip you’ll join the Bright Angel Trail climbing up 3000 feet back to Grand Canyon Village. Topping out of the Grand Canyon at the South Rim after such a journey is a uniquely satisfying experience understood only by those who have been to the very bottom on foot. You should reach the rim by about noon and perhaps after lunch, bid farewell to the Grand Canyon. You can return back to Prescott to return any rental gear before travelling to Phoenix, or wherever your post-trip destinations may be.