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 nearly 15 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 trek 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: 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 of Grand Canyon is simply stunning. Most visitors never get below 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 all the way to the Colorado River at the bottom and spend a couple nights inside the canyon. This route has you spending your first night on the rim, then with 3 days and 2 nights hiking the classic South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail loop.
For three days the rush of the modern world falls away as you descend into Grand Canyon with the river threading its way below you as the rim rises above. You’ll spend one night at Bright Angel Campground at the Colorado River near the legendary Phantom Ranch. The next day you’ll hike up along the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden Campground and enjoy more great panoramic views. After spending the night here you’ll head back up to the South Rim where you’ll end your hike.
Our hike descriptions are generally timed so you can finish your day around 4 pm, giving you time to relax or perhaps doing 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 you 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. Depending on your trips specific needs you may stop in our home town of Prescott to pick up any necessary rental gear where our veteran guides can help you pack up and be ready to hit the trail. Spend your first night at the rim at the comfortable El Tovar Hotel and enjoy a wonderful dinner at the classy hotel restaurant.
Bright Angel Camp– You’ll start in the morning trekking down into the Grand Canyon on the very scenic South Kaibab trail. This trail is steep, almost 4800′ downhill; but you will have all day, so there will be plenty of time to stop and take in the vistas.
You’ll pass Ooh-Ah point and Cedar Ridge as you descend layer after scenic layer, deep into the canyon. Eventually you’ll pass through rock layers approximately 2 billion years old and cross over the Colorado River to the oasis of Bright Angel Campground. The campground sits along Bright Angel Creek and is pleasantly shaded by huge cottonwood trees. Here, you’ll find bathrooms and running water. Later in the evening you’ll head over to historic Phantom Ranch which is nearby for a well-deserved drink and dinner.
Indian Gardens Camp – Continuing through the inner corridor of the Grand Canyon, you’ll hike along the Colorado River and up the Bright Angel trail. Today you’ll hike about half-way up reaching Indian Garden Campground shortly after lunchtime. This beautiful campground is set in a secret-feeling lush riparian corridor on the Tonto Plateau, and also has bathrooms and running water. You can take an afternoon detour out to Plateau Point, an easy walk from Indian Gardens to one of the best viewpoints in the Canyon.
Grand Canyon Village, Departure – After breakfast in the morning, you’ll continue up on Bright Angel Trail, hiking 3000 feet and about 4 hours up to return to Grand Canyon Village. Topping back out of the canyon at the South Rim after such a journey is a truly unique and rewarding experience understood only by those who have ventured into its depths. You should reach the rim today around noon giving you time to have a relaxing lunch at the park before departing for you post-trip destinations.