On top of the World at the Grand Canyon
On top of the World at the Grand Canyon

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and a true adventurer at heart, rim to rim backpacking in the Grand Canyon is for you!

The Grand Canyon is an immense spectacle that not only alters and enhances your perspective, but offers an unparalleled once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Before indulging on such an adventure, take the time to learn about your trip, be thoroughly prepared, and have a good travel plan in place. We want you to have a safe, exciting, and fun-filled adventure.

How Long Does It Take to Hike from Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon?

There are many factors that play into the amount of time that it takes for one to go from one rim to another rim while backpacking in the Grand Canyon; however, on average, this will take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours.

This is pushing it. , And it doesn’t include stops for exploration along the way.

It is recommended that you break up the rim to rim hike over a period of several days.

Due to the conditions, environment, and potential risks associated with this particular hike, it is advised that you sign up for a group hike or group tour that goes from one rim to another.

Group hiking trips to the Grand Canyon usually plan the trip over 3-4 days.

What Should I Do Before Starting a Rim to Rim Hike?

There are several steps that should be taken prior to starting your backpacking hike in the Grand Canyon. The following outlines the most important measures:

  1. First, you should create an itinerary of the trip that you will be taking – even if it is with a group or a special tour. Give that to someone who you will designate as being a responsible party for reporting to emergency service personnel if you become late returning.
  2. You should be certain that you check the weather in the areas where you will hike. It is important to remember that – throughout the Grand Canyon – weather can change quickly, with very little notice. You should make certain to pack items that are appropriate for the environmental conditions in which you will be exposed.
  3. Before taking part in the hike, be sure to consume a meal that includes plenty of protein and to properly hydrate yourself. You should also get the proper amount of rest before the start of your hike. If, for some reason, you do not feel up to par, the hike should be rescheduled for a later date.
backpack ready for a hike

What Should I Pack for my Rim to Rim Backpacking Trip in the Grand Canyon?

There are several items that you should bring along for your trip. These include the following:

  1. You should pack water as well as a water treatment method should you run out and need to rely on the natural water sources throughout the Grand Canyon National Park.
  2. You should pack prescription medications, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and other items that may assist during an emergency – such as a pocket knife, tape, and over-the-counter medications.
  3. You should ALWAYS carry a trail guide or a map of the area where you will backpack.
  4. A flashlight, cell phone, batteries, whistles, and mirrors that are used for signaling are absolute musts.
  5. You should pack clothes in case the need to layer them arises.
  6. It is important to pack some type of emergency shelter – even if it is just a tarp.
  7. Be certain to pack foods that are high in calories, protein, and salt.
Grand Canyon National Park, North Kaibab Trailhead - Water Bottle Filling Station 7088 - Flickr - Grand Canyon NPS

How Do I Take Care of Myself While Backpacking the Grand Canyon?

A rim to rim backpacking adventure is a comprehensive one that is time consuming and demanding. Use the tips below to ensure that you are taking care of yourself while out in the wild:

  1. Only drink water when you are thirsty. If you drink too much, you may become too hydrated, which could result in the development of hyponatremia.
  2. Make sure to eat plenty of calories so that your body temperature will be properly regulated and your body has the “fuel” it needs for the hike.
  3. If you start to feel ill or weak, you need to stop and rest. While resting, eat a little and drink some water.
  4. If you become overheated, take advantages of the many creeks and the water stations that are situated throughout the trails.
  5. If you become cold, layer your clothing to retain your body heat.
Grand Canyon Hke

Is There a Safe Rim to Rim Backpacking Hiking Tour Available?

Yes, there is a tour available. It is called the “Grand Canyon – Rim to Rim Hike”. The location of this tour is in Coconino County and it spans over a 4-day period. The guides are highly experienced outdoors persons that offer an all-inclusive rim to rim adventure.

Additionally, this tour offers all of the appropriate equipment, the food, engages in the preparation of the meals, and it includes all of the permits and the fees that are necessary to go on a backpacking adventure in the Grand Canyon.

1 The first day of the adventure, you will be picked up at a hotel in Phoenix. You will then take a five-and-a-half-hour drive to the North Rim. This will take you directly to the North Kaibab trail. You will get to pass over the spectacular Marble Canyon Gorge and visit the Arizona Strip.

You will hike down about seven miles to get to the campsite where you will stay overnight. This is Cottonwood Camp.

On the way, you will get to experience the Kaibab National Forest. Your camp location is situated within the lower canyon, where it is considered to be a semi-arid desert.

2 On the second day of this tour, you will have an early breakfast and start the day’s journey – which is also seven miles – to the popular Bright Angel Campground. This is right beside the well-known Phantom Ranch.

This location provides a multitude of opportunities for adventure.

You can see the ranch structure that was built by Mary Colter, explore the vast array of canyons, observe the river, and more. Due to the popularity of this area, you are likely to see a vast number of travelers.

3 On day 3 you will get to experience the crossing of the Colorado River over a specially-designed extension bridge. Then, you will hike about four miles to the next campground where you will stay.

This is just off the Bright Angel Trail and is located at Indian Garden. Here, you will get to explore a natural artesian spring that shoots out water from a cliff. If you desire, you may take part in a special hike that will take you to a high vantage viewpoint over the spectacular Colorado River.

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail
Hiking the Bright Angel Trail

4 On the final day of this rim to rim backpacking hiking tour, you will travel just over four miles on a beautiful trail that will take you directly to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You will be at the elevation of approximately 7,000 feet at the close of the tour.

Here, you can visit Mather Point, the Market Plaza, and the Historic District. You may also visit the Yavapai Museum of Geology, go to Desert View and see the famous Watchtower, and observe many beautiful locations throughout the national park.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know about This Tour?

While this tour offers the best way to go rim to rim, there are a few warnings associated with it:

  1. This backpacking tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  2. The entire trail is situated in close proximity to public transportation.
  3. If you are pregnant, experience back issues, have heart problems, or suffer from other types of medical issues that are considered to be “serious”, this is not a recommended tour for you.
view from grand canyon hike

How Do I Sign Up for This Rim to Rim Tour?

Signing up for this tour is very easy:

  1. Start the signup process by clicking HERE.
  2. Once you are on the website, scroll down to “Schedule Details” and choose a departure date.
  3. Then, scroll down to “View Price Calendar” to determine how much the tour will be based on the time you want to start it.
  4. Then, scroll back to the top of the page and look for a box to the right. Add your date, as well as the number of adults that will be going and click “Add to Cart”.
  5. Then, select “Add to Cart” on the option that you choose to verify.
  6. On the next page, confirm your order and click “Proceed to Checkout”.
  7. On the final page, fill out the information and click “Book Now” and you are all set!

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon is an exciting endeavor. It is even more exciting when you are going from one rim to another. If you are ready to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime event, click the link below.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike