Visiting the Grand Canyon is a dream shared by millions of people around the world. Every year travelers come from far and wide to stand on the edge of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, but relatively few of them climb over the rim and explore the canyon’s inner reaches. Embark on a guided backpacking trip and the adventure of a lifetime and join the elite group of individuals who have experienced the intricate wonders of the Grand Canyon.
The trek to Horseshoe Mesa is a challenging hike to a beautiful secluded location within the canyon, rich in history and geology. Horseshoe Mesa juts out above the Redwall limestone like a lush island on a rocky pedestal in the midst of the vast canyon. From the aptly named Grandview Trailhead, located at the site of the former Grandview Point Hotel, we’ll make our descent along an ancient Indian route to your camp at Horseshoe Mesa. Day two' possibilities include exploring the Cave of the Domes, an intriguing cavern carved into the Redwall limestone, hiking to the springs in Cottonwood Creek, or circumnavigating Horseshoe Mesa itself. On day three, you'll break camp and make the hike back out on Grandview Trail to the rim.
Duration: 3 days/2nights
Departs: Old Town Scottsdale; call for dates
Includes: Round-trip transportation from Scottsdale, all permits & entry fees, skilled guide(s), all meals (lunch day 1 thru lunch day 3), kitchen & group gear (cooking utensils, stove, fuel, water filter, food storage, dish washing necessities), personal mess-kit (bowl, mug, fork, spoon).
Not-Included: Personal insurance and expenses; Pre- or post-trip lodging; Airfare to and from Scottsdale, AZ; Airport transfers; Breakfast Day 1, dinner Day 3; Sleeping bag, Sleeping pad, Backpack, Tent (rentals available); Trekking poles (complimentary upon request).
Cost: $795/person + $35/person permit fees
Price is based on shared occupancy. Solo occupancy upgrade available for an additional $25/person +tax; A $500.00 per person deposit is required to hold your reservation on any trip. The balance is due 60 days prior to your trip departure date. Subject to change and will be based on actual costs at time of departure.
Skill level: Advanced -
Notes: RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. All Grand Canyon tours are group tours; minimum 2 guests. Please inquire for available dates. Private backpacking tours are available for an additional fee.
All cancellations must be made in writing via email or fax. Cancellation fees abide by the following schedule:
-91 or more days prior: Full refund for all trips
-61 to 90 days prior: Forfeit of deposit (30%)
-31 to 60 days prior: 50% of trip cost
-0 to 30 days prior: 100% of trip cost (no refund)
Over three days you will explore the carved out landscape around the mesa, punctuated by pine trees and old mines shafts – the exploratory ventures of gold-thirsty pioneers. With your guides beside you to share stories, answer questions, and introduce you to the diverse wildlife in this part of the canyon, allow yourself to be captivated by the grandeur of your surrounds. This guided backpacking trip, though not so very far away from the rim, leads you into a world apart, a place rich in canyon history, surprisingly isolated, full of wild beauty.
DAY 1: SCOTTSDALE TO GRAND CANYON, HIKE TO HORSESHOE MESA
Your guides will meet you at your hotel in Scottsdale at 6am to begin your journey to the Grand Canyon. From the aptly named Grandview Trailhead, located at the site of the former Grandview Point Hotel, we’ll make our descent along an ancient Indian route. The trail was rebuilt by a prospector named Pete Berry in 1892 and though it was more than a century ago, Berry’s presence is still evident along the route. Berry constructed the first trail supports with the canyon’s plentiful juniper-logs, stabilizing the descent through the Coconino sandstone layer. Winding down the cobbled switchbacks, the Sinking Ship butte rises an impressive 7,344 feet ahead of you. To access the Mesa and your campsite, the trail descends through the red rock layers of the Supai group. As it snakes along the red slopes of the mesa, look for the colorful blue and green rock fragments, this malachite and azurite is indicative of the rich copper ore that brought prospectors to this part of the canyon. Once on Horseshoe Mesa one quickly comes to the ruins of Pete Berry’s stone cabin, and the campground is set amongst the juniper just beyond the ruins. Enjoy a pleasant evening gazing out at the views in every direction from your secluded island in the sky.
DAY 2: EXPLORATION DAY - OLD MINES AND CANYON SPRINGS
Perched high atop the Redwall limestone at the Horseshoe Mesa campground, you simply cannot miss the opportunity to catch the kaleidoscope colors of the sunrise. After a delicious breakfast prepared by your guide, a day of exploration awaits you. Possibilities include exploring the Cave of the Domes, an intriguing cavern carved into the Redwall limestone, hiking to the springs in Cottonwood Creek, or circumnavigating Horseshoe Mesa itself. The route around the mesa follows Cottonwood creek down to the Tonto Trail where it opens up to your first glimpse of the inner canyon and the Colorado, listen for the muffled roar of Sockdolager Rapids below. Hugging the west rim of Hance Creek Canyon, the trail cuts across a ledge in the Tapeats sandstone, the creek a sheer 800 foot drop below, until it emerges into a traverse leading up to Miners Spring and eventually Horseshoe Mesa. End the day on your island mesa in the sky with a delicious meal and world-class stargazing.
DAY 3: ASCEND THE GRANDVIEW TRAIL AND RETURN TO SCOTTSDALE
Today we breakfast and break camp early to make the most of the cool morning air. The hike out will take longer than the hike in, but your guide will remind you to stop for water and to take in the incredible views. Looking out to the canyon behind you affords a new perspective; try to catch a glimpse of your camp atop the mesa. Pay attention to the rock layers of the canyon as you look up at the towering walls along the trail ahead of you. Hiking in Grand Canyon is a walk through time, each rock layer a reminder of the dynamic geologic history of the Southwest. The marks that humans have made on this part of the canyon are miniscule in comparison with the immensity of the natural forces at work. Back on the rim again, take a moment to drink in the view of the landscape before you as you shake the dust off your boots. After a relaxing lunch at the rim, you will return to Scottsdale and should be back to your hotel by late afternoon.
Note about itinerary changes: We do our best to operate each trip as closely as possible to the published itinerary, however there are sometimes forces outside of our control that could require us to make adjustments to the operations of a trip. These include but are not limited to weather, natural disasters, road closures, park closures, campsite availability, emergency guest illness or injury.
Backpacking is a very challenging endeavor and each route will require a certain level of fitness, capability and in some cases, experience. Our goal is to ensure that you do not get in over your head to the extent it requires an evacuation. Our staff is eager to work with you to put together the adventure that's best for you and your group.
Arizona Backpacking Company