Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking

Hermit Trail to the Colorado River

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.

This guided backpacking trip on the Hermit Trail explores a part of the canyon accessible only to a lucky few. The campground at Hermit Creek sits beside one of the rare perennial waterways within the Grand Canyon, located 3,800 ft below the trailhead.  Day two is the perfect chance to explore while unencumbered by your pack. The path from camp to the river is at first a quick and well-worn descent and then begins to blend into the terrain as you follow the canyon downstream.  The creek opens up to the Colorado River just upstream from Hermit Rapids on a boulder-studded sandy beach; the perfect place to lounge in the afternoon sun and watch for river runners in passing boats.  Ascending to the rim caps every Grand Canyon experience with a new and unique perspective.

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.  

CANCELLATION POLICY
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)

Trip Itinerary

Overview

This trip is an adventure to a wilderness haven without electricity, running water, or other amenities we have become accustomed to in our daily lives, it’s designed for hikers with substantial backcountry experience. The Hermit Trail’s combined challenges make it one of the most interesting and little-used trails in the park, the perfect situation for the intrepid backpacker looking for a truly unique experience in the Grand Canyon wilderness.

DAY 1: SCOTTSDALE TO GRAND CANYON, HIKE TO HERMIT CREEK

Your guides meet you at 6am at the Holiday Inn Express in Old town Scottsdale and transfer to the Grand Canyon. The trailhead to the evening’s camp is a challenging yet rewarding hike. The first leg of the descent passes through pinyon-juniper woodlands that drop off into lower shrub-brush as you traverse the slopes of the Toroweap formation. Look for fossilized reptile tracks in slabs of rock along the trailside, they are more apparent here than on any other trail. The route steepens and turns to switchbacks as it cuts through layers of canyon wall. Take care on rocky legs where rockslides partially obstruct your path. We’ll rest for lunch at Santa Maria Spring rest house in the shade of canyon wild grape and take a few moments to enjoy the views. The next leg of the trail descends quickly, following the rough and complex rock layers in a series of switchbacks and steep traverses. The challenge of the trail lends a deeper appreciation of the geological intricacies of the rugged realm you have entered. The elusively beautiful terrain and sweeping unparalleled views have inspired whimsical names like “Breezy Point,” and “Cathedral Stairs.” You will reach our campsite by late afternoon and rest while soaking in the grandeur around you.

  • Hiking: 8.2 miles, – 3800 ft elevation
  • Meals: breakfast on your own, lunch and dinner provided.
  • Lodging: Camp at Hermit Creek Camp

DAY 2: HIKE TO THE COLORADO RIVER AND HERMIT RAPIDS

After yesterday’s long hike in, today is the perfect chance to explore while unencumbered by your pack. The path from camp to the river is at first a quick and well-worn descent and then begins to blend into the terrain as you follow the canyon downstream. Further down the canyon, the walls begin to expose the sparkling black rock that is known as the Vishnu schist. The rock here is nearly 1.7 billion years old. Here the creek gives life to grasses and flowers, creating a different sort of micro-environment than those we’ve passed through thus far. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and other wildlife, as these tributary canyons are home to a wide variety of creatures including the impressive California Condor. The creek opens up to the Colorado River just upstream from Hermit Rapids on a boulder-studded sandy beach; the perfect place to lounge in the afternoon sun and watch for river runners in passing boats. By the time we return to camp we’ll be ready for a relaxing evening with delicious food prepared for you by your guide. Lie beneath the stars and listen for the roar of Hermit Rapids on the river below as you rest up for tomorrow’s return ascent to the rim.

  • Hiking: 3 miles, +/- 600 ft elevation
  • Meals: all meals provided
  • Lodging: Camp at Hermit Creek Camp

DAY 3: ASCEND THE HERMIT TRAIL AND RETURN TO SCOTTSDALE

Break camp early to take advantage of the cool morning air on the long hike out. Ascending to the rim caps every Grand Canyon experience with a new and unique perspective. Hiking out is always more difficult than hiking in, but as you wind up the trail you will notice features you missed as you passed quickly down. As you look out into the void before you, each sweeping view is colored subtly by your experiences over the last two days. We will take our time as we make our way up over nearly 3000 vertical feet of elevation, resting as needed. Back at the rim we’ll break for a short while before beginning the drive back to Scottsdale. Allow your accomplishment to sink in. You’ve conquered the Grand Canyon, no easy feat and one very few people can claim to have achieved in their lifetime. A good night’s sleep tonight will be well deserved.

  • Hiking: 8.2 miles, +3800 ft elevation
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch provided, dinner on your own
  • Lodging: On your own

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.

 

Request Information

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.

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Arizona Backpacking Company