Side canyon hiking is a major focus of our trips. This is how you will get to really see and explore Grand Canyon. We hike most every day for 1- 5 hours.
There is no pre-set itinerary for your trip. There are so many hikes to do and so many side canyons to explore that we would not be able to do all of them even on a 30 day trip! Likewise, there are many campsites to choose from so we do not have to deal with pre-assigned campsites. This adds to the flexibility we enjoy, and each trip ends up with its own unique schedule.
How much hiking we do overall and which hikes we do is something your crew will decide during your trip. The itinerary/activity decisions are based on several factors including: input from you, the abilities and interests of other participants, the activities of other trip groups, and weather and water levels. On occasion, we may even spend most or all of the day hiking. In this event, we’d spend more time on-river some other day to make up the lost on-water time.
While each side canyon hike is optional, to have the most fun on your trip, you will want to be in the best possible condition prior to coming on the river. Each side canyon is a unique ecosystem that you will not want to miss exploring at least a little of. One day may see us winding through the desert to ancient Indian ruins and the next day’s hike may take us through rock narrows to swimming holes and waterfalls. Some hikes are hot and dry, while others are cool and shady. Many hikes are not on trails, some are up creek beds, and others meander over the desert floor with the towering canyon walls as their only bounds.
The hikes will vary in length and level of difficulty with some fast and easy and some longer and more strenuous. All hikes go steeply uphill from the river corridor and then steeply back down again. Hikes that are not on trails may cover uneven and/or difficult terrain. Almost all of the hikes include some scrambling and moves that will require the assistance of our guides with spotting, hand and foothold advice, and verbal encouragement.
Shifting the focus from the destination to the journey: The hikes will be set at a pace to challenge people who are in good condition. Your guides will spread out on the hike: one in the lead, one with the slowest hikers in the group, the others spread throughout, walking with different paced groups. On some side canyon stops, we’ll have a limited amount of time set aside to explore it, and there may not be adequate time for slower hikers to get to the end of every hike. It is well worth going up each canyon at least part way; the unique beauty of each canyon can be experienced within a short distance and is better appreciated when not rushing! You may stop along the way to enjoy your book, a snack, or the view while the rest of the group continues on. You may also choose to skip any day hike entirely, to read, journal, fish, or catnap by the river.