Trip Lengths & Logistics
Full Canyon Trip
14, 15, or 16 Days
No hike in/out on Bright Angel Trail
Lees Ferry (Mile 0) to Diamond Creek (Mile 225)
Full Canyon trips cover both the Upper and Lower sections of the river – 225 river miles. From the Roaring 20s to Lava Falls you won’t miss any of the Canyon’s rapids or secrets. There is ample time to adjust to river life during the first half of these two week trips, setting you up to really take advantage of the experience. Each day, you’ll be more at home in the Canyon’s environment. By the time we get to the really big white water, you’ll be ready to hit these house sized waves!
Full Canyon Trips – No Hike
There is no hike in or out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail on Full Canyon Trips.
Our transportation takes you directly to the river at Lees Ferry and back to Flagstaff from Diamond Creek at trip’s end.
Upper Canyon Trip
Hike up/out on Bright Angel Trail on the last day
Lees Ferry (Mile 0) to Pipe Creek (Mile 89)
This trip will take you through the first 89 river miles of Grand Canyon. The whitewater starts small and gets bigger every day allowing time to gain confidence in your oar guides or paddle team. You will experience the sensation of the Canyon’s walls “rising up” as each new geological layer appears. Our seven-day schedule allows time for lots of extended day hiking. The Upper Canyon offers opportunities to visit archaeological sites and to “rim out” on hikes that provide great views of the Canyon and river. Although the rapids on the Lower Canyon are more renowned, there is actually more fast moving water on the Upper Canyon, and big rapids like House Rock, Nevills, Grapevine, Sockdolager and Hance.
Upper Canyon Trip Hike
On the last day, to exit the trip you’ll hike 7.5 miles UP the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim from Pipe Creek. Click here to view our video of a hike up the Bright Angel Trail.
Our transportation arrives at the South Rim at 3:00 pm to transport you back to Flagstaff.
Lower Canyon Trip
8 or 9 Days
Hike down/in on Bright Angel Trail on the first day
Pipe Creek (Mile 89) to Diamond Creek (Mile 225)
This trip covers the second 136 river miles of Grand Canyon. This trip is eventful from day one. You will encounter very big whitewater right after you complete your hike down the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim to join the trip at the river. This trip includes whitewater favorites like Granite, Hermit, Crystal, and Lava. There are many waterfall and slot canyon day hikes in this section and our nine-day schedule allows us to do more of them.
Lower Canyon Trip Hike
To join the trip, you will hike 7.5 miles DOWN the Bright Angel Trail to the river at dawn the first morning.
The day before, our transportation will transport you from Flagstaff to the South Rim where you will spend the night at one of the lodges.
Bright Angel Trail Hike
Upper canyon trips hike up/out, Lower canyon trips hike in/down on the Bright Angel Trail
The Bright Angel Trail is steep and very long. It covers nearly one vertical mile in elevation change between rim and river.
It is a 7.5 mile long hike. The trail is well-maintained and wide trail and does not contain any difficult “hiking moves.” Some conditions that significantly increase the difficulty of this hike include: extreme temperatures (Summer temps exceed 100° F and sometimes exceed 115° F), and carrying the extra weight of your backpack/clothing and water significantly increases the stress and amount of effort exerted.
There is little shade cover on the hike resulting in prolonged exposure to desert sun. Dry, desert conditions result in serious water depletion and require you to carry and consume lots of water and to snack regularly. Exerting yourself at elevation (elevation at the river is 2,400′; elevation at the South Rim is 6,860′) is exhausting and hard to condition for if you do not live at elevation.
It is essential that you take time to condition in the months before your trip. Serious pre-trip conditioning is essential for you to have a safe, comfortable, and more enjoyable journey. We suggest training with a weighted backpack on a stair-master, treadmill (set on incline), or a set of stairs (a local stadium or tall building). However, any exercise that builds cardiovascular and lower body muscle strength will help. Please start doing something right away.
If you have asthma, high blood pressure, or a heart condition, attempting this hike puts your health at serious risk. If you have any of these conditions or are unsure whether you are in good enough shape for this hike, we strongly urge you to get your physician’s approval for this trip. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about the Canyon’s environment and how to deal with the sometimes extreme conditions.
Uphill or Downhill?
While this hike is difficult in either direction, there are important differences between hiking DOWN (Lower Canyon trips) and UP (Upper Canyon trips) the trail.
Mule Duffel Service
We cannot accommodate personal gear that is carried into or out of the Grand Canyon by the Fred Harvey mule/duffle service. The associated logistics negatively impact the experience of other trip participants.
I see the secret of making the very best persons.
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.
~ Walt Whitman