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Grand Canyon National Park Hermit Trail, AZ

SOLD OUT! (Put me on the waiting list)

Apr 13 - Apr 20, 2019 -- $1400 ★★★★

Trip Description

What can we possibly tell you about Grand Canyon National Park, that would persuade you to visit? Would it help to know that it's considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World? Or that the geologic features reveal 40% of the Earth's history? Or that the Grand Canyon is home to some of the cleanest air in the United States? Or that it's well over a mile deep, giving rise to superlative, unobstructed views?

The Grand Canyon is a life list destination that words are insufficient to fully describe. You owe it to yourself to visit this truly amazing wonder, even once.

Our trip will be all backpacking. We'll begin on the Bright Angel Trail and go downhill all day until we reach peaceful, beautiful Indian Gardens where we'll set up before doing a glorious day hike to Plateau Point. From there, we will spend the next few days on the Tonto Trail which endeavors to be as level and moderate as possible as it winds downstream along the Colorado. We'll go down a slot canyon on our way to Granite Rapid on the Colorado. The last day will be truly challenging. It's 8.2 miles and 3700' all uphill. Water can be found along the way at Santa Maria Spring but this day is going to be a real challenge, albeit one that's unbelievably rewarding as our 2015 group can tell you. For what it's worth, the 2015 group emerged from the canyon at 1PM.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking, especially in the Grand Canyon. April is really one of the best times to visit, weather-wise as it's generally not too cold on the rim and not too hot in the canyon. Be prepared for freezing weather or even snow on the rim, but also be prepared for 100 degrees and little water in the canyon. Chances are, neither will happen but we must be prepared for each.

Trip Leaders

Dan Shafto
Julie Quibodeaux (maybe)


$1400 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Phoenix, AZ (PHX) as well as personal equipment, any restaurant meals and gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 2 front country campground nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and 2 awesome guides.

Difficulty (Please Read)

The Grand Canyon can be extremely difficult and forbidding. The temperatures can be freezing or over 100 degrees. There is little to no shade in some areas, so you will be exposed to the beating sun for extended periods. Sun block is not sufficient for this, you must bring a wide brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt and long pants.

Furthermore, water may not be available for a few days at a time. It will be imperative to carry 2 gallons of water (16 pounds) and maybe more. Be prepared to obtain water out of puddles fed by a slow seep in the rocks that look to the untrained eye as a water source you'd never consider. Carrying extra weight makes your full pack even heavier. Elevation gains and losses are dramatic. Expect to gain or lose over 3700' vertical on some days. In order to do this, you will need to be sufficiently hydrated. Plus, your feet must remain in good shape. Blisters and unclipped toenails will cripple you and make progress extremely slow and painful so be mindful of hot spots as they develop.

If you have a fear of heights, some of this trail may paralyze you with fear. Although most people hike this trail without issue, those with a heightened sense of fear at drop-offs may not fare well.

Training tips


As of December 4, 2018 we have been approved for this route on these dates. So there's no longer any uncertainty about our itinerary.

This is the 1st of 2 (or 3) trips to the Grand Canyon this year. The subsequent trip is the classic Tri-Rim planned for May 2019

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Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)

We will pick you up and bring you to Guide Deb's house where we'll have our equipment shakedown. You will need to arrive by 1PM at the latest.

Equipment shakedown

Distribution of trail mix

Trip to REI Tempe, 1405 W Southern Ave, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Your spare bag(s) will be left at Guide Deb's house for safekeeping

Shuttle 2-3 hours to Flagstaff. Go out to a welcome dinner in town (not included in trip cost). Suggestion: The Lumberyard

Drive 1 hour to Tusayan Park and Ride

"Before" body composition measurements taken at elevation

Board a Grand Canyon purple park shuttle bus. If you have an America the Beautiful or Senior Park pass, please bring it to help defray costs. Buses leave every 20 minutes and avoid park entrance lines.

Arrive at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center / Central Parking

Board a Blue Park Bus and get off at Mather Campground

Set up camp and stay at Mather Campground, site TBD

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Blue Shuttle to Central Parking

Take the park shuttle bus to the Bright Angel Trailhead, elevation 6860'

Hike 4.8 steep, knee-crushing miles to Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'

Set up camp at Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'. There is reliable water here.

Day-Hike 1.5 miles to Plateau Point, elevation 3740'

Day-Hike 1.5 miles to Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'

Camp at Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'

Miles today: 7.8 miles. Total to date: 7.8 miles

Possible Bailout: South Rim

Monday, April 15, 2019

No water today. We must carry 2 gallons each.

Hike 2.5 miles to Horn Creek, elevation 3550'. The water here is (or can be) radioactive.

Hike 4.8 miles to Salt Creek, elevation 3550'.

Camp at Salt Creek, site BL5, elevation 3550'. No potable / treatable water here. The water here has a high mineral content.

Miles Today: 7.3. Total to Date: 15.1

Possible Bailout: Colorado River

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hike 3.4 miles to the Tonto Trail, site BL7, elevation 2995'

Hike 1.6 miles through a slot canyhon to Granite Rapids on the Colorado River, site BL8, elevation 2330'

Camp at Granite Rapids site BL8, elevation 2330'. Reliable water is found at Monument Creek below the Tonto Trail

Miles Today: 5.0. Total to Date: 20.1

Possible Bailout: Colorado River

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hike 1.6 miles to the Tonto Trail / Monument Creek, site BL7, elevation 2995'

Hike 2.3 miles to the Hermit Trail Junction, elevation 3210'

Hike 1.2 miles to Hermit Creek, Campsite BM7, elevation 2900'

Hike 1.5 miles to Hermit Rapids, Campsite BM8, elevation 2200'

Camp at Campsite BM8, elevation 2200'.

Miles today: 6.6 miles. Total to date: 26.7 miles

Possible Bailout: Hermit Trailhead or Colorado River

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Very short day today. Rest up for tomorrow's difficult hike

Hike 1.5 miles to Hermit Creek, Campsite BM7, elevation 2900'

Camp at Campsite BM7, elevation 2900'. Water is reliable here.

Miles today: 1.5 miles. Total to date: 28.2 miles

Possible Bailout: Hermit Trailhead or Colorado River

Friday, April 19, 2019

Hike 1.2 miles to the Hermit Trail Junction, elevation 3210'

Hike 1.5 difficult uphill miles to Breezy Point, elevation 4420'

Hike 3.3 uphill miles to Santa Maria Spring, elevation 5000'

Hike 2.2 grueling uphill miles to the Hermit Trailhead, elevation 6640', this part will be difficult

Miles today: 8.2 miles. Total to date: 36.4 miles

Possible Bailout: Hermit Trailhead

End of Hiking

Take Shuttle Bus to Visitors Center. Spend a half hour at the Visitors Center

Take Purple Shuttle Bus to Tusayan Park and Ride

"After" body composition measurements taken

Shuttle to Flagstaff for Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Suggestion: Lumberyard Brewing Company

Shuttle back to Phoenix. Check into local hotel (TBD)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take free airport shuttle

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