Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Trekking Adventure – July 20-25, 2021

The classic Rim to Rim Trek in the Grand Canyon features 24 miles of outstanding trail hiking plus optional hiking at the bottom of the Canyon. We’ll experience amazing views, pass a stunning waterfall (time dependent), enjoy a 2 night stay at the historic Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor, explore the Colorado River, and gain the bragging rights of trekking across the Grand Canyon. This trip is in the summer, which requires extra safety precautions. Therefore, we hit the trail each day in the cooler early morning hours well before the sun rises, which gives us the chance to be part of breathtaking Grand Canyon sunrises while hiking on the path.

Itinerary:

Day 1 – July 20

We arrive today to Flagstaff Pullian Airport in Arizona. After checking in to our hotel we’ll enjoy a short walk around historic downtown flagstaff with numerous art galleries and boutiques and then have our welcome dinner in town. Overnight at Weatherford Hotel or similar. (D)

Day 2 – July 21

After a late breakfast, we’ll slowly check-out and private ground transport to the south rim of the Grand Canyon (90 min.) where we’ll catch the 1:30p Trans Canyon Shuttle up to the north rim (4.5 hour drive). We’ll check-in at our rustic lodging and enjoy dinner before retiring for the evening. We will need to get an early start tomorrow morning to beat the summer heat.
Overnight at Kaibab Lodge or similar. (B, L, D)  

Day 3 – July 22

We meet early in the morning and get dropped off at the North Kaibab Trailhead (30 min.) where we enjoy incredible views looking out into the expansive canyon below. We begin our hike with a series of steep snaking switchbacks through Roaring Springs Canyon.  Upon arrival at the Supai Tunnel we’ll find our first water and restrooms.  The trail continues to descend rapidly through the massive Redwall Limestone layer clinging precipitously to the wall of the cliff while offering stunning vistas.  At Bright Angel Canyon the trail begins to flatten out and descend more gradually.  As we approach Roaring Springs we will hear the raging torrent of water long before we actually see it.  Roaring Springs is the water source for both the North and South Rims.  A short trail leads to the springs gushing from the Muav Limestone as it cascades below over ferns and moss into the Bright Angel Creek. Back on the trail we come to the Pumphouse Residence where the pump house operator resides.  Below Cottonwood Campground the trail continues into the Inner Gorge as the canyon walls narrow into what is known as The Box.  The walls soar high above through this twisting corridor of Vishnu Schist as the trail follows the meandering Bright Angel Creek.  We cross the creek several times over footbridges.  After a little more than a mile we come to the junction of the Clear Creek Trail and then another mile brings us to our destination, Phantom Ranch.  Note:  There are pit toilets and potable water along the trail every few miles.

After we are checked into our cabin with 4 bunkbeds and a private bathroom at Phantom Ranch, we’ll have free time to relax or venture out on our own. The cabins here are equipped with bedding, cold water sink, toilet, liquid soap, and hand towels. Showers, bath towels, hot water sinks, and liquid soap-shampoo combination are provided at a central location. The historic Phantom Ranch was built by the well-known architect Mary Colter back in the 1930’s and is nestled into a canyon facing the river. In the evening, we will enjoy dinner together in the dining hall.  After dinner, depending on the season, the local park ranger may present an interpretive program covering a variety of interesting canyon topics.
(B, L, D)  12 miles hiking – 5,761 ft. elevation loss / overnight at Phantom Ranch

Designed by famed architect Mary Colter, Phantom Ranch opened in 1922. Over the years, it’s been staffed by countless “ranchers,” as they call themselves, who live and eat together, only spending a few days above the rim each month.

Day 4 – July 23

This we stick around the Phantom Ranch area and have a chance to relax and absorb the luster of the Canyon or go on a nice ramble or day hike. Hiking options include an off-trail trek up a side canyon with cascades, pools and oases; a wonderful hike paralleling the Colorado River a thousand feet above it on the Clear Creek Trail; or an easy walk on the River Trail. (B, L, D) overnight at Phantom Rach

Day 5 – July 24

We get up early today and after a hearty breakfast we will be hiking out of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. Leaving Phantom Ranch there is a short, fairly flat hike to the Silver Bridge. Once across the Colorado River the trail traverses about a mile through sand dunes.  Leaving the river behind we continue another half mile onto the true Bright Angel Trail, ascending into the tight switchbacks of the Devil’s Corkscrew.  A gradual climb brings you to the shady oasis of Indian Gardens nestled among the cottonwoods.  It is quite common to see mule deer resting and drinking from the meandering creek.  For the next mile the trail is relatively flat before reaching the most challenging section.  With the rim in sight, the last four miles of the hike present a long series of switchbacks.  This is where the majority of the elevation change takes place.  We also pass through two short tunnels before we crest the rim. After getting cleaned up and resting we will meet for dinner to celebrate our incredible feat. 12 miles hiking – 4,380 ft. elevation gain / Overnight at Miswik Lodge or similar. (B, L, D) 

Day 6 – July 25

After breakfast we set out to explore the canyon from the rim.  As we do some short hikes along the Rim Trail, we experience superb vistas of the Bright Angel Trail, the river below, and in some areas, unrestricted views of up to 40 miles.  In the afternoon we return to Flagstaff (90 min. drive) for our evening flights back home. (B)

Please Note: I always do everything in my power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

PHANTOM RANCH LODGE Grand Canyon

2 NIGHTS

The historical significance and backcountry location of this unique, rustic lodge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon offers guests an unforgettable inn-based hiking experience! (4 person bunk bed rooms, private bathroom with shower, A/C)

Cost: $1,800 per person
          $200 single supplement (for nights 1 and 5 only)

Payment: Full payment due June 1, 2021 

Flexible Cancel Policy: 100% refund up until 2 weeks before day one of trip. 85% refund from 2 weeks out until 3 days before the trip. 50% refund from 3 days until start of the trip.   

Included

  • five nights mostly rustic lodge accommodations (4 person rooms with individual beds & private bath when at Kaibab Lodge and Phantom Ranch)
  • luggage transport from north rim to south rim (no luggage service available while hiking in the canyon, so you will still need to carry your belongings for days 2,3, and 4)
  • all ground transportation during the trip, starting and ending at the airport.
  • all meals starting with dinner on day one and ending with breakfast on day six
  • All park and attractions entrance fees

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Not Included

  • flights to and from Rapid City airport  
  • alcoholic beverages
  • travel insurance

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Other

  • itinerary / hikes subject to change
  • please wear face covering inside ground transportation vehicles
  • If you haven’t received your covid-19 vaccine as of July 21 – a negative test taken at least 72 hours prior to arrival is required.
  • packing list to follow

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About Author
Jack Witt