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South Kaibab Field Institute Group Shot
Backpacking & Hiking Trips

Fall South Kaibab to Bright Angel Loop

Experience the heart of Grand Canyon on this journey from the South Kaibab Trail to the Bright Angel Trail! 

  • Dates: November 7–11, 2024
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trip Length: 5 Days
  • Cost: $1,575
  • Group size: 11

Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or new to Grand Canyon backpacking, this route is for you!

On the first day, brace yourself for a thrilling challenge as we conquer a 7-mile, 5,000-foot descent from the South Kaibab to the bottom of the canyon.

November is an enjoyable time of the year to explore Grand Canyon—it's not as hot as usual! This means you can leave behind the scorching temperatures and embrace the refreshing coolness. However, be prepared to pack some cozy gear for sleeping and those cool nights under the starry sky. 

Picture yourself sleeping under a blanket of stars, serenaded by the soothing sounds of Bright Angel Creek. Witness the captivating transformation of the inner canyon as spring breathes new life into the landscape. 

Explore the wonders of Phantom Ranch and savor a peaceful night under the shade of trees in Havasupai Gardens, with the gentle trickle of Garden Creek as your soundtrack. 

Kevin Schindler, former Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence and Public Information Officer at Lowell Observatory will be joining for the final night at Havasupai Gardens to provide an astronomy talk. He'll be bringing his telescope so we can look at dark sky objects together!

Join us on this unforgettable journey as we uncover the hidden treasures and excitement Grand Canyon holds. Pack your sense of adventure and get ready to embark on an incredible exploration together! 

Are you physically ready to hike the canyon?  

Hiking at Grand Canyon is an adventure that demands both fun and serious preparation. This is not the type of terrain where you can simply go from couch, weekend fishing trips, or occasional rounds of golf to backpacking 7-10 miles and expect it to be a breeze. Let's face it, it can be a challenging first day, with constant downhill sections and the weight of heavy packs. We've had to make tough decisions and turn people around for their safety.  

That's why if you're joining us on this incredible journey, it is absolutely crucial that you train beforehand. Strengthening your joints, especially your knees, ankles, and hips, is of utmost importance. This rugged terrain is unforgiving, and we want to ensure that you not only have a fantastic time, but also stay safe and injury-free.  

Take the time to invest in your physical fitness and strength. Engage in a training regimen that targets the specific muscles and joints you'll be relying on during the hike. Incorporate strength training exercises that will build resilience and endurance. Remember, being in strong standing order will greatly enhance your Grand Canyon experience.  

If you sign up with GCCFI, we're here to support your preparation every step of the way. We will provide you with an example 60-day workout schedule that includes mobility, strength, and cardio exercises. Take it seriously and commit to going above and beyond those 60 days. Start right from the moment you sign up! Trust us, investing in your training will not only enhance your experience but also leave you happier and more fulfilled. Let's embark on this adventure together and make unforgettable memories!  

Before making any non-refundable bookings or scheduling for your trip, please pay close attention to the following information! 

Throughout 2024 and 2025, the National Park Service (NPS) will be upgrading the Transcanyon Water Pipeline at Grand Canyon. As a result, there is a possibility of trail closures, particularly on the Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, and North Kaibab Trail.

We want to stress the importance of this: the dates for any activities or programs on these trails are NOT guaranteed due to the potential closures. However, we promise to keep you informed!

We'll email you about the permits and provide updates at least four months before the program start date.

Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities. If, unfortunately, we are unable to run the program within a reasonable time frame of the posted dates, we will fully refund the cost of the program to you.

We understand how excited you must be about this incredible adventure, but it's crucial to be patient and flexible until we can confirm the trail availability. So please, hold off on any non-refundable commitments until we give you the green light!

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Let's work together to make this experience at Grand Canyon unforgettable!

Trip Highlights

  • Embark on the adventure of a lifetime, diving deep into the heart of the Grand Canyon
  • Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring wonders beneath the rim, creating unforgettable memories
  • Experience the unparalleled thrill of triumphing over this demanding trail
  • Your safety is our top priority, ensuring a secure and exhilarating adventure throughout
  • Reward yourself with an extraordinary camping experience under a canopy of twinkling stars
  • Fall asleep to the melodies of Bright Angel Creek and awaken to vibrant fall foliage dancing in the breeze
  • Receive a comprehensive 60-day workout schedule from GCCFI, with mobility, strength, and cardio exercises.
  • GCCFI provides logistics information and transportation to and from the trailhead 

Itinerary

Meet your Grand Canyon expert

Image learn fieldinstitute instructor bio miles 2017

Melanie Miles

BEd

Melanie Miles, originally a native of England, was a teenager when she first visited the Grand Canyon and immediately fell in love with its landscape, geology, and natural & cultural history. From her home base of Prescott, AZ, she has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher and naturalist. Melanie leads groups throughout the world, teaching natural history, earth science, climbing, environmental education, and backcountry skills.

What's Included

Price for the class includes:

Expert and educated instructors who are a treasure trove of knowledge, enhancing your hiking journey with their insightful interpretations and enriching your overall experience

Comprehensive gear list, complete with accompanying videos to guide you through the gear selection process

Food and menu planning ideas

Receive a comprehensive 60-day workout schedule from GCCFI, with mobility, strength, and cardio exercises

Expedition First Aid kits

Food containers are provided in the campgrounds

Group water filter

Satellite phone

Backcountry permits for backpacking into Grand Canyon

What's Not Included

Transportation to and from the canyon

All of your food and gear

Hotel lodging in the park before or after your trip if you would like

Guide gratuity (industry recommendation 15-20% of trip cost, read this article to receive more guidance)

Additional Notes

This is an introduction program, no previous backpacking experience is necessary. Previous camping and hiking experience is encouraged

Age Restrictions: Participants must be 17+ years older for this backpacking program

Cancellation Policy

Please notify our office as soon as possible should you need to cancel your registration. If you cancel or leave a trip for any reason:

  • 60+ days of program start date: full refund, minus a $100 administrative fee will be issued
  • 59 - 45 days prior start date: 50% refund will be issued
  • Less than 45 days to start date, or once trip has begun: we will retain your entire program fee with no exceptions.

Reserved spots are non-transferable to different programs. However, you may substitute members of your party, specific to the trip date with GCCFI approval, with no penalty, up to 30 days prior to departure date.

GCCFI reserves the right to cancel all, or a portion, of a trip for circumstance beyond our control. Circumstances might include, but are not limited to—public land closures, road closures, weather events, fires, or other natural events. Refunds are not offered in these situations. A full trip credit will be issued, minus any non-refundable expenses occurred by GCCFI if the program is cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. GCCFI staff will work to change itinerary to another trail or move hiking locations to a safer area.

We reserve the right to cancel any trip if sign-up is inadequate to make the trip economically feasible for us to operate. In this event, we will give a full refund of the trip price.

GCCFI is not responsible for: air tickets, visa fees if applicable, gear, medical expenses, clothing, and any expenses occurred while preparing for this trip.

We HIGHLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance to help offset any costs incurred if cancellation occurs

Testimonials

Family of 4 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Zelkovic Family

“Our day with the Field Institute exceeded all our expectations and we came away with a great respect for the canyon and for the work of the Conservancy. It was such a wonderful experience from beginning to end and hope we can return in the not so distant future to participate in one of your multi-day programs.”

Family of 5 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Jankowskis

“Our family’s experience was nothing short of amazing! Slim (our guide) provided a perspective we would have never been able to get on our own and we learned so much. Her passion for the canyon and what she does came through too, which made our time something we’ll never forget!”

Five hikers standing on forest cliff edge overlooking Grand Canyon 2017

Amy Waits

“The guides were awesome – so educational and patient!!! Encouraging & helpful in every way. Such an amazing first visit to the canyon – Life changing to have experienced the GC up close & personal… Thank you so much!”

Group of hikers standing and smiling in front of canyon from ground level at Grand Canyon

Joe Sweeney

“I've brought many school groups to the Field Institute and the quality of instruction provides them with an understanding of Indigenous cultures, diverse ecology, and geologic history. Students leave with a stronger sense of self-confidence, an intimate connection to nature, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Field Institute guide educating group of hiker tourists seated on beach with water and canyon in background

Andy M.

“Top to bottom, the Field Institute exceeded all of my expectations .... they ensured we packed wisely for our trip and saved me from lugging around 5 lbs. of junk I didn't need. Overall, it's packed with value that I don't think commercial outfitters would provide and delivered a deeply rich experience.”