Skip to content
Field Institute guide points out features in the canyon
Backpacking & Hiking Trips

Rim to Rim: North to South

Adventure through the canyon while experiencing both rims - and immerse yourself in autumn beauty.

  • Dates: September 30–October 6, 2024
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trip Length: 7 Days
  • Cost: $1,800
  • Group size: 11

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim trip! 

It's a bucket list item that guarantees an unforgettable experience filled with excitement and awe. 

On this trail, you'll witness the incredible diversity of Canyon. From lush boreal forests on the North Rim to cactus-filled deserts at the bottom, the scenery will leave you breathless.  

At GCCFI, we prioritize creating the best experience for you. We take our time, savoring the sights and sounds along the way. With a well-deserved layover day at the bottom, you'll have a chance to recover from the challenging descent. 

While a Rim-to-Rim hike isn't easy, it can be a great starting point for backpacking newcomers, especially for those new to Grand Canyon adventures. Don't worry, our experienced guides will ensure your safety and provide support throughout the journey. 

Remember, there's no such thing as a bad route in Grand Canyon. However, there's only one route that takes you from rim to rim, and that's the one you don't want to miss! 

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!

Get ready for an epic adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime. Join us on this thrilling Rim-to-Rim trip and immerse yourself in the wonders of Grand Canyon. 

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!  

Take a moment to reflect on your fitness level and ask yourself:  

  • Endurance: Can you handle hiking downhill and walking long distances with weight?
  • Stamina: Are you up for hiking several miles per day, conquering varied terrain, and dealing with elevation changes?  
  • Strength: Can you carry a 25-35 pound backpack for hours while navigating challenging trails and steep sections?  
  • Balance and Coordination: Are you confident in your ability to navigate uneven and rocky terrain like a pro?  
  • Flexibility: Can you move comfortably, bend, squat, and stretch to handle the physical demands of backpacking?  
  • Altitude: Are you prepared for the effects of high altitude and ready to acclimatize properly?  
  • Medical Considerations: Have you consulted a healthcare professional if you have pre-existing conditions that might be affected by the demands of backpacking? 

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, checking this bucket list trip off your to-dos
  • 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 North Rim

Itinerary

Meet your Grand Canyon expert

Lisa Kbiophoto

Lisa Kearsley

MS

Lisa Kearsley came to love the Grand Canyon while spending her childhood summers on the North Rim as her father studied Kaibab squirrels. She moved to Arizona in the 1980s to earn a master’s degree in biology at Northern Arizona University and, like many who have come to Arizona, she never left. She has worked for the National Park Service at Grand Canyon as an interpretive park ranger and as a researcher, studying the effects of Glen Canyon Dam on the river, and she wrote and published a river guide book, the San Juan River Guide. She eventually found that introducing people to the Southwest is her true calling. She now focuses on helping people experience the Grand Canyon by getting them prepared for Grand Canyon river trips and by leading hikes and backpack trips into the canyon. She also is a natural science illustrator, working with pen and ink and watercolor. 

What's included

Price for the class includes:

Our expert instructors

Gear lists

Food and menu planning ideas

Backcountry permits for backpacking into Grand Canyon

Expedition First Aid kits

Corridor Trails have food/critter safe boxes provided in sites

Group water filter

Satellite phone

Shuttle from South Rim to North Rim

Camping on North Rim the night before hike in day

What's not included

You are responsible for:

All of your backpacking and hiking equipment

Your food

Transportation to and from the canyon

Hotel lodging in the park before or after your trip

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

Additional notes

Recent comparable backpacking experience is a prerequisite for all rim-to-rim backpacking trips

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.”