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Coconino Overlook North Rim
Backpacking & Hiking Trips

Rim to Rim: South to North

Reverse the typical route and hike the canyon's rims from South to North.

  • Dates: May 11–15, 2024
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trip Length: 5 Days
  • Cost: $1,625
  • Group size: 11

Get ready for a unique and thrilling adventure! 

Most Rim-to-Rim hikes follow the traditional North to South route, but going in reverse adds an exciting twist. It means more time to enjoy Cottonwood Camp and Ribbon Falls, making the journey even more fun! 

Going South to North is a challenging way to experience Rim-to-Rim. The miles are longer, and the daily elevation change is more demanding compared to the traditional route. It's perfect for those with Grand Canyon backpacking experience seeking a one-of-a-kind adventure. 

If you're up for the challenge and crave a truly unique Rim-to-Rim experience, then a South to North journey is calling your name. Prepare for an unforgettable adventure amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon. 

Park Ranger at Supai Tunnel

A Park Ranger and a Field Institute participant smile for the camera at Supai Tunnel on the North Rim

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 you to-dos
  • 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

Alexi Kimiatek

Alexi Kimiatek

Alexi discovered his love for the outdoors growing up in the hardwood forests of New England. After finishing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in evolutionary ecology he worked as a seasonal field ornithologist for several research institutes, including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center before discovering the canyon country of the southwest.  Enchanted by the landscapes and cultures of the Colorado plateau, Alexi has been exploring the geology, flora, fauna, and human history of northern Arizona and southern Utah as a backpacking guide and fervent student of the outdoors.  In addition to guiding, Alexi also contributes to subterranean bat surveys for Bat Conservation International.  Alexi now lives in Sedona, Arizona and spends most of his time in Grand Canyon or recreating in the desert with his dogs.

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

Transportation from North Rim to South Rim 

What's not included

You are responsible for:

All of your backpacking and hiking equipment

Gear rentals are available from Grand Canyon Village Marketplace on the South Rim. If you are renting, make sure you reserve the equipment you need in advance

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.”