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South Kaibab Trail
Backpacking & Hiking Trips

Spring 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: April 13–17, 2024
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trip Length: 5 Days
  • Cost: $1,575
  • Group size: 11

Get ready for an epic adventure in the heart of the Grand Canyon! 

This classic bucket-list hike is calling your name - South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail!

Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or new to backpacking at Grand Canyon - this trip 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 Rim to the canyon's bottom.  

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 that Grand Canyon holds. Pack your sense of adventure and get ready to embark on an incredible exploration together! 

David Wallace BA Trail

Looking down on the Bright Angel Trail. Photo Credit: David Wallace

Are you physically ready to hike the canyon?  

Hiking at the 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 the Grand Canyon unforgettable!

Trip Highlights

  • Embark on an unforgettable and thrilling adventure deep into the heart of the majestic Grand Canyon!
  • Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring wonders hidden beneath towering cliffs, creating an experience that will leave you breathless with excitement!
  • Prepare for an exhilarating challenge as we conquer a long, 7-mile hike with a 5,000-foot descent from the South Rim to the canyon's bottom.
  • Push your limits as the trail tests your mettle, but the rewards that await you are absolutely worth every step!
  • Imagine sleeping beneath a celestial canopy, serenaded by the enchanting sounds of Bright Angel Creek, while witnessing the mesmerizing spectacle of spring bursting to life within the inner canyon.
  • Don't worry if you're new to backpacking in the Grand Canyon—this classic route is designed to be enjoyable for adventurers of all levels who are physically fit.
  • Prepare to be amazed at every twist and turn as you step into the untamed wilderness of the Grand Canyon, where thrilling adventures await at every corner.
  • This is your chance to forge unforgettable memories amidst the grandeur and majesty of this natural wonder, leaving you with a profound sense of accomplishment and a deeper connection to the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon.


Meet your Grand Canyon expert

John Begay standing on edge of Grand Canyon

John Begay

My name is John Begay. I am a field instructor with the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute. Native from the Navajo Nation, currently living in Flagstaff, AZ. I have been coming to Grand Canyon for 12 years involved with educational guided trips or personal adventures. I choose to work at Grand Canyon for many reasons, the main being that it is alluring marvel. It is a location that continues to draw me in with its incredible beauty and fascinating history. Grand Canyon is called home to many of us in the Southwest, inviting us back to keep exploring while preserving it. 

What's Included

Price for the trip 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

You are responsible for:

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


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.”