Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rimprint
Hiking from one rim of the canyon to the other allows you to experience breathtaking views and the vast expanse of the canyon. Just Roughin’ It’s guided Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim backpacking trip offers that and much more! This tour has you hiking from 7,000 ft (2.1 km) on the South Rim to over 8,000 ft (2,400m) on the North Rim and back again. Along the way, we will pass waterfalls, hike along Bright Angel Creek, visit Phantom Ranch, dip our toes in the Colorado River (two time members of the Mile Deep Club!) and see evidence of the ancient civilizations that once called Grand Canyon their home.
Since the road to access the North Rim does not open until May 15th of every year and is closed through the winter months, there is a small window of opportunity to complete a Rim to Rim backpacking trip with Just Roughin’ It. But a Rim to Rim to Rim allows you access to the North Rim during other times of the year, like April and early May. Plus, during that time there are fewer people on the trails heading up to the North Rim, so more solitude. This trip is not offered during the heavy Rim to Rim season (May 15 through October 31st).
*Route Variation - Our specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability.
Need more information about the trails? Click the below links for the official South Kaibab, North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail descriptions from Grand Canyon National Park.
North Kaibab Trail
South Kaibab Trail
Bright Angel Trail
We will pick you up in North Scottsdale from your hotel and drive to the South Rim. Once we arrive at the trailhead, we begin our hike down the South Kaibab Trail, which is 7 miles (11.26km) and 4,800 ft (1,460m) down to Bright Angel Campground. We will get an opportunity to visit Phantom Ranch and Boat Beach along the Colorado River. The hike from the rim to the campground takes 5.5 hours on average.
After breakfast, we pack up camp and head toward the North Rim along the North Kaibab Trail. We will cover 7 miles (11.26km) with a 1,500 ft (457m) gain in elevation before reaching Cottonwood Campground. This campground only has about 11 campsites and is very peaceful. There is running water and composting toilets, as well as Bright Angel Creek to take a dip or just sit by and relax. Our average time to reach Cottonwood camp is about 4.5 hours.
We continue along the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim. The hike out covers 7 miles (11.26km) with a 4,200 ft (1,300m) gain in elevation before reaching the rim. Once at the top we still have to cover about 1 mile before reaching the campground on the rim. Be prepared for a colder night and the possibility of some snow on the ground (yes, snow in Arizona) since we will be camping at over 8,000 ft (2,400m) in elevation. Average time to the top is about 6 hours.
Today we start our journey back to the South Rim and we head back the way we came along the North Kaibab Trail covering the 7 miles (11.26km) and 4,200 ft (1,300m) down to Cottonwood Campground. Our average time to reach Cottonwood camp is 5 hours.
We pack up and hike along Bright Angel Creek to Bright Angel Campground – same place we were on day 1. Can’t get enough of Phantom Ranch? Plus, if you missed a couple places to explore the first time through, here is another chance. Along the way from Cottonwood to Bright Angel, we will hike back into Ribbon Falls, Hike time today is about 5.5 hours and covers 7 miles (11.26km), dropping 1,500 ft (457m) in elevation.
We start the hike back to the South Rim along Bright Angel Trail. After 5 short miles (8 km), we set up camp at Indian Garden. The hike takes us 1,400 ft (426.72 m) up in elevation. Since the hike only takes about 3.5 hours, we usually hike to Plateau Point for stunning sunset views of the inner canyon and the Colorado River. Although this is the most popular option, many other hikes are available.
Up, up and away! Although this hike is only 4.5 miles (7.24 km), there is a 3,000 ft (914.4 m) increase in elevation. This hike takes the average group 4.5 hours to complete. You should have a couple hours to grab a bite to eat, souvenir shop and hang out with all the bus tourists before heading back to Flagstaff and Phoenix at 1:30pm. The drive back to north Scottsdale is about 4 hours and we should arrive around 5:30pm.
Share your experience! Review this trip
I came home from the trip, with my 13 year old son* yesterday. I had been wanted to make a rim to run journey for over a year and I am so glad I did.
The weather was extremely hot even for Grand Canyon , 113 in the shade at Phantom Ranch, at end of day two. That's hot in anyone's book.
Our guide, Danny, had warned us that it was up early (3:45) when on the trail to beat the heat. That saved us because by 10:30 it was pushing 100 and climbing. His knowlage but easy going direction kept us going and away from any major mistakes.
The trip was probably one of the hardest things I have ever undertaken. I have a lot of camping under my belt but this was tough. Probably in part because the location was unknown to me.
When your in the Canyon you can't help but be overcome by the magnitude of the place. It is really beyond my words to describe.
When I finally climbed out, soaked with sweat, dirty beyond words, soar, slightly blistered and exsausted I was so glad I had done it. This is a feeling I will always remember as amazing and so so worth it.
Our guid was great, the driver who transported us to and from Phonix kept us safe and on time (very important). The food though not gourmet, was great and was just what we all needed. I would highly recommend it to someone who is really interested.
*about children, my son is in very very good shape and left me and most of the other adults in his dust. We were also lucky that another boy close to his age was on the trip so they formed a school yard friendship during the trip that helped.
Great trip. Had a very good time, very glad I went on the Rim to Rim to Rim backpacking trip. Zack was an excellent guide, I felt very save with his expertise. Food was great. Thank you.
Trip Cost Per Person
Choose a price to find your trip dates!
- Round trip transportation from Fairfield Inn Scottsdale North (Phoenix area).
- All permits, fees and taxes.
- All food while on the trail prepared on the trail by your guide.
- Double occupancy tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, trekking poles. A single tent is available for an additional $50.
- A certified, medically trained guide that will lead you safely on your journey.
- An unforgettable experience!
Our price does not include guide gratuity ($25-$35 per person per day is recommended).
Now’s the time to consider purchasing a travel protection plan to help protect your trip investment. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0152.
Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 W20
Upcoming Trip Schedule
Select a date below to get started.