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South Bass Trail


Adventure Details

Welcome to the Grand Canyon South Bass backpacking page! All the information you desire can be found amongst these pages. 

South Bass Trail


The South Bass trail is a remote and historic trail in Grand Canyon National Park that cuts from the South Rim of Grand Canyon to the Colorado River and lies about 25 miles (40.2 km) west of Grand Canyon Village and the Bright Angel Trail. This tour features Native American ruins, remains of old tourist camps and amazing views of the inner canyon in an area that few people reach when they visit the park. This is also a great way to get to camp on one of the many beaches of the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon with out seeing other hikers, or anyone for that matter - maybe a river trip or two.

Just want a 3 day adventure? Simply take off the first day of camping on the rim and plan to start the trek to the river the same day we drive to the trail head.

*Route Variation - Our specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability.

Looking for some other options similar to this trip? Check out the South Bass Packrafting 5 Day or the Hermit 3 Day trips.

Need more information about the trails? Click here for the official South Bass Trail description from Grand Canyon National Park.

Day 1

We will meet you at the hotel, drive to the canyon, and then along dirt roads in the park until we reach the South Bass Trailhead. The drive is 6 hours from Phoenix and about 3.5 hours from Flagstaff. Once at the trailhead, we set up camp for the night and explore the remains of William Wallace Bass's 100-year-old camp on the rim. If time allows, we head over to Ruby Point in the afternoon to soak in the view from one of the most scenic points on the rim. 

Day 2

Today we start our descent down the South Bass Trail. This trail is steep in sections but absolutely flat for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) along the Esplanade, which is a high plateau in the canyon. The hike to the Colorado River is 8 miles (12.9 km) with a drop in elevation of 4,440 ft (1,353m). On this night we will camp on the south-side beach of the Colorado River along Bass Rapids.

Day 3

Today we start our hike out of the canyon along the South Bass Trail to our next camp at the Esplanade. The distance from the river to camp is about 5 miles (8km) with a 3,150 ft. (960m) elevation gain. Total hiking time is about 4 to 5 hours. Once on the Esplanade, we take a cross country, off trail hike on the plateau out toward Spencer Terrace for some incredible views of the inner canyon. This is one of the few places you can hike off trail with relative ease.

Day 4

On this day, there is a short 2.8 mile (4.5km) hike back to the top with a 1,250 ft (380m) elevation gain. It usually takes about two hours to hike out from here. Once at the top, we will head to Grand Canyon Village for souvenir shopping and lunch before heading back to the hotel to complete your journey. 


Share your experience!    Review this trip


Our South Bass Trail Packraft trip was outstanding. Our group (4 people total) had an excellent guide who was very knowledgeable about the land, the rocks, the plants and the "living dirt"! He provided us with daily nourishment for our hiking and refueiling. And he provided French-pressed coffee every morning to our delight. The equipment that Just Roughin' It provides is top of the line. No injuries, bruises or blisters from the JRI equipment. This was an experience of a lifetime for me. I had never hiked or camped inside the Canyon before and this was very rewarding for me. I went with my son and we both had a great time and took hundreds of pictures. Would I use JRI again? Absolutely!

Greg Valchar



Ever since I got back I have not stopped talking about how great the trip was! Just Roughin' It was a perfect set up for a couple of college students. It was so nice to be picked up & dropped off from our hotel, food was MUCH better than I expected, and our tour guide was amazing. I actually miss her...she was the nicest person I have ever met & she had so much knowledge about the canyon. Our trip could not have been any more perfect. The ONLY thing I could complain about was when I had an allergy scare, the only medicine available was expired...but luckily I was okay! Like I said...BEST TRIP EVER! & and we are already talking about doing another trip with Just Roughin' It when we are able to pay for it again!:)

Katie T.



Trip Cost Per Person
Choose a price to find your trip dates!

3 Day


Early Booking Price (5+ months booked in advance). Includes all park fees.


Booked less than 5 months in advance. Includes all park fees.

4 Day


Early Booking Price (5+ months booked in advance). Includes all park fees.


Booked less than 5 months in advance. Includes all park fees.

What's included?

  • 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 prices do not include guide gratuity ($25-$35 per person per day is recommended).

Click here for Just Roughin' It's Booking and Cancellation Policies

Travel Protection

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



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