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Thunder River

Grand Canyon backpacking Thunder River "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Grand Canyon: Thunder River Backpacking Trips


Grand Canyon Backpacking Thunder River

Originally constructed in 1876 with the rumor of gold discovered along Deer Creek in the inner canyon of Grand Canyon, the Thunder River area is a lush oasis from the North Rim of the canyon, where nary a person rarely explores (that means you may see a handful of people).  Thunder River is also the world's shortest and likely steepest river, so luckily the route was finally completed in 1926 just so you too can explore this gem so few others get a chance to gaze upon.  But once you are there, you will personally experience the contrast between a harsh desert environment and a desert oasis full of green vegetation, pools of crystalline water that pours from the caves carved in the sedimentary cliffs above.  You will quickly understand where Thunder River gets its name.

This beautiful Grand Canyon backpacking trip takes you along a 30 mile loop from 7000 feet to 2000 feet in elevation by the time you reach the Colorado River.  Voted one of the top ten hikes in North America by Backpacker Magazine, you won't even have to take a step on the trail to see why.  Just Roughin' It's Thunder River backpacking tour in the Grand Canyon has vast panoramas of the canyon from the North Rim, but to experience this trip, backpacking experience is necessary.  This 27 mile trip is a challenge that is worth the extra physical preparation necessary to complete the trip - no pain no gain as they say.  The mileage may not seem like much, the in the canyon, 5 to 6 days would be necessary to complete the trip while still enjoying the experience and really taking in all that Mother Nature is offering you in this massive landscape.  While not a trip for the faint of heart or someone with a fear of heights, conquer your fears and you will be not the least bit disappointed.



Number of days: 5-7

Mileage: 30 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 5000 ft

5 Day Itinerary and Trip Details

Trip Ratings

  • Difficulty 8
  • OH @#%&! 8
  • Solitude 8

Trip Cost/Person

5 day 6 day
From Phoenix N/A $1525
From Flagstaff $1325 $1475

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Trip Ratings - Have you been on this trip? Write a Review

Rating: 54321

Overall excellent trip! Jeremy was a knowledgeable, really fun and patient guide who was passionate about the canyon and appreciating all aspects of the trip. I'm used to boy scout hiking trips with freeze dried food, so fresh made actual vittles was quite a treat. Jeremy is quite a good cook. We always had more than we could eat plus plenty of snacks for the trail. the equipment was in very good repair and Jeremy took pains right off to ensure our packs were fitted to us and that we packed them correctly for the long climb down. He also taught us a few neat skills I can take back to our boy scouts for their next hike.

I can't really offer any criticism of the trip other than "Be ready!" 'cause nobody's joking when they say it's a strenuous climb out of the canyon. Thanks for everything.

By Eric K. on 2012-11-21

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