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FAQs for Just Roughin' It

We have plenty of answers when it comes to people asking us about Grand Canyon guided hiking tours or trails at Olympic National Park. Just Roughin' It has experience and knowledge about Arizona hiking trails, hiking trails in Washington state and Yosemite hiking trails to help you as you prepare and plan. "Won't you please, please help me." - The Beatles

Is Just Roughin' It an authorized guide service?

Yes. We have received permits and authorization for each hiking/backpacking tour location as required by the National Parks, Forest Services and the Bureau of Land Management.  Before choosing a guide company, we highly recommend you check if it is authorized to guide in the area you wish to hike.  See below for contact information.  In addition, all of our expert guides have a Wilderness First Responder certification, which means they are trained to respond to emergency situations in remote settings.

- Grand Canyon National Park Guided Tours
- Paria Canyon AZ
- Aravaipa Canyon
- Yosemite National Park Guided Tours
- Olympic National Park
- Tonto National Forest

What's included in the price of a Just Roughin' It trip?

Almost all Arizona day and multi-day hiking or backpacking trips include roundtrip transportation from Phoenix and/or Flagstaff. All Yosemite multi-day backpacking trips include roundtrip transportation from Fresno or Oakhurst and Olympic multi-day backpacking trips include transportation to and from the trailhead from Port Angeles.  All of our hiking and backpacking trips, whether Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Olympic, include all necessary gear (tent - double occupancy, sleeping bag, bag liner, air mattress, mess kit, headlamp, trekking poles, backpack, 3 liters of water carrying capacity) certified guide, permits and fees and all meals and snacks while on the trail. Tips for your awesome guides are NOT included in the price.

Grand Canyon and Yosemite day hikes do not include transportation to and from the park.  

Why does a Just Roughin' It trip cost more than the other guide services?

Actually, it doesn't.  Look very closely when comparing price as there is always more to it than just the stated price.  Other companies charge taxes, don't supply all gear like headlamps and water bottles (which you would then need to purchase or rent), require you to be in Flagstaff the night before-costing you additional money in shuttle services or rental cars, and may even charge an additional fee for special diets.  We charge for none of this and can even pick you up in Phoenix - making your travels much easier as we handle the logistics for you.  Even with early booking discounts, we come out to be a better value - saving you time and money.

How far in advance should I plan a hiking and backpacking trip?

For all of our trips, we advise that you plan your hiking or backpacking trip at least five months in advance because many areas we offer trips require permits, which are limited, go on sale 4-6 months prior to your trip date and will sell out the first day of sale.   You also want to ensure we have space for your trip on our calendar.  However, if you cannot plan your trip that far in advance, there are many occasions where we do have spaces left for certain trips and dates so we will try to accommodate your requests the best we can.  Also, if you do not see a trip or dates on our calendar that you are looking for, give us a call and we will try to find something that will work for you. 

Do remember, planning in advance also allows you time to train for your trip.

Phoenix area day hikes and kayaking trips can be scheduled with at least 48 hrs noticed depending on availability.

What is your payment and cancellation policy for backpacking trips?

The price for each trip can be found on the trip description pages. A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip price is due upon booking.  The remaining balance is due 60 days before the trip departure.  If you sign up less than 60 days before the trip departure, the full amount of the trip is due when booking.

We do accept PayPal's Bill Me Later becasue everyone wants to book with us but sometimes that 50% deposit cramps the check book.  (Do people still use checks?)  I used Traveler's Checks a couple years ago and 90% of the people I tried to give them to had no idea what they were - but that is another story.

We follow a strict No Refund Policy.  Once you book, we offer no refunds, reschedules, or transfers for any reason unless we were unable to obtain a permit for the itinerary for which you booked.  We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance to cover any and all monies paid out for your trip.  Travel insurance companies will cover all your non-refundable fees and have several packages and different price levels depending on how much coverage you need.

Pricing for all of our trips does not include guide gratuity. Our guides are awesome - they deserve a little extra $! Tips are usually 10% of the total trip price.

What is your payment and cancellation policy for day trips?

The price for each trip can be found on the trip description pages. A non-refundable payment of the full trip price is due upon booking. 

We follow a strict No Refund Policy.  Once you book, we offer no refunds.  However, if you cancel before 72 hours before your trip date, you can rescehdule your trip for another date within a year of the original trip date.  We will only allow one rescehdule.  We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance to cover any and all monies paid out for your trip.  Travel insurance companies will cover all your non-refundable fees and have several packages and different price levels depending on how much coverage you need.

Pricing for all of our trips does not include guide gratuity. Our guides are awesome - they deserve a little extra $! Tips are usually 10% of the total trip price.

Do you charge taxes for any of your services?

No.  The state of Arizona does not require a tax to be charged for services.  The price we quote you or listed on the website is the price for the trip - unless you are requesting anything additional. 

What might those additional fees be?

We do charge additional fees for the following...

  • Luggage storage.  Hotels we recommend can store your additional luggage while you're away.  If you require us to store any luggage other than that which you are using for the backpacking trip, there is a $25/bag fee.
  • Different locations for pick ups and drop offs (when transportation is included).  If you are requesting to be dropped of at the end of your trip at a different location than where you were picked up, there is a $50-$100/person fee.  We charge this fee because of the extra luggage handling, paperwork and logistics involved.
  • Single supplement.  All our trips are based on double occupancy.  However, we do not force double occupancy for guests of different genders that are not together on the trip.  You may also automatically get a single tent since many of our trips have an "odd man out."  However, if neither of these apply to you and you request a single tent, the fee is $50.
  • Shipping fees.  Please do not leave your items behind!  Make sure you have removed all your items from the packs and vehicle before you leave.  Anything we have to ship back will incur a minimum of $20 for shipping and handling.
  • Late fees.   It is essential we have all your registration and waivers turned into us no later than 30 days after receipt of your registration form that will be sent via email (or upon receipt when booking less than 30 days prior).  If your forms are not received within this time frame, you may be charged a late fee or your trip may be forteited without any refunds of monies already paid.

Why do I want to hire a guide service?

We know the terrain, the gear and are trained to respond in an emergency.  A guidebook can only take you so far. Our guides provide you with some security. Plus, we take the guess work out of planning a backpacking, hiking or kayaking adventure.  We take care of the logistics, the gear and the food for you.  You just need to bring yourself - ready for adventure of course! Our clients come to us because they know they're going to have a safe and unbelievably fun time.

Do I have to hire a guide service to hike any of the locations Just Roughin' It offers?

No, there is no requirement put forth by the National Park Service, National Forest Service, BLM, etc that requires a hiker to hire a guide.  Hiring a guide is solely your choice and is a service available to anyone looking for more than just following a map or a guide book.  See "Why do I need a guide service."

What kind of outdoors experience is required?

We cater to all ability levels, so we offer a wide variety of tours from day hikes and kayaking trips to challenging backpacking adventures. We can also adapt our tours to suit your allotted time frame.  The amount of outdoors experience you need really depends on the trip you would like to go on and we will help you determine what trip is best for you.

Do I need to be physically fit to go on a backpacking/hiking trip?

Absolutely!  And you also need to train.  Would you run a marathon without training first?  I should hope not.  If you are not sure if you are in shape for one of our trips, please be sure to talk to us first and be ready to train!  We also have plenty of exercise and training tips found on our blog.

How old do you have to be to go on one of your adventure trips?

People from 7 to 82 years old have gone on one of our trips.  Age doesn't matter as much as your fitness level, so any age can go as long as the requested trip meets your physical ability. Contact us so we can help you plan the right backpacking trip for you and your group. 

I have some pre-existing medical conditions. Does that prevent me from taking the trip?

This has happened before and NO, we will not refund any monies paid to the company when you book a trip without full disclosure.  For example, if you book knowing you have back issues that would not allow you to carry the weight of the backpack and then this information is disclosed later, we will not refund your trip if we as a company decide you cannot go on the trip.  This would be the same as failing to disclose pre-existing conditions to a travel insurance comany.  When guests book, we are very upfront with what the trips are like and what the expectations are.  We expect the same from guests so we can put you on a trip that is right for you.  Safety is key and lack of disclosure compromises this safety of everyone.

I booked a trip that I, or my friends or family members that I booked or convinced to book are not physically capable of doing. Can the route be changed?

Please never book a trip for yourself or anyone else if you are not physically able to complete the trip. We attempt to screen all our guests and place them on trips we feel to be appropriate based on the information provided to us. Once you book, due to permitting issues or because other people are booked on the trip, we cannot start changing itineraries. Be absolutely certain what you book works for you, your group is 100% aware of what they are going be doing (please have them contact us as well), and be prepared to train. No joke, we have had guests book their friends and their friends showed up shocked and in awe they had to carry their own gear!

But what if something happened from the time we booked and the time of the trip?

If that happens, contact us and we will help determine if you are capable of completing the trip based on your current status. But this is where travel insurance becomes very important.

How much weight will I be carrying for a multi-day backpacking trip?

Depending on the number of days you will be on the trail and type of trip - you can expect to carry 25 - 45 pounds. We can give you tips on how to pack lightly and efficiently.  If you are on a three day hiking trip in Grand Canyon, expect to carry less than if you are on a 7 day hiking trip in Yosemite. Additionally, some trips do have dry camps and will require you to carry additional water.

It is a general rule that the guide carries all the food and cooking supplies (except for maybe the lighter, bulkier food items that the guide cannot fit into their pack).  However, if you are on an extended trip of 5 or more days, you may be required to carry some food the first day or two to help the guide out.  You are required to carry all the gear we supply (tent - double occupancy, sleeping bag, sleep sheet, mat, backpack, mess kit, headlamp, snacks and water) and all your personal gear.  If on a Yosemite trip, you will also be carrying a bear canister for the food.

How much should I tip my guide?

Tips are generally around 10% of the price of your trip. Please tip your guide what you believe to be appropriate and what you can afford.

Will I see some good scenery on your trips?

That depends on what trip package you purchase.  Our cheap trips will take you to the back alleys of the wilderness areas with limited view (much like limited view seating at a football game).  You really had to ask?  You will experience some of the best scenery in the United States on all our trips!

How do we get to the trail head?

We take care of all the transportation for all our Arizona and Yosemite hiking and backpacking trips.  You can also choose to meet at the park or trail head, but there is no discount when supplying your own transportation.  All Olympic hiking and backpacking trips are meet at the park.

How large are backpacking tour groups?

We keep our groups small so that we can provide each person with some individual attention. Grand Canyon tours have a 1:5, guide to guest ratio and other tours may have a 1:7, guide to guest ratio max. We can make your trip private for an additional fee.

Can solo hikers or small groups join existing groups?

Yes. Check out our trip calendar page to find out what trips are already scheduled and can accommodate more people. 

Can I make a trip private?

If you already have a pre-arranged group of friends or family that meets our maximum group size, your trip will be private. If not, you will be asked to pay for all available spaces we could sell to other guests. To put this in perspective - if you wanted to have a restaurant all to yourself for 2 hours would you expect the restaurant to charge you for just your meals or for the income they are losing by turning other patrons away for that time frame?  All of our day trips are already private.

What hiking and backpacking gear do you supply?

We supply each guest with $800 to $1000 worth of gear.  Each guest is outiffited with a backpack, sleeping bag, liner sheet, meal kit, headlamp, trekking poles and tent (double occupancy).  Day packs are supplied for any day hikes or backpacking trips with dayhiking trips as part of the itinerary.  Click here for information about our gear.

What hiking gear do I need to bring?

We provide all the food, gear and equipment you will need on the trip. Please visit the Our Gear tab for a detailed list. Guests are responsible for their own personal items like clothes and toiletries.

What kind of meals does Just Roughin' It provide?

Our food is extremely tasty and we do more than just add water. We are one of the few West coast, Southwest and Arizona adventure tours and guide services in the nation to offer such an eclectic, mouthwatering menu; but, you have to come on one of our trips to give it a taste test. A local chef developed the menu with delicious entrees that are prepared by the guide. We can accommodate vegetarians and guests with food allergies (i.e. gluten/wheat free diets).

What if all I want is a guide?

We offer a guide-only option on most trips for experienced hikers. You provide your own gear, food and transportation, and we just show you the way.  This is a great option for larger groups of hikers but not so much if you are a solo hiker or part of a smaller group.

Will I get pampered on your trip?

No joke, we have been asked this question before and even received a guest complaint that they did not get pampered on our trip.  Note the name "Just Roughin' It" and that you are going on a backpacking trip.  If you want to be pampered, visit a spa (or start wearing diapers).

I started the hike and I am too tired to hike out. Can I get a helicopter or mule ride out?

This is not really a FAQ but it only takes one time for someone to go on one of our trips and tell us they should have been told this bit of information.  So here goes...No! You must be physically and mentally capable to complete any trip you sign up for.  While things happen, i.e. sprained ankles, blisters, soreness, fatigue, etc. - if you can walk, the National Park Service does expect our guests to self evacuate - especially being that you are on a guided trip.  A helicopter ride means you are likely unconscious, have a rectal temperature of 106 degrees or have encountered Annie Wilkes on the trail. For those of you unfamiliar - Google "Misery hobbling."

Where do Just Roughin' It trips in Arizona and Grand Canyon originate?

For all Arizona hiking or backpacking trips, we can pick you up from your hotel in Phoenix (Scottsdale) or Flagstaff (for a list of hotels we offer pick up, please see the Prepare for Your Trip information).  Since the metro area is very large and can add 1+ hours to the drive time and can take everyone off schedule, we will only pick up at the North Scottsdale hotels listed in the Pre-trip information. We can meet you at Grand Canyon National Park for certain trips but we will not discount the trip if you decide to use your own transportation. 

Where do Just Roughin' It trips in Yosemite National Park originate?

For all Yosemite National Park hiking or backpacking trips, we can pick you up from your hotel in Fresno, Clovis or Oakhurst (for a list of hotels we offer pick up, please see the Prepare for Your Trip information).   We can meet you at Yosemite National Park for certain trips but we will not discount the trip if you decide to provide your own transportation. 

Where do Just Roughin' It trips in Olympic National Park originate?

All Olympic hiking and backpacking trips are meet at the park.

Can I book a flight out on the same day as the final day of my trip?

You can, but ask yourself if you should.  There are numerous obstacles that can interfere with you catching your flght on time - variable hiking speeds, weather, trail conditions, rush hour traffic, road closures, traffic accidents, a tire blowout, an alien invasion and the multitude of other things out of our and your control.  If you choose to fly out the same day as your hike concludes, be aware that JRI is not responsible for any expenses incurred for missed flights, change fees, cancellation fees, etc.  Oh, and not to mention the undue stress this can cause yourself, the guide and other guests knowing that any delay on the trail could result in you missing your flight.  It is best to save your travel for the next day to ensure the trip is enjoyable for you and your hiking companions.

How about a spa appointment? Can I book one of those the same day the hike concludes?

Yes, this has actually happened.  Please see the above answer about flights on the same day as the last day of your trip.

Can I eat or drink in the shuttle vehicles?

No!  And why you may ask?  Becasue we would have to charge more for our trips to compensate for everytime we have to detail the vehicle because of that one person who says they are careful and never spills in the vehicle ultimately is the one who does.  Not to mention the major bummer for the person sitting next to you when they get a crotch-full of hot coffee because sometimes being very careful isn't good enough if the driver has to stop abruptly or hits a bump in the road.  AND because we use our vehicles in Yosemite and bears will peel the vehicles open like a banana to get whatever crumbs are left behind.  We makes plenty of stops for guests to grab a snack.  Water is allowed.

Do you cancel or reschedule trips due to weather?

No; however, we do reserve the right to change the itinerary to avoid any dangerous weather conditions and make your trip safe and enjoyable. Just remember that we cannot control the weather.  Weather can change at anytime, regardless of the forecast.  Once you are in the wilderness, you must expect the weather can turn at any time.  Our guides are prepared and trained to help you in adverse weather conditions, but we do reseerve the right to reroute and shorten a trip for the safety of the group.

But what if I want and expect sunny conditions with no rain?

Come to Phoenix in June - sunny and hot!

Do you offer discounts?

Only if you are a repeat guest.  Repeat guests get 10% off any trip they book for themselves for life. Other than that, we do not discount our trips. We are appropriately priced for the service we provide. If you think we are overpriced, please do not book with us.

Can I get a pack horse or mule or porter to carry my gear?

NO!  Our philosophy is there is more personal gratification in finishing your hike by yourself - no support except what your guide, the JRI staff and your fellow hikers provide. 

Are the hiking trails highly populated?

While the popularity of certain trails vary from location to location and season to season, our guides have the knowledge and experience to give you a little "you" time on any adventure. Please inquire if you are looking for popularity or seclusion.  Also see each trip description for the "Solitude" rating.

Can I customize my hiking or backpacking trip?

If you do not see an itinerary or dates you are looking for on our calendar, we can customize a trip for you.

Are there bathroom facilities?

Some locations have composting toilets along the trail, such as parts of the Grand Canyon hiking trails, but most other rugged locations do not. You'll need to be a little comfortable with nature so to speak. Some locations require you to carry out your waste, but most just require you to carry out your toilet paper.  In addition, there are no shower facilities. 

Are there showers?

Sure are - if it is raining!