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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. All the information you desire can be found amongst these pages.  Simply click on the black tabs below to access all the information you need, i.e. pricing. Need more? Give us a call at 877-399-2477 or send us an email

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 you drive to the trail head.

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

Need some help planning your trip? With our outfitting services for your Grand Canyon backpacking trip, your experience will be more enjoyable as we will do the footwork for you.  Click here for more information about JRI's outfitting services.

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

For your drive to the South Bass Trailhead, you will need an off-road vehicle to travel 25 miles of rugged dirt roads. The drive is 6 hours from Phoenix and about 3.5 hours from Flagstaff. Once at the trailhead, 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, 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, start your 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 you will camp on the south-side beach of the Colorado River along Bass Rapids.

Day 3

Today you will start your hike out of the canyon along the South Bass Trail to thr 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, 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 eas

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.


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


self guided

4 Day


self guided

What's included?

Click here for complete information about our outfitting services.

  • 65-75 liter multi-day backpack
  • 2 person ultralight backpacking tent (1 tent per 2 people)
  • Sleeping bag appropriate for the season you are hiking (20 F to 45 F synthetic bag)
  • Therm-A-Rest Z-lite backpacking mat
  • 1 pair trekking poles
  • 1 backpacking stove and fuel (1 stove per 2 people)
  • Backpacking meals (dinner and breakfast)
  • Trip planning and logistics assistance

*Please note - Just Roughin' It is not a guide service for Grand Canyon National Park.  Just Roughin' It is providing trip planning and outfitting service and will not be physically present during your hike. Hikers are required to know their fitness abilities and limitations on any backpacking route they choose to apply for directly from Grand Canyon National Park.  Hikers will be required to sign a waiver when picking up the outfitter package.

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, 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

Not seeing a list of dates? No biggy! There could be a few reasons for that, so give us a call at 480-857-2477 and we will see what we can do for you!

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"My favorite Grand Canyon hike - this month - is the Tanner to Grandview hike. Awesome views like none other in the canyon, 3 nights camping on the Colorado River, few people and the aboslute backpacking trip of a lifetime. There is a reason Backpacker mag voted it as one of the best backpacking trips ever! "
10 years experience
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