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Grand Canyon National Park Rim To Rim To Rim, AZ


Important Notes

THE TRIP DATES ARE NOT FINAL! This is our tentative itinerary. The Grand Canyon backcountry office will issue May backcountry permits on or about February 15th, 2021. Because of Covid there is a backlog of requests from 2020 (Fatpacking among them) whose permits were canceled by the park so it's unknown whether or now we'll ultimately obtain a permit and if so, what the dates will be.

Because of the immense popularity and demand for this particular itinerary, especially in light of the disruption caused by Covid-19, we are unsure whether or not the National Park will grant us a backcountry permit for the exact days we'd like, the number of people we'd like or any itinerary at all. If we are not awarded this itinerary during their lottery, we will attempt to move the trip to anywhere from a day later up to about 2 weeks later, so your flexibility is important.

About The Trip

What can we possibly tell you about Grand Canyon National Park, that would persuade you to visit? Would it help to know that it's considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World? Or that the geologic features reveal 40% of the Earth's history? Or that the Grand Canyon is home to some of the cleanest air in the United States? Or that it's well over a mile deep, giving rise to superlative, unobstructed views?

The Grand Canyon is a life list destination that words are insufficient to fully describe. You owe it to yourself to visit this truly amazing wonder.

This trip is a Rim to Rim to Rim trip ... the quintessential, classic (and most popular) route. It's the trip that just about everyone wants to do once in their lives. It begins at the South Rim, heads down to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch, climbs up to the North Rim, and then heads back to the South Rim on a slightly different route.

This trip is all backpacking and because we ascend from the Colorado River twice, it will be difficult and grueling at times. We will start at the South Kaibab Trail, descend to Bright Angel Campground (next to the famed Phantom Ranch, ascend to Cottonwood Campground, top out on the North Rim and then reverse the route, ending via the Bright Angel Trail.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking, especially in the Grand Canyon. May is a great time to visit weather-wise as it's generally not too cold on the rims and not too hot in the canyon. Be prepared for freezing weather or even snow on the North and South rims, but also be prepared for 100 degrees at the bottom of the canyon. Hopefully neither will happen but we must be prepared for each.

Possible Trip Leaders

Danielle Piscatelli
Chris Frey


$1400 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Phoenix, AZ (PHX) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 2 front country campground nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees, satellite phone and 2 awesome guides.

Difficulty (Please Read)

The Grand Canyon can be extremely difficult and forbidding. The temperatures can be freezing on the rim or over 100 degrees in the Canyon. There is little to no shade in some areas, so you will be exposed to the beating sun for extended periods with only the water you carry. Sun block alone is not sufficient for this. You must bring a wide brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt and long pants.

Furthermore, water may not be available for a few days at a time (although on the corridor route we expect it to be, even if the faucets are turned off). The North Rim is a possible exception. You should be able to carry 6 liters of water (and possibly even 8 liters) at times. This extra weight makes your full pack even heavier. Elevation gains and losses are dramatic. We may gain or lose over 4700' vertical in one day. In order to do this, you will need to be sufficiently hydrated. Plus, your feet must remain in good shape. Blisters will cripple you and make progress extremely slow and painful so be mindful of hot spots as they develop. Make sure to closely clip your toenails before undertaking this trip.

Training tips

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Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)

We will pick you up and bring you to former Guide Deb's house where we'll have our equipment shakedown. Your flight must arrive by 1PM in order to get to the park in a timely manner. If you cannot arrive early, please let us know so we can make arrangments such as a pre-trip virtual equipment shakedown.

Equipment shakedown

We take your temperature to check for possible Covid

Trip to REI Chandler, 870 N 54th St, Chandler, AZ 85226, (480) 940-4006, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Make your own trail mix from our trail mix bar

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Your spare bag(s) will be left at Guide Deb's house for safekeeping

Drive 2.5 hours to Flagstaff

Have opening dinner in Flagstaff (cost of dinner not included in trip cost)

Drive 1.5+ hours to Tusayan, AZ

Park shuttle vehicle(s) and board a National Park Purple Route Shuttle Bus

Take Shuttle bus to Mather Campground, possibly bypassing long lines at the entrance station

Set up camp and stay at Mather Campground, sites TBD

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Second set of before body composition measurements taken.

Second body temperature taken

Board a National Park shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead

Start hiking at South Kaibab Trailhead, elevation 7260'

Hike 1.5 miles to Cedar Ridge, elevation 6120'

Hike 1.5 miles to Skeleton Point, elevation 5220'

Hike 1.4 miles to the Tip Off, elevation 4000'

Hike 2.6 miles to Bright Angel Campground, elevation 2480'

Camp at Bright Angel Campground, elevation 2480'

Miles today: 7.0 miles. Total to date: 7.0 miles

Possible Bailout: South Rim

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Hike 0.4 miles to Phantom Ranch, elevation 2546'

Hike 5.2 miles to Ribbon Falls, elevation 3720'

Have lunch near Ribbon Falls. Watch your pack. The area has squirrels that will chew through it looking for trail mix, trail bars or any other food. After the flooding in 2017, access to Ribbon Falls may be difficult so lunch might be on the trail.

Hike 1.6 miles to the Cottonwood Campground, elevation 4080'

Camp at Cottonwood Campground, elevation 4080'

Miles today: 7.2 miles. Total to date: 14.2 miles

Possible Bailout: North Rim

Friday, September 24, 2021

Hike 1.4 miles to the Pumphouse Ranger Station, elevation 4600', reliable water found here

Hike 0.7 miles to Roaring Springs, elevation 5220'

Hike 3.0 miles to the Supai Tunnel, elevation 6800', water faucet is probably turned off.

Hike 1.7 miles to the North Kaibab Trailhead, elevation 8241'

Hike 1.0 miles to the North Rim Campground, elevation 8241'

Camp at North Rim Winter Campground, elevation 8241' (Note: Temperatures at this elevation might reach freezing)

The bath houses with sinks and flush toilets at the North Rim Campground are open until October 15th. After that, The water faucets may be off and the bathrooms may be locked. The most reliable water is found at the trailhead a mile back.

Miles today: 7.8 miles. Total to date: 22.0 miles

Possible Bailout: North Rim

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Hike 1.0 miles to the North Kaibab Trailhead, elevation 8241'

Hike 1.7 miles to the Supai Tunnel, elevation 6800'

Hike 3.0 miles to Roaring Springs, elevation 5220'

Hike 0.7 miles to the Pumphouse Ranger Station, elevation 4600'

Hike 1.4 miles to the Cottonwood Campground, elevation 4080'

Camp at Cottonwood Campground, elevation 4080'

Miles today: 7.8 miles. Total to date: 29.8 miles

Possible Bailout: North Rim

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Hike 1.6 miles to Ribbon Falls, elevation 3720'

Hike 5.2 miles to Phantom Ranch, elevation 2546'

Hike 0.4 miles to Bright Angel Campground, elevation 2480'

Hike 1.5 miles to River Resthouse, elevation 2480'

Hike 3.2 uphill miles to Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'

Camp at Indian Garden Campground, elevation 3800'

Miles today: 11.9 miles. Total to date: 41.7 miles

Possible Bailout: North Rim

Monday, September 27, 2021

Hike 4.9 steep uphill miles to the Bright Angel Trailhead, elevation 6860'

Miles today: 4.9 miles. Total to date: 46.6 miles

End of Hike

"After" Body Composition Taken on South Rim

Shuttle to Flagstaff for Dinner and Awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price). Suggestion: Lumberyard Brewing Company

Shuttle back to Phoenix. Pick up luggage at Guide Deb's House

Check into hotel (TBD)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take free airport shuttle

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