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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

SOLD OUT! (Put me on the waiting list)

Apr 5 - Apr 12, 2015 -- $1250 ★★★★★

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?

Face it, 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.

Our journey will have two parts. The first part will consist of a popular and scenic one-day shakedown day-hike (no full pack) to Dripping Springs on the Hermit Trail. This day-hike will descend 1400' and ascend 400' in 3.5 miles to a reliable water source before we turn back and descend those 400' and ascend the challenging 1400'.

The 2nd part of the trip will be all backpacking. We'll begin on the Grandview Trailhead with a grueling, quad-busting, knee-jarring 3700' downhill hike over 4.5 long, steep miles. This will be a truly challenging day. From there, the distances and elevations become somewhat more moderate as we join the Tonto Trail on our way into the Canyon. We then head uphill once again towards South Kaibab. The final day will be long and grueling once again as we will ascend almost 3700' with a full pack over 6.5 miles. This is truly a challenge but one that's unbelievably rewarding.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking, especially in the Grand Canyon. April is really one of the best times to visit, weather-wise as it's generally not too cold on the rim and not too hot in the canyon. Be prepared for freezing weather or even snow on the rim, but also be prepared for 100 degrees in the canyon. Chances are, neither will happen but we must be prepared for each.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Deb Lusk
Danielle Piscatelli (assistant guide / intern)


$1250 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 and any restaurant meals.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 2 front country campground nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and 3 awesome guides.

Important Note

April 5th is both Easter and Passover

This is the 1st of two trips to the Grand Canyon this April. The other trip is April 18-25, 2015

Difficulty (Please Read)

The Grand Canyon can be extremely difficult and forbidding. The temperatures can be freezing or over 100 degrees. There is little to no shade in some areas, so you will be exposed to the beating sun for extended periods. Sun block 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. Expect to carry 2 gallons of water (16 pounds) and maybe more. This extra weight makes your full pack even heavier. Elevation gains and losses are dramatic. Expect to gain or lose over 3700' vertical on some days. 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.

Our first hiking day will be a day-hike on the Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs. We will be evaluating each participant to make sure they are all able to complete the trip successfully since extraction from the canyon will be time consuming and expensive. You should have no expectation of rapid evacuation should you request it.

Training tips

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Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)

We will pick you up and bring you to Guide Deb's house where we'll have our equipment shakedown. Please arrive by 3PM.

Equipment shakedown

Trip to REI Tempe, 1405 W Southern Ave, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Distribution of trail mix

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out to dinner in town, not included in trip cost

Shuttle van will take your spare bag(s) for safekeeping

Drive 4 hours to Grand Canyon National Park, Mather Campground

Set up camp and stay at Mather Campground, site 055

Monday, April 6, 2015

Second set of before body composition measurements taken

Take Park Shuttle bus to the Hermit Trail, elevation 6640'

Day-Hike 1.5 miles (carrying at least 4 liters of water) to Waldron Trail Junction, elevation 5400'

Day-Hike 0.3 miles to the Hermit Trail Junction, elevation 5200'

Day-Hike 1.0 miles to the Boucher Trail Junction, elevation 5270'

Day-Hike 0.7 miles to Dripping Springs, elevation 5680'

Treat water here if necessary

Day-Hike 3.5 miles back to the Hermit Trailhead, elevation 6640'

Take Park Shuttle Bus back to Mather Campground

Camp at Mather Campground, site 055

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

Possible Bailout: South Rim

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Take Park Shuttle Bus to the Grandview Trailhead, elevation 7400'

Hike 4.5 steep, knee-crushing miles to Cottonwood Creek, elevation 3690'

At Large camp in the vicinity of Cottonwood Creek, zone BG9, elevation 3690'

Miles today: 4.5 miles. Total to date: 11.5 miles

Bailout: South Rim

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hike 5.5 miles to Grapevine Creek, elevation 3550'.

At-Large camp in the vicinity of Grapevine Creek, zone BH9, elevation 3550'. The water here is generally reliable.

Miles Today: 5.5. Total to Date: 17.0

Possible Bailout: South Rim, but it's pretty far

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hike 5.7 miles to Boulder Spring, elevation 3600'

Water may be found nearby or downstream about 20 minutes walk. Water is often reported as salty and unpalatable.

At-Large camp in the vicinity of Boulder Spring, zone BH9, elevation 3600'.

Miles Today: 5.7. Total to Date: 22.7

Possible Bailout: No good options

Friday, April 10, 2015

No guarantee of water today. We must carry 2 gallons each.

Hike 3.0 miles to Lone Tree, elevation 3680'

This is the last water we will find on the trip. Water may be found at or near where the Tonto Trail crosses Lone Tree Canyon. Otherwise, there may be water a half-hour down the canyon. This would add 2 miles to today's distance.

Hike 3.5 miles to Cremation Canyon, elevation 3650'

At-Large camp in the vicinity of Cremation Canyon, zone BJ9, elevation 3650'. We must camp East of the canyon.

Miles today: 6.5 miles. Total to date: 29.2 miles

Possible Bailout: No good options

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hike 6.5 grueling uphill miles to the South Kaibab Trailhead, elevation 7200'

End of Hike

Miles today: 6.5 miles. Total to date: 35.7 miles

Possible Bailout: South Kaibab Trailhead

Body Composition Taken on South Rim

"After" body composition measurements taken

Shuttle to Flagstaff for Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Shuttle back to Phoenix. Check into Springhill Suites Tempe, 1601 West Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85281. (480) 968-8222

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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Free Hotel Breakfast

Leave Hotel

Take free airport shuttle

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