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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Apr 14 - Apr 21, 2017 -- $1350 ★★★★★, Only 2 Spots Left


April 16th is Easter

This is the 1st of two trips to the Grand Canyon this year. The other trip is a Rim to Rim to Rim trip April 21-28, 2017

Trip Description

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.

Our journey will begin on the Tanner Trail and follow the so-called Escalante Route.

The trip will be all backpacking. We'll begin on the Tanner Trail with a grueling, quad-busting, knee-jarring 4750' downhill hike over 9.0 long, dry miles. Although it seems like going downhill is easy, this will be a truly challenging day. From there, the distances and elevations become somewhat more moderate as we join the follow the Colorado River on the Escalante Route. We eventually join the Tonto Trail and head uphill towards Horseshoe Mesa. The final day will be long and grueling once again as we will ascend 2500' with a full pack over 3.0 fairly steep miles. This is truly a challenge but one that's unbelievably beautiful and 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

Danielle Piscatelli
Steve Silberberg


$1350 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, 1 front country campground nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and 2 awesome guides.

Difficulty (Please Read)

The Tanner trail is extremely steep in places with lots and lots of scree and is at times non-existent. Anyone who is afraid of heights should not be on this trip. The trail is considered "unmaintained" so you should have some level of technical skills or at least be prepared to challenge yourself.

Anywhere in 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 4700' 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.

Training tips

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Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Friday, April 14, 2017

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 2PM at the latest.

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

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 Grand Canyon National Park, Mather Campground

Set up camp and stay at Mather Campground, Aspen Loop site 029

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Second set of before body composition measurements taken

Drive Shuttle Vehicle(s) to Lipan Point

Start hike at Lipan Point on the South Rim, elevation 7400'

Hike 9.0 continuously steep, strenuous, treacherous quad busting downhill miles on the Tanner Trail to the Colorado River, elevation 2650'

Filter possibly very silty water from The Colorado River

Camp in Zone BB9 at the Colorado River and Tanner Trail, elevation 2650'

Miles today: 9.0 miles. Total to date: 9.0 miles

Possible Bailout: South Rim

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hike 7.5 rugged up and down miles along the Escalante Route to Escalante Creek, elevation 2600'

Camp in Zone BC9 near the Colorado River by Escalante Creek, elevation 2600'

Filter possibly very silty water from The Colorado River

Miles today: 7.5 miles. Total to date: 16.5 miles

Bailout: Over a day away

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hike 4.5 miles along the Escalante Trail to the New Hance Trail, elevation 2600'.

At-Large camp in the vicinity of Hance Rapids along the Colorado, zone BD9, elevation 2600'.

Filter possibly very silty water from The Colorado River

Miles Today: 4.5. Total to Date: 21.0

Possible Bailout: South Rim, but it's pretty far. Or possibly a passing raft on the Colorado River

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hike 5.7 miles along the Tonto Trail to Hance Creek, elevation 3700'

At-Large camp in the vicinity of Hance Creek, zone BE9, elevation 3700'.

Water at Hance Creek is generally reliable

This is the last water we will find on the trip. Reliable water can be found at Page Spring / Miner's Spring (same thing) nearly a mile away from where we camp the next night, so an extra 1.5-2 mile round trip on a subsequent day may be an option in order to avoid carrying extra water.

Miles Today: 5.7. Total to Date: 26.7

Possible Bailout: South Rim, but it's pretty far. Or possibly a passing raft on the Colorado River

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

Hike a relatively level 4.7 miles along Horseshoe Loop on the Tonto Trail to a trail intersection with the Grandview Trail Extension, elevation 3800'

Leave the Tonto Trail and hike 1.5 gradual uphill miles to Cave of the Domes, elevation 4750'

Explore Cave of the Domes, the only cave in the park that doesn't require a special permit / license to enter.

Hike 0.5 gradual uphill miles to Horseshoe Mesa, elevation 4900'

Camp at Horseshoe Mesa, zone BF5, elevation 4900'.

Reliable water can be found at Page Spring / Miner's Spring (same thing) nearly a mile away from where we camp, if necessary

Miles today: 6.7 miles. Total to date: 33.4 miles

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hike 3.0 grueling uphill miles to the Grandview Trailhead, elevation 7400'

End of Hike

One guide may hike ahead to get a cab/shuttle back to our vehicle at Lipan Point

Miles today: 3.0 miles. Total to date: 36.4 miles

Possible Bailout: Grandview Trailhead

"After" Body Composition measurements taken on South Rim

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

Shuttle back to Phoenix. Check into local 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.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take free airport shuttle

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