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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Backpacking: Winter Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim

The Ultimate Grand Canyon Trek

Backpacking: Winter Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim

$1695 per adult

Grand Canyon Snow on rim


Though the North Rim may be closed for the winter, it is still possible to experience the Grand Canyon’s most famous route! Our Winter Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim starts on the south side of the canyon, journeys to the north side, then reverses direction to come back out the south – it’s two crossings of the Grand Canyon in one trip!

There are many advantages to hiking in the winter. The canyon is always beautiful, but snow on the rims takes it to a whole new level of breathtaking! Colder temperatures mean far less people in the canyon, so this is the time for solitude. And this is the only trip that takes hikers on all three of the canyon’s famous corridor trails – South Kaibab, North Kaibab, and Bright Angel.

Along the way, we will visit iconic sights such as Ribbon Falls – a spectacular waterfall that provides a refreshing oasis in the desert, Phantom Ranch – the historic and rustic resort at the bottom of the canyon, and Plateau Point – a scenic overlook offering one of the most spectacular vistas you can find in the canyon! These are just a few of the many highlights on this incredible adventure!

Winter backpacking is best suited for those who have a high tolerance for cold temperatures. Overnight lows on this trip can dip into the mid 20’s. Daytime highs at higher elevations may stay below freezing. For a warmer experience, check out our Summer or Fall Rim-to-Rim options.

Be sure to click the tabs above for additional trip details and information.

   Trip Type: Backpacking

   Duration: 6 days

    Distance: 44 miles

    Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

  Cost: $1,695

   Difficulty: Details

   Solitude: Details





Questions? Send us an email or give us a call at 928-251-3000.


Grand Canyon North Rim to Rim Backpacking Header


Unbelievable vistas Towering canyon walls Beautiful creeks and streams
Wildflowers Starlit skies Historic trails
Desert oasis camping Colorado River crossing Waterfalls
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  • Departure/Return Location
    Flagstaff, AZ


  • Shuttle to the South Rim: 1.5 hours
  • Hiking distance: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation loss: 4,800’
  • Destination: Bright Angel Campground
  Our adventure begins with a hike down the South Kaibab Trail.  This trail is unique at the Grand Canyon in that it follows an exposed ridgeline.  As a result, it offers some of the most stunning views you can find, starting with the very first step. We will spend time enjoying the scenery and examining the geology at many points of interest, including Cedar Ridge, Skeleton Point, the Tipoff, and the Kaibab Suspension Bridge across the Colorado River.  We will ultimately settle into a relaxing evening at Bright Angel Campground.
  • Hiking distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,600’
  • Destination: Cottonwood Campground
Today we enjoy an easy uphill grade with only modest elevation gain. Shortly after camp we enter a section known as The Box. This portion of the trail hugs the creek closely as it winds its way through the towering basement rock of the Grand Canyon. Massive folds and faults in the rock give evidence of powerful forces that molded them them like putty in the not-so-distant past. The Box eventually opens into a beautiful valley where a short side hike invites us to explore Ribbon Falls, one of the canyons most spectacular waterfalls. Just another mile up the trail is Cottonwood Camp, our base for the next two nights.
  • Hiking distance: Up to 13.6 mile day hike, round-trip
  • Elevation change: Up to 4,160’ gain and loss
  With our sights on the North Rim and only day packs to carry, today we will explore as far as possible up the North Kaibab Trail. The views on this portion of our journey are truly mesmerizing. The steep and challenging trail winds its way up through multi-colored layers of sedimentary rocks created during the great flood. We are deep into the wilderness at this point, and we may not see any other hikers this entire day. After lunch, we will reverse course and return to camp at Cottonwood.   * Reaching the North Kaibab Trailhead is not guaranteed or likely to happen. Even in ideal weather, very few hikers will have the ability to climb all the way to the top and back in a single day. At 8,000 feet in elevation, the rim is often blanketed in deep snow and bitterly cold temperatures that prevent summiting.
  • Hiking distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation loss: 1,600’
  • Destination: Bright Angel Campground
  Day 4 is the reverse of Day 2. We will backtrack to Bright Angel Campground for one more night near the river.
Day 5
  • Hiking distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,500’
  • Destination: Havasupai Gardens Campground
Today’s hike takes us along the Colorado River through a section of the impressive inner gorge before turning up the Pipe Creek drainage. The climbing will be tough, but we will be rewarded with a luxurious campsite at Havasupai Gardens. If time allows, we will take a side-hike out to Plateau Point to enjoy a spectacular sunset experience.
Day 6
  • Hiking distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,000’
  • Destination: South Rim
  • Shuttle to Flagstaff: 1.5 hours
Our final day brings a challenging but rewarding climb back to the top, where we will celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on all that we have learned and experienced.  
*Itinerary is subject to change and may occasionally be altered based upon weather, campsite availability, access restrictions, guest ability or injury, or other factors outside of our control.



What we provide

  • A professional guide with wilderness medical training and a passion for the biblical message of the canyon
  • All necessary equipment: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles, crampons/microspikes in winter
  • All cooking and eating equipment: bowls, cups, utensils
  • Ten meals, starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day, all prepared by your guide (We can generally accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions.)
  • Snacks
  • Entrance fees and backcountry permits
  • A complimentary copy of Your Guide to the Grand Canyon, an excellent book on the geology of the Grand Canyon from a creation perspective
  • Emergency equipment: first-aid kit and satellite phone

What we do not provide

  • Transportation to and from Flagstaff
  • Lodging before or after the scheduled dates of your trip
  • Clothing, including raingear and footwear
  • Personal items, including toiletries and sunscreen
  • Water bottles or hydration bladder
  • Headlamp or flashlight

What you should bring

  • Clothing: we will provide a detailed list of recommended items when you register
  • Toiletries, sunscreen, and lip balm
  • Water bottles
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Personal items such as a Bible, book, writing or sketching materials
  • Camera
  • Cash if desired for purchases at Phantom Ranch or the South Rim


Meeting location

The evening before your trip we will meet for orientation at a convenient location in Flagstaff.  The following morning we will pick you up at a predetermined location for the shuttle trip to the North Rim.


The orientation is an important time of preparation for our journey.  We will check all equipment for proper fit, review important safety information, and discuss logistics.  We will also examine some important passages of Scripture to set the stage for what we will be seeing over the coming days.

Starting and ending time

At orientation, your guide will inform you of your start time for the next morning.  This may vary depending upon several factors, but we generally will get started on the first day between 5 am and 7 am. End time will also vary based upon hiking speed, weather conditions, and other factors.  We will typically be back to the rim on the final day by mid-afternoon.


It is impossible to eliminate all risk from any outdoor adventure. The Grand Canyon, in particular, is an extreme environment with many opportunities for illness and injury. Our guides are all certified Wilderness First Responders, which means they have gone through intensive training to prepare for a wide variety of emergency scenarios in a backcountry context. If you have specific questions about safety, medical conditions, or fitness requirements, please give us a call.

Group size

A typical trip will consist of up to 5 guests and 1 guide.  Larger groups of up to 9 guests can be accommodated, but may require more advanced planning.

Age restrictions

Children must be at least 12 years old to participate in most backpacking trips.  This may be negotiable for private trips or in special circumstances.  Please contact us with any questions regarding this restriction.


Temperatures vary greatly at the Grand Canyon, and popular weather apps can often be misleading.  When looking up a weather forecast, be careful to determine whether your source is providing information for the top of the canyon or the bottom; it is not always clear at first glance.  The temperature at the bottom of the canyon is typically 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than at the top. When you register, we will provide a list of recommended clothing, and your guide will address season-specific weather expectations with you ahead of time. For detailed weather information, please visit the park service’s weather page: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weather-condition.htm


Flagstaff is the closest large town to the Grand Canyon and offers many hotels if needed, as well as outfitter shops for last-minute gear purchases.  The drive from Flagstaff to the canyon is approximately 1.5 hours.  An airport is available in Flagstaff; however, many guests find it more economical to fly into Phoenix. From the Phoenix airport, you can rent a car and drive approximately 2 hours to Flagstaff.  Alternatively, Groome Transportation offers daily shuttle service from the Phoenix airport to Flagstaff and from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon.
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