The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Backpack

May and September-November

About the Trip

Operated by AWE’s local partner Dreamland Safari Tours

Welcome to the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim backpacking trip! This bucket list adventure is not for the faint of heart. Over the course of several days, you will trek across the canyon’s vast expanse, taking in breathtaking views and challenging yourself both physically and mentally.

As you embark on this journey, you will be part of a small group of adventurers who share a common goal: to experience the beauty and grandeur of one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders. With the guidance of experienced guides and the camaraderie of your fellow hikers, you will push the limits of your comfort zone, all while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

About the Grand Canyon Backpack

The Grand Canyon Backpack is not a mountaineering adventure, but it is an excellent foray into remote backcountry travel, endurance, and camping.

The Rim to Rim trek will take you on a ~23-mile journey through the heart of the canyon, starting at the North Rim and ending at the South Rim. Along the way, you will navigate steep inclines, rocky terrain, and potentially extreme weather conditions. But the reward for your efforts will be well worth it as you marvel at the dramatic rock formations, colorful cliffs, and stunning vistas that the Grand Canyon has to offer.

Participants must be in good physical condition. Previous hiking experience is required. Previous backpacking experience is helpful.

Trip duration: 5 days / 4 nights
Max group size: 9 guests & 2 guides

Please note that there is a 2 person minimum for this itinerary. The maximum group size is 9 guests + 2 guides. Overnight permits for Grand Canyon backpacking adventures become available five months prior to departure and are competitive in nature. We take care of all permitting requirements on your behalf and we will reconfirm the details of your departure as soon as we have permits in hand. Please do not make travel arrangements until after we have confirmed permit availability. In the event that we are unsuccessful in obtaining permits for your scheduled dates and itinerary, we will work with you to establish an alternative and/or provide a refund for any fees already paid. This adventure is produced and operated by Dreamland Safari Tours, and led by the excellent women guides of Dreamland Safari Tours.

2025 Price: $2095 including 8.45% sales tax and 3% public land use fees

All reservations require a $500 deposit at the time of signup; balance of expedition fees typically comes due in two installments 60 and 90 days prior to departure. Ask us about flexible payment plans to space out payments further.

Trip Details

All of our expeditions kick off with a welcome dinner on Day 1. Please plan to arrive at your destination by mid-afternoon of Day 1, with plenty of time to check into your hotel prior to meeting your teammates for the welcome dinner, which typically starts around 7pm local time.

This is your itinerary for AWE’s Grand Canyon Backpack:

  • Day 1 Arrive Kanab, meet team
  • Day 2 Gear check, trailhead transfer & begin backpacking (~7-14 miles)
  • Day 3 Trail time (8-10 miles)
  • Day 4 Finish backpack (8-12 miles + 4,000 ft elevation gain), transfer to Kanab; final dinner
  • Day 5 Depart

The last official business for all of our adventures is the final team dinner on the expedition’s penultimate day. While your expedition fee includes a hotel stay after the final team dinner, you may make departure plans for any time after 12:01am on the indicated departure day, including red-eye departures.

All itineraries are subject to change based on weather, team condition, and local logistics.

You will receive a detailed packing list in your expedition handbook after reserving your spot on this expedition.  AWExpedition provides the team, cooking and emergency gear for this adventure; you are responsible for your personal backpacking gear including the following items:

  • 50-65l backpack
  • 20 degree sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent, if desired
  • Trekking poles
  • Trekking shoes
  • Backpacking attire including
    • Warm layer (down jacket)
    • Wind/water-proof jacket
  • Cup, bowl & spoon

Select gear rentals for items such as sleeping bags, pads, tents and trekking poles are available directly through AWExpeditions and AWE's local partner Dreamland Safari Tours; a broad selection of rental gear is also available through national brands such as REI or Kit Lender


  • Accommodation in Kanab, double occupancy
  • Transport between Kanab hotel to the trailhead and back
  • Breakfasts and dinners in Kanab
  • All meals on the trail (incl. water, coffee/tea and hot chocolate)
  • Professional guide(s) with intimate knowledge of the route and conditions along the canyon
  • Team gear including cooking gear, team medical kit, radio equipment, GPS tracking & communication

Other costs 

  • Flights to/from the nearest airport & transfer to Kanab (rental cars / car-pooling advised)
  • Lunches in Kanab
  • Gratuities for guides
  • Personal gear including tents & sleeping bags
  • Personal medications
  • Personal snacks (bars/gels for on-trail & climbing sustenance)
  • Medical, travel, and rescue insurance

  • How fit do I have to be? This is an advanced desert backpacking adventure. You have to be able to comfortably hike 8-10 miles on uneven terrain (and not feel utterly exhausted at the end of it) in order to enjoy this hike. You should emphasize a part of your training on cardio and a part on strength. The steep climbing on our way up and out will require strong legs.
  • How difficult is the route? There is significant elevation change along our path across the Grand Canyon and the 23.5 miles from Rim to Rim. Many folks will say that the Grand Canyon is one of the most challenging hikes in North America, but with proper training it can be the perfect balance!
  • How much weight will I have to carry? It all depends on how carefully you skinny down your gear! Jokes aside - 35lbs is a realistic expectation. In addition to personal gear, you will be responsible for a ~5lbs allocation of team gear.
  • Is is possible to hire porters? No. Due to strict group size limitations, hiring a porter would be forbiddingly expensive in the realm of 1.5x your expedition fee. That's why we do not offer porter services on this route.
  • What happens if it rains? Dreamland Safari Guides will be checking the weather and forecasting for your trip before you arrive. We are lovers of the outdoors and will continue even in the rain if conditions allow! If there is a significant threat to the condition of the trail or feasibility of the trip we will communicate well in advance.
  • How many miles will we hike each day? Daily mileage depends on the terrain and available camp spots; you should expect 8-10 miles a day.
  • What is the closest airport to Kanab? The closest airport is St. George (SGU), a regional airport about 1.5 hours driving from Kanab.  While it is possible to arrange a taxi transfer from St. George to Kanab for ~$250 one way, the easiest way to reach Kanab is typically to fly to Las Vegas (3.5 hours by car from Kanab) and rent a car in Las Vegas. The Salt Lake City airport is ~5 hours driving from Kanab.

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Book Your Trip

Fall 2024

  • Permits obtained: September 22-26 (SOLD OUT)
  • Permits obtained: September 24-28 (SOLD OUT)

Spring 2025

  • May 12-16
  • May 18-22 (SOLD OUT)

Fall 2025

  • September 22-26
  • October 6-10
  • October 13-17
  • October 20-24

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