We’ll meet in Flagstaff and take a morning transfer to the South Rim on Day 1. Our warm up hike includes sections of the West Rim trail including the Abyss and Hopi Point for tantalizing views into the canyon. We will picnic lunch on the rim and have time to walk the Trail of Time, following 2,000 million years of Grand Canyon history. Our home for the first two nights is Maswik Lodge in the middle of Grand Canyon village.
Day 2 will be our first venture into the canyon, as we hike down to Indian Garden for a shaded rest and picnic, then return to the south rim. You’ll get a good taste of what hiking in the canyon is like and some beautiful views of the Bright Angel Canyon. Ice cream on the south rim will be your reward for this challenging day.
We’ll want a very early start on Day 3 for our descent into the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail. Escaping the crowds and enjoying the cool morning air for the spectacular descent is our goal. We’ll descend from the ponderosa forests at the rim through the layers of Kaibab limestone, Coconino sandstone and hermit shale to the Colorado at the base of the Canyon. The variety within the Canyon is overwhelming. The land forms, the colors, the spectacular vistas, that first sighting of the Colorado – every switchback along the trail is its own visual and sensual adventure. Our lodging at Phantom Ranch will be in multi-bed cabins. Unfortunately we cannot offer a choice of beds as our bed assignment is provided from a lottery and we take what they can give us. Toilets are in each lodging unit, and the well stocked showers are located in a separate, single sex building.
Day 4 is one of choice – a layover day, a chance to enjoy Phantom Ranch, hike, relax and read – your pleasure. Our guides will be happy to lead you on one or both of two, half-day hikes around the canyon bottom.
With an early morning start on Day 5, we’ll venture into the North Canyon and eventually climb up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim. As this tour is in May, the north rim will be mostly empty with little competition to get in the way of our spectacular views as we ascend to the rim. We revel in one more night in the park at the Grand Canyon Lodge of the north rim. A celebration dinner and a good rest will be welcome.
On Day 6, we’ll need to shuttle around the canyon and back south to Flagstaff. But we have a treat planned where we once again cross the Colorado River. Our last hike down into Cathedral slot canyon will bring us back to water’s edge – here only about 400 ft down from the plateau. The wash has a great variety of features including steps, benches, small pools and dryfalls. We will have lunch in Marble Canyon, next to the Navajo Bridge where nesting condors are frequently seen. We return in the afternoon to Flagstaff. Feel free to book flights out of Flagstaff that day if you can’t wait to get back to the office – but we’re guessing you won’t want this once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Grand Canyon to end.