Set out on foot to discover the extraordinary beauty of Grand Canyon National Park. From the lush forests of the North Rim, hike along sinuous sandstone ribbons sculpted over millions of years. Explore the more arid terrain of the South Rim and witness the canyon’s shifting palette of red, orange, and gold. Then head to Havasu Canyon, a stunning oasis located just outside a remote section of the park, for a camping expedition. Hike through a red-rock labyrinth and feel the cool spray of waterfalls as they gush over travertine terraces. Swim in turquoise pools, delve into slot canyons, and sleep in tents beside a shaded creek. Explore the geological formations that make the Grand Canyon one of the most magnificent natural wonders of the world.
Arrive in Las Vegas and transfer to our hotel. Gather for a trip orientation and welcome dinner this evening.
Hyatt Place Las Vegas (D)
Cross the desert and canyons of the Arizona Strip en route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim’s higher altitude supports dense forests of pine, fir, and aspen, a striking contrast to the arid landscape of the South Rim. At Point Imperial, enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the canyon’s spectacular swirling chasm, carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. Embark on a short warm-up hike to the Grand Canyon Lodge, perched above the canyon and our home for the next two nights. (2 miles hiking, 1 hour)
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B,L,D)
After breakfast, descend below the canyon rim on the North
Kaibab Trail. Pass through several geological layers and ecological zones, and hike beneath a dramatic Redwall Limestone cliff to the Supai Tunnel. Later travel along Cape Royal Road to the southernmost point of the North Rim, taking in spectacular views of the Wallahalla Plateau and going on short hikes in the area. (5-10 miles hiking, 2-5 hours)
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B,L,D)
Drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, stopping at several scenic points along the way. At the Vermillion Cliffs, look for reintroduced California condors among the sandstone waves. At Antelope Canyon, explore one of the most photographed slot canyons with a Navajo guide. Later, take a short hike to Horseshoe Bend overlook, where the Colorado River makes a spectacular loop below red cliffs. Stop at the Cameron Trading Post for dinner, then continue to our lodge at the South Rim. (2-4 miles hiking, 3 hours)
Thunderbird Lodge (B,L)
We have two hiking options today. Descend the steep switchbacks of the South Kaibab Trail, passing ancient strata layers and panoramic viewpoints on our way to Cedar Ridge. Or hike the West Rim Trail skirting the South Rim. Enjoy a picnic lunch while learning about the ecosystems and geology of the park. Keep an eye out for mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, condors, and other canyon wildlife. Tonight, capture the canyon at sunset on a photographic walk to some of the best viewpoints. (3-7 miles hiking, 2-4 hours)
Thunderbird Lodge (L,D)
A morning drive brings us to Hualapai Hilltop (4,849′) where we embark on a 10-mile hike into Havasu Canyon. Red-rock walls rise overhead as we descend through a series of switchbacks. Near the canyon floor, the rocky terrain opens into a wide plain shaded by cottonwood and willow trees. Visit the village of Supai, home to both the Havasupai tribe and the only U.S. post office that still uses pack mules. This afternoon, arrive at our base camp situated on the banks of Havasu Creek. Take a refreshing dip in the pools of Havasu Falls or relax in hammocks overlooking this desert oasis. (10 miles hiking, 4-5 hours)
Awaken to the sun rising over the canyon. Embark on a hike to the spectacular Mooney Falls, which drop about 200 feet into travertine-lined pools. This area is home to desert bighorn sheep, Gila monsters, and rare bird species including peregrine falcons. Relax on the shore or, if you wish, continue hiking to Beaver Falls. (3-9 miles hiking, 2-5 hours)
Set out on a morning hike through Carbonate Canyon, looking for fossils among its narrow slots. The afternoon is free to relax at our camp or hike to two newer falls formed by a flood in 2008. At the base of the falls, swim in blue-green pools surrounded by a dramatic red-rock amphitheater. Tonight, enjoy a festive farewell dinner. (2-6 miles hiking, 2-3 hours)
This morning, begin our ascent back to the canyon rim, passing whimsical rock formations and sculpted red cliffs. An optional helicopter or horseback ride can also be arranged for those who would rather not make the steep climb. Return to Las Vegas this afternoon and depart on your flight home. (10 miles hiking, 4-5 hours)
National Geographic Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room/tent add $650 in 2015 and $700 in 2016. Airfare to/from Las Vegas is not included in the adventure cost.
GROUP SIZE: 8–16
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.
We will be hiking 1 to 5 hours per day (2 to 10 miles) on moderate to steep grades and at elevations ranging from 3,000 feet to a maximum of 8,200 feet. Most days have options for more, or less, hiking. A horse and mule team will transport our gear during our trek in Havasu Canyon. We will spend 3 nights camping in spacious tents in a base camp situated on the banks of Havasu creek and 5 nights in National Park lodges and hotels that combine comfort and ideal locations.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
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