Trip Number: 12042A
Staff: Vince Jones
- Visit the remote and wildly beautiful "Jewels" of the Grand Canyon
- Experience incomparable sunrises and sunsets
- Enjoy great food, wonderful companions, grand scenery, and plutons!
- Shuttle to South Bass Trailhead
- Camping the night before and the night after the trip
- All meals, beginning with lunch on day one and ending with lunch on day eight
Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled. If you
have questions, please
The Grand Canyon is one of our national treasures, awesome in its grandeur,
magnificent in its beauty. On our eight-day backpack, we will experience this
spectacular natural wonder intimately, traversing country rarely seen by visitors.
The area we will hike is rich in human, geologic, and natural history, and the
vistas are breathtaking. If you've seen the Grand Canyon from the rim or from
the maintained corridor trails and still want to see more, this may be the trip
for you. Up close, we'll see the multiple geological layers exposed over the
ages as the Colorado River cut its way through this rugged landscape.
This trip will not be a "death march." We'll have lots of time to
admire and photograph the spectacular scenery. Our itinerary will be flexible,
determined by water availability along our route as well as the abilities of
participants. You should be prepared to carry between two and six quarts of
water each day, along with 10-15 additional pounds of commissary gear.
Temperatures will likely be warm -- in the 60s to low 90s during the peak heat
of the day at the bottom of the canyon. Low temperatures in the canyon should
be in the 50s or 60s. Temperatures along the rim may range from the 20s at night
to the mid-60s during the day. Snow at night is a possibility on the rim. We
will generally hike during the morning hours, before temperatures reach their
peak. While April is generally a relatively dry month, participants should be
prepared for rain in the canyon and, possibly, snow at the rim.
Photo: Tony Fuentes
Our 44-mile adventure will begin and end at Grand Canyon Village, on the South
Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The afternoon before day one we'll meet to
eat, distribute comissary, fill water bottles, and take the two-hour shuttle
to our pre-trip campsite at the South Bass Trailhead.
Following an early morning breakfast, we'll head eight miles down the unmaintained
South Bass Trail to our camp, near Bass Rapids. Depending on the fitness of
our group, we may follow our descent with a layover day to explore, watch the
rafting parties, or just enjoy the stunning scenery. From Bass Rapids, we'll
head eight miles to Ruby Canyon, passing through beautiful Serpentine Canyon
along our way. Our next day will find us meandering along the Tonto Trail, for
a little under six miles to our camp at Turquoise Creek. Next, our longest day
will find us hiking nine rolling but beautiful miles to Slate Creek. Then, we'll
hike about five miles to our campsite beside the Colorado-Boucher Rapids, named
after one of the Grand Canyon's pioneer settlers.
Our last days here will take us to the historic Hermit Camp, then on to a final
day hiking the Hermit Trail back to the South Rim. Once at the South Rim, we'll
take a Park Service shuttle back to our cars at the backcountry office parking
lot. All participants are invited to join together for a final meal (not included
in trip price) at a restaurant in one of the South Rim's historic lodges to
share memories, trip highlights, and laughter.
Photo: Tony Fuentes
The outing will begin and end on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The nearest airports are Flagstaff, Arizona (77 miles; 1.5 hours); Las Vegas,
Nevada (275 miles; six hours); Phoenix, Arizona (245 miles; 5.5 hours); and
Salt Lake City, Utah (528 miles; 12.5 hours). A campsite has been reserved for
our group prior to and after our trip. Lodging on the South Rim prior to or
after the trip can be obtained through Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Call (303)
338-6000 or see their website: www.xanterra.com
All participants must make their own travel arrangements. Individuals interested
in ride-sharing should contact the leader, who will gladly assist in coordinating
Accommodations and Food
Our first meal will be dinner before day one, and our final meal with be a
trail lunch on the last day. Trip menus will feature easily prepared, lightweight,
and hearty backpacking fare. We may not be able to accommodate special dietary
requirements. Please check with the trip leader. All foods and preparation equipment
will be supplied. Participants will take turns preparing meals, under the guidance
of and with the assistance of the leaders. Participants need to supply their
own personal eating utensils.
All water will come from creeks or streams and must be purified. All participants
will recieve non-iodine purification tablets. Please do not buy any filters
or equipment before talking with the leader.
The Park Service requires that all trash be packed out. This includes used
toilet paper. Ziploc-type bags containing some dry bleach placed within a tightly
fitted plastic container will serve the purpose odorlessly (and will be provided).
A small trowel for digging "cat holes" will be supplied.
Photo: Tony Fuentes
This trip is rated moderate/strenuous (4). The rigors of desert hiking combined
with the stresses of long ascents and descents makes it imperative that all
participants be aware that this trip may involve a higher level of difficulty
than they may be used to. If you have previously hiked in the Grand Canyon without
difficulty, you should have a good sense for the difficulty of this outing.
We will hike trails unmaintained for the past 80 years but still in generally
good shape. The first and last days will involve significant losses and gains
in elevation, while the rest of the trip will be along the rolling western Tonto
Trail. It is important to realize, however, that hiking even moderate trails
here may seem significantly harder than other trails you're used to hiking.
The steepness of the first and last days, rim altitudes, and the challenges
posed by desert hiking make proper conditioning prior to this trip essential.
Daily backpacking distances will range between six and nine miles.
If you are in good physical condition you should be more than able to enjoy
this trip. Beginners should contact the leader prior to committing to this outing.
If you are not in shape, you may have difficulty enjoying this trip. For a great
description of what it's like to hike in the Grand Canyon, please read the first
chapter of Sharon Spangler's excellent book (see References, below).
Please do not hesitate to contact the leader if you have questions regarding
the difficulty of the trip.
Equipment and Clothing
A comprehensive listing of recommended equipment will be mailed to each participant
after sign-up. These items include a backpack (internal or external), sleeping
bag, sleeping pad, light tent or tarp, water carrier (70 ounces), and two additional
two-quart water bottles, boots, clothing for temperatures between 60-90 degrees,
wide-brim hat, bandana, poncho, flashlight, eating utensils, suntain lotion,
and lip balm. It is very important that all personal items be kept to a maximum
of 25 pounds, including clothing, sleeping bag, backpack, and all other gear.
- National Geographic/Trails Illustrated topo map: "Grand Canyon National
Park: Map #207"
- Spangler, Sharon, On Foot in the Grand Canyon: Hiking the Trails of
the South Rim. This book contains a description of the South Bass and
Hermit trails on which we will be hiking. Perhaps more importantly, its excellent
first chapter gives a very accurate sense of how it feels to hike a route
for which one is not adequately prepared.
- Adkison, Ron, Hiking Grand Canyon National Park. Falcon Guide.
- Thybony, Scott, Official Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon.
- Price, L. Greer, An Introduction to Grand Canyon Geology.
- www.hitthetrail.com. Informative site detailing excellent information on
the natural history of the Grand Canyon as well as providing narratives of
several trips in the canyon.
- www.kaibab.org. Great source of information on backpacking in the Grand
Canyon as well as trip reports on the trails we will hike.
- www.nps.gov/grca/grandcanyon/index.htm. This is the official National Park
Photo: Tony Fuentes
This trip will afford each of us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning
and value of our National Park system. We will have informal readings each evening
on Grand Canyon topics. Among other things, we'll discuss John Muir's visit
to the Grand Canyon and John Wesley Powell's voyages of discovery down the Colorado,
as well as the effects of increased backcountry usage and search and rescue
issues caused by park misuse. We'll also have an opportunity to discuss changes
that have resulted from the building of Glen Canyon Dam.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from Grand Canyon National Park.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Vince Jones is a relatively recent convert to the splendors and adventure of the Southwest. He's led several trips in the Southwest, including trips from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Thunder River, Deer Creek, and Kanab. Although Vince lives in Florida, he is a desert rat at heart. While he enjoys the physical demands of a backpack trip, he finds the beauty and tranquility of the wilderness and the camaraderie with other trip members especially rewarding.
Wendy Davison is a Sierra Club leader who enjoys helping others discover and appreciate America's wild places, and this year those wild places include the Grand Canyon; the Bitterroots in Montana and Dark Canyon. In addition to sharing beautiful places, she loves to witness the blossoming of newly found self confidence in others while expanding their comfort zones gently, safely and with encouragement. She believes that a large component of trip success results from being prepared and encouraging participants to act as a team. Wendy is trained as a Wilderness First Responder -- but puts much more value on avoiding injuries than on treating them. When not leading Sierra Club Outings, Wendy can be found hiking and cycling in North Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and other hilly places.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips