Grand Canyon South Rim backpacking trips

A hiker on the West Rim Trail above Zion Canyon in Zion National Park.

Ask Me: Looking For a 3- or 4-Day Backpacking Trip in Zion or the Southwest

Michael,

Some friends and I are planning to do the Zion National Park thru-hike in October, partly inspired by one of your posts. We have a pact to do a significant multi-day backpacking trip every year in the fall, and this one would be great. The Zion National Park website says there may be prescribed burns during September-November, and the Wildcat Canyon Trail and the thru-hike will be closed when they burn. At this point, park rangers can’t promise our dates wouldn’t have burns. We’re flying out from Florida. Really want to do the Zion thru-hike. So thinking we’ll stick to that plan, but want to have a Plan B in the same area in case we learn that our trip will be blocked by a prescribed burn. Would love your thoughts on good 3- to 4-day backpacking trips—loop or point to point—in Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bryce, Capitol Reef, or Canyonlands.

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Tonto Trail, Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon National Park.

One Photo, One Story: Backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Loop

By Michael Lanza

On the last morning of a three-day, 34.5-mile backpacking trip on the Grand Canyon’s remote and very rugged Royal Arch Loop, I got this photo of my friend David Ports at a spot where the Tonto Trail traverses close to the brink of a precipice nearly a thousand feet above the muddy Colorado River roaring through Granite Gorge.

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Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the Grand Canyon, Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trailhead

By Michael Lanza

Are you ready to step up to the next level of adventure? The 29-mile, four-day hike from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trailhead is a classic, and not as popular as other Big Ditch backpacking trips. It features infinite views of deep chasms and soaring towers from arguably to two most scenic trails on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim—the Grandview and South Kaibab trails—and a traverse of the gentler Tonto Plateau, with mind-blowing panoramas stretching from the canyon rims to the Colorado River.

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Dropping Into the Grand Canyon: A four-day hike from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail

By Michael Lanza

Hiking down the snow- and ice-covered Grandview Trail into the world’s most famous canyon, I’m thinking about time. It’s not such an odd thing to think about when you’re walking on rock that’s 270 million years old, while looking out at geologic layers that make the stone under your feet seem adolescent. But I’m thinking about a much, much shorter period of time: 11 years, actually.

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