Kanab Creek
​Grand Canyon Backpacking
An Epic Experience
Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: KCGC

Duration: 7 Days

Distance: 45 mi/61 km

Fitness: 5
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 5

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1550/person

Trip Description:

Looking for something epically different?  Our Kanab Creek Backpacking tour offers just that!  Join our geologist/guides for this fantastic off-the-trail hiking adventure in Grand Canyon in world-class tributary canyons.  Secluded, remote, not-often travelled, the Kanab Creek Wilderness is host to one of the main tributaries of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, and has carved some out-of-this-world canyons of its own.  This adventure is for those that have seen and done it all, and are looking for a new challenge.  We will hike into three seperate wildly scenic canyons, see cascading waterfalls, and enjoy a wonderful traverse across the Esplanade, reaching the Colorado River on day 4.  This trip is truly one for the books!  

  1. Kanab Creek Wilderness, Grand Canyon
  2. Kanab Creek Wilderness, Grand Canyon
  3. Whispering Falls, Grand Canyon
  4. Kwagunts Canyon Narrows, Grand Canyon
  5. Jumpup Canyon Narrows, Grand Canyon
  6. Sowats Creek, Grand Canyon
  7. Kanab Creek Wilderness, Grand Canyon
  8. Slots in Kanab, Grand Canyon
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

Your Kanab Creek Backpacking tour adventure starts from Sowats Point, where we descend with a flash to the Esplanade, a fantastic broad terrace of sandstone and shale. This 2-mile traverse to Sowats Canyon is quite sublime, as we prepare to dive into our first canyon. The canyon is shallow and dry until we get to Mountain Sheep Spring, a gushing spring of fantastic drinking water. We’ll make camp near the spring in a wild alcove beneath sunset-red overhangs. Also nearby are a series of well-preserved pictographs left by Ancestral Puebloans.
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 3.5 miles, 2200 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

A tasty breakfast will get us started for a solid day of rugged canyon hiking, beginning with a hike down Sowats Canyon. Following Sowats Creek, we’ll arrive at the mouth of Jump-up Canyon with views of the Grand Canyon's rim.  We will soon reach the Redwall Limestone narrows of Jumpup, as the canyon walls quickly begin to soar above us.  Hiking through Jumpup is likely unlike any experience you've had, as you'll feel in a different universe completely consumed by the geology that surrounds you.  We will reach our camp at Showerbath Spring after intersecting Kanab Creek and a good, long day.
Distance & Elevation: 9.5 miles, 1300 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Our day begins with another excellent breakfast that will fuel you for the day, as we proceed downstream. The canyon walls grow with every step, and shows off with deep alcoves, natural springs, and hues of every color. Tonight's camp is near Whispering Falls, a gorgeous ribbon of water that cascades down beautiful polished limestone, ending the day on a very high note.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 400 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Take a rest day, you earned it!  Or, you can choose to join your geologist/guide on a wonderful hike to the canyon-carver itself, the mighty Colorado River.  Kanab Creek creates a thundering rapid as it meets the Colorado, and opens up to stellar views of teh Grandest.
Distance & Elevation: 8 miles, 200 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Turnaround day is here, and we will retrace our steps to Showerbath Spring to yet again imbibe in this most excellent of campsites.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 400 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: 

We will initially head back into Jumpup, but we'll make a hard turn and cruise into Kwagunt Hollow, an incredibly dramatic and scenic canyon that presents epic proportions and fantastic scenery.  Tonight's camp is in Kwagunt, as we dine and drink from fresh seeps.
Distance & Elevation: 8.5 miles, 1100 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:

Our final day begins with sunrise yoga, followed by a hike out Kwagunt and return to Sowats.  Crushing switchbacks one by one, we will find ourselves at Sowats Point and the end of our epic journey.  After we come up topside, we will celebrate our Grand Adventure in the geologist's tradition: with libations at a local watering hole before we head back to Flagstaff, with a time-permitting stop at the famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 2400 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch

Drive Time: 3.5 hours

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff to Grand Canyon and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires liightweight, non-perishable foods.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Flagstaff, AZ
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Grand Canyon will accommodate 5 people plus one guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $250 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.   Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Flagstaff, AZ and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (2 hour drive) or Flagstaff. Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Flagstaff and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there.

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Flagstaff by 6pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
April: 17-23
October: 12-18

2018 Dates
April: 17-23
​October: 12-18
More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.