The Escalante Route
​Grand Canyon Backpacking
An Epic Experience

Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: GCES

Duration: 5 Days

Distance: 36 mi/57 km

Fitness: 5
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 5

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1250/person

Trip Description:

Named by Backpacker Magazine as one of the "Top 10 Backpacking Trips of a Lifetime", the Escalante Route Backpacking tour from Tanner to Grandview offers just about everything you could ask for on a Grand Canyon backpacking adventure, plus a bit more.  Ridiculous views, remote solitude, thundering rapids, fascinating geology that ranges from the wide open eastern Canyon to the Inner Gorge, a class 3 scramble over the vaunted Papago Wall, a jaunt through a slot canyon, and memories that will last a lifetime are all on the itinerary here.  This incredibly epic hiking adventure is for those looking to augment their Canyon experience, and is not recommended for beginning backpackers.

  1. The Master of Chill, Grand Canyon
  2. Three Amigos, Grand Canyon
  3. Looking Back, Grand Canyon
  4. A Moment, Grand Canyon
  5. Grandview Overlook, Grand Canyon
  6. Tanner Trail, Grand Canyon
  7. The Mighty Colorado, Grand Canyon
  8. A Walk in the Park, Grand Canyon
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Escalante Route starts at the Tanner Trailhead near Desert View in eastern Grand Canyon.  After final preparations, we will descend the exciting trail, and almost immediately come to one of the eastern Canyon's most important structures, the Butte Fault, that is responsible for the Canyon's sweeping appearance here.  We traverse through the Supai, make an radical descent through the Redwall Limestone, and into the rolling traverse through Tapeats and into the Grand Canyon Supergroup, which is very well exposed in this part of the canyon.  We will make camp at Tanner Beach near the swell of the Colorado River, as you kick back while your geologist/guide sets up and prepares some excellent grub.
Drive Time: 2 hours hours
Distance & Elevation: 7.9 miles, 5200 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Day 2 is a winding traverse along the famed Escalante Route, and we will have fun picking our route through this nearly incomprehensibly beautiful landscape.  After stopping for lunch on a mesa with 360 degree views of the Canyon, we will descend 75-Mile canyon, a gorgeous polished quartzite slot that will feel completely different than the grand scale of most of today's adventure.  Have your camera ready, you're gonna need it!
Distance & Elevation: 11.5 miles, winding 200 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Our third day will be our rest and play day, you earned it!  We will explore more of 75-mile canyon, along with other slots and scrambles that will surprise and delight.
Distance & Elevation: 3 miles, no elevation change
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today’s hike will test your adventurous side, as we go up and over the Papago Wall, a 50 foot quartzite cliff that requires a class 3 climb (no ropes, hand over foot).  As we descend a precipitous scree gully on the other side, we will observe as the canyon closes in around us, refelcting the changing geology as the rocks of the Inner Gorge start to make their appearance.  We will climb out of the gorge via the New Hance Trail, and make camp at Hance Creek, a fantastically scenic gurgling stream surrounded by oak, aspen, and shrubs.
Distance & Elevation: 10.5 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Our final day offers shorter mileage, but a rugged challenge, as we climb out of Hance Creek via the Tonto Trail onto Horeshoe Mesa.  As we make our way up the Redwall Cliffs, we will have an excellent scene along the way of one of the larger and more wealthy mining claims in all of Grand Canyon.  A short side jaunt to Page Springs offers more adventure and some cliff exposures, before we exit the drainage onto the Grandview Trail where we will stop for a well-earned lunch.  After lunch, we make our way to Grandview Point and our exit. 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.
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2 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 5pm 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
February: 25-29
March: 25-29
December: 1-5

2018 Dates
February: 25-29
March: 25-29
December: 1-5

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.