From: October 8 to October 15, 2017

Destination: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

  • Backpacking The Grand Canyon

    The Grand Canyon is truly one of the wonders of the world. And while standing at the rim is awe-inspiring, simply gazing at the Canyon is not sufficient to gain an understanding of how truly monumental it is. It really is a wilderness, and once you leave the crowds at the rim and hike away from the major trails into the backcountry, you will be amazed at the solitude, the sense of remoteness, and your own insignificance. It's a challenging trip and one that is worth every ounce of effort.
  • As is true on any wilderness adventure, the final itinerary may be affected by weather, intervening events, group desires etc. Our specific route is not guaranteed until we have our permit. The following route describes the route granted on our permit for October 2017.

    Sunday, October 8: We'll meet in the Phoenix Airport at 8AM for our four hour drive to the Canyon. Arriving in early afternoon, we'll spend the rest of the day reviewing important safety considerations, buying any last moment items, and preparing for our hike. And, of course, walking over for our first peek at the Canyon, our home for the next 6 days

    Monday, October 9: We hike into the canyon along the Grandview Trail, one of the classic South Rim trails. Although it is only three miles, it is steep and exposed in places and feels longer. But it is well worth it as Horseshoe Mesa is wide, flat, and has great views. Miners used to live here and the ruins of an old house remind us just how stark their lives must have been. Approximately 3 miles, descending 2,500 feet. Want more? Embrace canyon backpacking and further exploration by accompanying the guides to get water at Miner's Spring, approximately 2 miles roundtrip with 500' elevation loss/gain.

    Tuesday, October 10: We'll start the day off exploring Horseshoe Mesa with fresh legs, before descending to Cottonwood Creek (not to be confused with Cottonwood Campground). Although the trail from Horseshoe to Cottonwood is only 1.5 miles, the path down is rugged and we marvel at the engineering that went into the path. After lunch you have an option to explore down canyon (great fun, as you pick out routes that aren't always immediately obvious) or just kick back and relax for the afternoon. Water tonight will seem easy with is a "creek" (trickle) near camp. Approximately 1.5 miles descending 1,000 feet.

    Wednesday, October 11: The next three days are spent traversing across the Tonto Plateau, which is relatively flat and full of brittle bush. The views are magnificent and it is a perfect place to practice using a map and compass. Grapevine is one of the largest side canyons in the Grand Canyon and it seems as if it takes hours from the time we first see it to our campsite at the mouth. Our hike to camp is approximately 5.5 miles (about 5 hours) with a cumulative 800' loss/gain. While many may not be up for it, today is also our opportunity for an optional scramble down to the Colorado River. This scramble (literally) takes 3.5-4 hours with a cumulative 1,300' loss/gain. The reward? Dappling our feet in the Colorado River!

    Thursday, October 12 Today's hike to Lonetree Canyon takes 6-7 hours hiking, including taking the time for shade breaks wherever we can find them. Like all the canyons, Lonetree is unique and tonight you'll get to experience how surprisingly comfortable sleeping on rock slabs can be. Approximately 8.5 miles with a cumulative gain of 1,500 feet

    Friday, October 13 Today we take the morning to relax or to explore Lonetree Canyon. Initially it's very dense with trees and then opens out to reveal a broad canyon. After exploring for a couple of hours, we'll collect a lot of water as our next camp is dry. With our packs full of water (thankfully we've eaten a lot of the food we were carrying) we leave after lunch and hike 2.5 - 4 hours, depending on where we camp in Cremation Canyon.

    Saturday, October 14: This morning we get up very early and start hiking about 6 am. Once we reach the Kaibab Trail it's full of people and all uphill: with a distance of about 5.5 miles with a gain of 3,800 feet, it's a challenging (but gorgeous) hike out. We get out of the canyon sometime around noon and spend our last night experiencing culture shock on the South Rim. On the other hand, hot showers, cold drinks, and a soft bed help us to re-acclimate to civilization. Tonight we'll go out for a final farewell dinner, celebrating our achievements and bidding farewell to the canyon, perhaps watching one more sunset from the rim first.

    Sunday, October 15 Do we really have to leave? Unfortunately the answer is yes. We'll get an early start this morning, so we can be back at the Phoenix airport by 1 pm and you can plan to fly home anytime after 2:30.
  • Price: $1595  (see this page for discounts). Deposit $300. There is one single (2 nights hotel and single tent) available for $250. Please make sure you understand our cancellation policies.

    Trip Includes

    • Experienced guide(s)
    • Two nights lodging at Maswik Lodge and five nights camping
    • All breakfasts and dinners from dinner Sunday to breakfast the following Sunday 
    • Group camping and cooking equipment, including tents
    • Permits
    • Roundtrip transportation from Phoenix to the Canyon 
    Not included: Transportation to PHX, lunches and snacks, alcoholic beverages (not allowed while camping), guide gratuities
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Backpacking in a remote desert wilderness environment with towering colorful canyon walls
  • Sleeping out in a dry, bug free (usually) environment under stars that are unbelievably bright
  • Seeing bighorn sheep, mule deer, tufted ear squirrels, and ringtail cats
  • Exploring side canyons and learning about canyon ecology and geology
  • Experiencing the Canyon in a way that few people ever do

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