Grand Canyon Ultimate

Grand Canyon National Park & Havasu Falls

TripAdvisor Certificate of ExcellenceSpend an adventurous week exploring the highlights and hidden gems of the Grand Canyon on this family friendly hiking adventure. Enjoy 5 nights camping comfortably in AOA’s oversized tents, with all meals, snacks, and logistics planned out for you, and expert wilderness guides leading the way.

Why travel with AOA?: Find out more

Price: $2275 pp

Activity: Hiking, Camping

Family-friendly*

6 days, 5 nights

Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced

 

Grand Canyon Ultimate Details

Trip Details


Price- $2275 pp
  • Price shown is online booking price – use the code NIFTY50 to book at this price.
  • Book over the phone at $2325 per person.

Prices are per person, shared occupancy in all accommodations. Find out more about solo accommodations under the “Rentals & Add Ons” tab below.

 

Trip Rating (1 – 5)

Fitness – 3

Comfort – 2

Solitude – 2

Guest Participation – 4

Click here for an explanation of AOA’s trip ratings.

 

Where to Meet

START: 8:00am on Day 1. Meet your guide in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in Old Town Scottsdale (CLICK HERE for map).

END: Drop-off at Holiday Inn Express in Old Town Scottsdale on Day 6 (usually between 6:00pm and 8:00pm).

GUESTS: 4 min to 25 max (most trips have 10-12 guests)

 

Included

  • 2 nights camping at Grand Canyon National Park, 3 nights camping at the AOA Basecamp on the Havasupai Indian Reservation
  • Round-trip ground transportation from Phoenix/Scottsdale
  • Tents, double occupancy
  • Sleeping pads
  • Basecamp gear (kitchen equipment, hand washing station, dish washing station, solar shower, camp chairs, etc.)
  • All National park entry fees, permits and camping fees
  • Meals starting lunch Day 1 through lunch Day 6
  • Water and snacks
  • Packhorse support into Havasupai Reservation
  • Professional Wilderness First Responder certified guide

Not Included

  • Personal insurance and expenses
  • Air transportation to and from Phoenix/Scottsdale
  • Pre- or post-trip lodging
  • Breakfast Day 1, dinner Day 6
  • Sleeping bag (available to rent from AOA)
  • Day hiking pack (available to rent from AOA)
  • Gratuities to AOA Guides

*Please see the “Rentals & Add Ons” tab below for a list of available gear rentals, purchase options, and helicopter information*

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When’s the best time to go on this trip?

A: Early Spring through Summer and Fall are excellent times to visit the Grand Canyon and camp in Havasupai. The weather is warm enough for comfortable swimming in the waterfalls of Havasu Creek.

Q: Why should I travel with AOA?

A:  We are the Havasupai experts! Arizona Outback Adventures operates more tours here than anyone else. Each of our guides spends as many as 120 days every year in Havasupai. Only they have the intimate knowledge and understanding that comes from essentially living in one of the most beautiful and secluded places on earth. AOA promises to exceed your expectations in 5 key areas: Safety, Comfort, Food, Education, and Exceptional Guides. Our guests return to travel with us again and again. To hear what they have to say, read our Testimonials page.

Q: Can my child hike to Havasu Falls?

A: Our recommended minimum age for families traveling to Havasupai is 10 years old. That said, we frequently bring families with children younger than 10 into the canyon, it very much depends on the child. This trip is not easy, but for children with hiking experience it is manageable. When you inquire about the trip we will assess your child’s experience and ability level and help you to make the right decision for your family hiking trip.

Q: What are the trails like?

A: Hiking in Grand Canyon can be challenging, in places the trails are uneven, exposed, and composed of fine gravel or sand. Comfortable, supportive, and well-broken in hiking boots or shoes are an absolute necessity when hiking in the Grand Canyon. The trail from Haulapai Hilltop to our base camp along Havasu creek is 10 miles and for much of the hike there is little shade available. When hiking in the canyon itself we will have access to the creek and shady trees for cooling off.

Q:  How do I train for the trip?

A: Before embarking on any Grand Canyon hiking trip you should do significant training to ensure your trip will be an enjoyable and memorable experience. For this particular guided hiking adventure, you should feel confident in your ability to walk for 10 miles over loose uneven surfaces in a single day and for as many as 30 miles over the duration of the trip. Remember to carefully read the information packet you receive at the time of booking for more detailed information about training.

Q: Can I take a helicopter into Havasupai?

A: There is a helicopter that operates as an “air taxi” flying supplies and people into and out of Havasupai on select days of the week. AOA’s Havasupai tours are designed as hiking tours. While helicopter flights to/from the rim do exist, this is not part of our services and should be reserved for emergency situations only. By utilizing the Havasupai helicopter for a non emergent purpose, you are choosing to remove yourself from AOA’s services, including guides, permits, transportation, and gear. We do this in order to provide the best customer experience for all our guests.

Q: What is Havasupai?

A: Havasu Canyon is one of over 600 side canyons forming the 277-mile long Grand Canyon. While over 5 million people per year visit Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, far fewer venture to the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation deep in the heart of Grand Canyon. Home to the Havasupai Tribe for hundreds of years, the canyon is a land of towering waterfalls, beautiful cascades, and tropical blue-green pools. This lush oasis is considered the “gem” of Grand Canyon.

Read our Havasupai cultural history page for more information about the Havasupai Indian Tribe. Still have questions? Read our detailed Havasupai trip FAQ for more information on: weather, accommodations, training, etc.

Grand Canyon Information

Some say you haven’t lived until you have hiked in the Grand Canyon. A guided trek through the heart of the canyon will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, awe, appreciation, and love of the grandest place on earth.

The Grand Canyon is a complex and mysterious place that continues to evolve. As the canyon itself is constantly changing, so too are the hypotheses as to how it was formed. New questions and discoveries are nearly as plentiful as the visitors who come to gaze into the vast chasm. Geologists, archaeologists, and adventurers alike have been canvassing the canyon for decades trying to come to some sort of understanding of the place. The canyon is still very much a wild frontier.

How old is the Colorado River? What sort of creature created this fossil? How is it that rocks only 500 million years old are found at the same altitude as those that are nearly a billion years old? Why is a type of rock found in one area of the canyon and not another?

Geologists are able to date the ages of the rock layers with accuracy. We know that the oldest rock layer, the Vishnu Schist, lies deepest within the canyon and is the layer through which the Colorado River currently flows. This ancient Vishnu Schist is considered some of the oldest exposed rock in the world, dating its birth to approximately 1.7 billion years ago. Scientists generally agree upon the ages of the rock layers and the means by which they were formed, but it is the age of the canyon itself that is debated. Some say the river began cutting into the canyon a mere 5 million years ago, others claim it was as long ago as 70 million years. By as recently as 1.2 million years ago, Grand Canyon had come to look much the same as it does today. The beautiful and complex rock layers that have been exposed offer a glimpse into the incredible tectonic forces that have impacted this part of the world over a span of nearly two billion years.

For more information on Grand Canyon flora and fauna, geology, and weather visit the Grand Canyon Natural History page.

Recommended Reading List

  1. I am the Grand Canyon – Stephen Hirst
  2. Grand Canyon: Solving Earth’s Grandest Puzzle – James Lawrence Powell
  3. Grand Canyon: True Stories of Life Below the Rim – Sean O’Reilly, James O’Reilly and Larry Habegger, Editors
  4. Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon – Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers

References

Rentals & Add Ons

Solo Accommodations Upgrade

$25 pp

Gear Rental

  • Sleeping bag and linen set rental ($35 per bag)
  • 30 to 40 liter daypack ($25 per pack)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)

Optional Additions 

  • R/T packhorse service for your rental sleeping bag ($25 per bag)
  • Purchase: 3-liter Camelbak reservoir/bladder ($35 per)
  • Horseback ride into or out of the canyon, requires experience ($165 per person, one way)*

*Subject to availability

Optional upgrades, additions, and rentals subject to tax (7.95%).

 

Note regarding the Havasupai helicopter

Hiking into Havasu Canyon is a key highlight of all of AOA’s guided Havasupai tours. We do not offer helicopter transportation as an option. While helicopter flights to/from the rim do exist, this is not part of our services and should be reserved for emergency situations only. Read more on our policies page.


Trip Dates


Dates

2018 Trips

  • April 29 – May 4
  • May 19-24
  • June 3-8
  • June 17-22
  • July 14-19
  • July 28- August 2
  • August 4-9
  • August 26-31
  • September 12-17

To see all multi-day guided tours, visit our Adventure Tour Calendar.


Reservation & Cancellation Policy


Reservations, Payments and Cancellation

AOA’s family-friendly Havasupai hiking tours are very popular and advanced planning is often necessary. We recommend making your reservations at least 3 to 5 months in advance. We can accommodate last minute bookings provided space is available, so please call our office to check. Each trip requires a minimum number of participants for departure. Arizona Outback Adventures (AOA) reserves the right to cancel scheduled trips that do not meet minimum sign-up requirements (usually 4 guests).

AOA is a licensed outfitter on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. All of AOA’s trip departures are subject to approval by, and to the policies and regulations of, the Havasupai tribal council. Changes to regulations for licensed outfitters, and any potential effects to AOA’s scheduled departures, are at the discretion of the tribe.

For more details please see our comprehensive Trip Policies and Payments page.

We recommend Travel Guard insurance.

 

Trip Itinerary

Overview

Our campsite on Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim is conveniently located for hiking, visiting historic buildings and museums, and enjoying ranger programs of the South Rim. Spend 2 days here while your expert guide leads you to awe-inspiring views from the Desert View Watchtower, the South Kaibab Trail, and overlooks from which the Colorado River and its famous rapids can be seen far below. Next, hike into Havasupai, known as the “land of the blue-green waters,” a lush and unexpected oasis deep in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Havasu Falls is the perfect destination for an active family vacation. Enjoy swimming in the crystal clear Havasu Creek, camping beneath the stars, and embarking on fun and kid-friendly activities like hunting for scorpions with a blacklight or searching for ancient fossils. Your expert guides cook delicious meals each day to keep all members of the family fueled and ready for action to make this the most unforgettable family trip to Havasu Falls.
*Note: This hiking trip is challenging at any age. AOA’s recommended minimum age is 10 years old. We are happy to discuss each individual case to ensure this trip is the right adventure for your active family.

DAY 1 – DRIVE TO GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Hike the Grand Canyon on a guided tour with AOA

View from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Our journey begins with being picked up at our host hotel in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and heading north. We progress through a series of different life zones as we climb above the Mogollon Rim onto the Colorado Plateau. Along the way our guides will explain the geologic forces that created this massive uplift and how the Grand Canyon formed. We pass through the town of Flagstaff at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, home to Arizona’s highest mountain, Mt. Humphreys, and surrounded by the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest.

Past Flagstaff we are treated to the soft pastels and vast panoramas of the Painted Desert as we approach the Grand Canyon. Our first look at the canyon is from the historic Desert View Watchtower, a Mary Jane Colter building perched on the edge of the great chasm. An optional warm-up hike along the Rim Trail gives us some mileage and stunning views. Stops along this mostly-flat trail include the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center, Yavapai Geology Museum, and Hopi House. Tonight we will settle into our Grand Canyon campground, our base for the next two nights. A delicious dinner awaits, prepared by our guides, after settling in to our tents.

  • Hiking: 3-4 miles
  • Meals: Breakfast on own, lunch en route, dinner in camp
  • Lodging: Established campground near the South Rim

DAY 2 – HIKE SOUTH KAIBAB TRAIL, EXPLORE THE PARK

Today’s hike takes us down into the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail, famous for the best views of any trail in the park. Built from December 1924 to June 1925 by crews working in both directions, this trail is one of the few in Grand Canyon National Park that follows a ridgeline rather than a fault line or side canyon, resulting in awesome panoramic views up and down the canyon for miles. We descend past Ooh-Aah Point to Cedar Ridge where we enjoy a gourmet lunch before climbing back to the rim. This hike is a great introduction to hiking in the Grand Canyon. We spend the afternoon exploring Grand Canyon Village, relaxing at camp, or hiking Rim Trail West. This section of the Rim Trail has famous viewpoints along its 7.8 miles, including Colter’s Hermit’s Rest, as well as shuttle service to return you to the campground on your schedule. Tonight we enjoy another fine guide prepared meal while recapping our adventures and swapping stories and playing games.

  • Hiking: 5-7 miles
  • Meals: All meals included; breakfast at camp, lunch on the trail, dinner in camp.
  • Lodging: Established campground near the South Rim

DAY 3: HIKE INTO HAVASUPAI

Hike to the Grand Canyon waterfalls, Havasupai with AOA

Trailside Lunch in Grand Canyon National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the trailhead, which is perched on the edge of the canyon. It is called Hualapai Hilltop (pronounced “Walapai”) and is the only land travel access to Havasupai and the world-famous Havasu Falls. Starting at an elevation of 5,200 feet, the trail to Havasupai switchbacks down for 1.5 miles until it reaches a dry streambed and levels out. Learn more about the hike itself in this blog post. After a trailside lunch, the canyon walls seem to grow taller alongside the trail as you descend deeper into the labyrinthine red sandstone of Hualapai Canyon. At mile 8 in our hike the canyon begins to widen and vegetation abounds as you enter the village of Supai, the most remote village in the U.S., where even the mail still arrives by pack animal. Here at 3,200 feet, after a welcome rest stop, the Cottonwood-lined paths will lead you through the village and into the canyon’s backcountry. A little further down the trail, you hike past 70ft. New Navajo Falls, 35 ft. Rock Falls and 100 ft. Havasu Falls. Soon after, you will arrive in camp. Estimated arrival time is between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. Use the afternoon to explore the Havasupai campground and relax at Havasu Falls while your guides prepare dinner. Sleep under the stars or retire to your spacious tent for a peaceful night of slumber.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Meals: All meals included; breakfast on the road, lunch on the trail, dinner in camp
  • Lodging: Established campground in Havasupai

DAY 4 and 5: EXPLORING GRAND CANYON’S HIDDEN TREASURES

Havasupai Photography Workshop with AOA

Havasu Creek hikers on the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Awaken in camp, nestled beneath the towering cottonwood trees along the banks of Havasu Creek and a short walk from the canyon’s enormous waterfalls. You will find fresh-brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast waiting in the camp kitchen. Every morning and afternoon your guides will lead you on hikes around Havasupai, some of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring treks in the world. Depending on the travelers in each trip, there will be options for kid-friendly activities available such as fossil hunting or catching frogs. Cross tropical blue streams and wade through lush meadows of wild grapevines, clamber up narrow side canyons with red rock walls towering thousands of feet overhead, even take a swim beside a 200 ft. waterfall. Each day you will dine on healthy, hearty meals prepared by your trip leaders. All the guided hikes in Havasupai are optional and you are welcome to choose to instead spend a lazy afternoon or morning reading a book in a hammock by Havasu creek. Remember, it’s your vacation and is designed to be as strenuous or as family-friendly as you wish. We have options from high adventure to peaceful relaxation.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Meals: All meals included and prepared in camp
  • Lodging: Established campground in Havasupai

DAY 6: ASCEND FROM PARADISE

The scenery and magic of Havasupai and its majestic waterfalls will make you never want to leave, but after breakfast it is time to conquer the canyon! While always challenging, the exhilaration of reaching the rim is an amazing feeling you will never forget. As you ascend the trail from Havasupai the canyon will feel like a familiar old friend. Often, our smallest hikers are our most enthusiastic. If you are traveling with your family, we will discuss each child’s ability levels in advance of the tour, to ensure they are capable of making the hike. Expect to arrive at the rim between 11:00am – 1:00pm. After reaching the Hualapai Hilltop, remember to look back at the magnificence of the canyon and allow a sense of your accomplishment to sink in. We will return to the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Old Town Scottsdale between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Meals: Breakfast in camp, lunch on the trail, dinner on your own
  • Lodging: On your own

 

Check out this trip’s route

Click here to see the route we take on the Grand Canyon Ultimate hiking trip.

 

Tips for Planning A Trip to Havasupai

Many see the photos, but only a few know the names of all of Havasupai’s waterfalls. Read on for a guide to the main waterfalls of Havasupai.

Not sure which guided trip to Havasupai is best for you and your group? Don’t worry! We wrote a blog that breaks down all of our guided trips to Havasupai for you.

Ready for your adventure to Havasupai but still wondering what the trail to paradise is like? Find out more about the trail to Havasu Falls here.

Whether you would like to go on a guided trip to Havasupai or not, it is important to know about the permitting process to get to Havasupai. Our blog on how to reserve permits to Havasupai explains