Back to Shop

Grand Canyon Challenge

5.00 out of 5 based on 27 customer ratings
(27 customer reviews)


An Inspirational Three Night, 35 Mile Loop with the Colorado River

FROM $974


Join a trek


#1: November 2017
#2: March 2018
#3: April 2018
#4: May 2018

Prices increase October 1st.



Every now and then, we come across a person, or an experience than can inspire us for a lifetime. The Grand Canyon Challenge is among the most inspiring, and challenging experiences in the Grand Canyon state. We take motivated individuals, band them together and trek 35 miles across remote canyon terrain, into hidden gorges, and to the Colorado River on a guided three night, four day loop. With over 4,500 feet of vertical elevation loss, and gain, this all-inclusive Grand Canyon backpacking experience is open to fit and motivated individuals of all ages. Just bring your personal items, positive attitude, and be ready for the challenge of a lifetime.

We operate a limited number of Grand Canyon Challenge experiences each each spring (March – May) and fall (September – November). Limit 9 participants per trek.

What’s included

  • Guided 4 day, 3 night Grand Canyon backpacking trek
  • Orientation and personalized pack-check prior to departure
  • All meals and snacks while in the back-country
  • Group gear and equipment
  • Backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad if needed
  • Transportation to and from Grand Canyon Village
  • Inspiration for a lifetime

What’s not included

  • Meals in the front-country while in Grand Canyon Village
  • Lodging in the front-country, pre or post trek
  • Personal items
Grand Canyon Challenge Trail Map

Dates and pricing*

3 night/4 day outing | Group size limit 9 | $350 deposit/person | Balance due 45 days prior to trek

Month of challenge Trek Dates Advanced registration
Sign up by September 30th
Open registration
Regular price
Join a trek
September 2017 Sept 21-24, Sept 24-27, Sept 30-Oct 3 $949 $949 Sign Up
October 2017 All Dates Full $949 $974 Sign Up
November 2017 Nov 2-5 (FULL), Nov 7-10, Nov 10-13 (FULL) $949 $974 Sign Up
March 2018 Mar 8-11, Mar 12-15, Mar 15-18, Mar 19-22, March 23-26, Mar 27-30 $949 $974 Sign Up
April 2018 Apr 3-6, Apr 5-8, Apr 12-15, Apr 19-22, Apr 23-29, Apr 30-May 3 $949 $974 Sign Up
May 2018 May 4-7, May 8-11, May 10-13, May 14-17 $949 $974 Sign Up
Custom Dates – 2017 & 2018 New! Call or email to request custom dates. $949 $974 Contact Us

*How it works

A $350 deposit per person is required with balance due 45 days prior to the event. Deposits are 100% refundable until 90 days prior to trek departure. All March, April and May 2017 trek dates are confirmed. All September, October and November 2017 trek dates may be adjusted +/- one day until permits are finalized approximately 4 months (120 days) in advance of departure (when Grand Canyon permits are issued), providing ample time to plan transportation to and from the Canyon, or decline the dates and receive your deposit back in full. For custom dates, bookings must be made at least 120 days in advance of trek; please contact us for custom dates or corporate/group pricing.


All of our Grand Canyon Challenge experiences traverse the same loop between the Bright Angel trailhead and the Hermit trailhead along the Tonto Platform. While the exact distance, camp locations, and direction of each trek may vary depending on group size and permit allowances, here is a representative itinerary.

Pre and post-trip hotel accommodations are not provided. Once your trek dates are finalized, secure a lodging reservation as soon as possible (skip to logistics).


Evening before departure

We’ll convene at 6:30pm for a one hour group orientation in the main lobby of Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. At orientation we’ll hand out backpacks, tents and sleeping bags to those who requested them.

grand canyon backpacking day 1

Day 1 – Intense downhill

After reconvening in the lobby of Little America Hotel, Flagstaff at 5:00am, we’ll head out to the trailhead where our hike begins with a steep 3,000 foot decent to Indian Gardens, out and back to Panorama point, and then onward along the Tonto Trail to our camp 1,000 feet above the Colorado River.

grand canyon backpacking day 2

Day 2 – Undulating trail / moderate downhill

Today the trail undulates for the first several hours until we reach Monument Creek, where we’ll break for lunch situated below the Tonto ledge, above the gorge floor, and inside a cavernous, bowl shaped canyon. A quick descent will bring us to the creek bed floor which we will follow out to the Colorado River and camp.

grand canyon backpacking day 3

Day 3 – Moderate uphill

After a leisurely morning by the river, we’ll retrace our steps to Monument Canyon, and then continue on the Tonto Trail, reaching Hermit Creek by lunch. We’ll have the afternoon to explore both up and down the creek’s canyon and enjoy its cool pools for swimming.

grand canyon backpacking day 4

Day 4 – Intense uphill

An early, before-sun-up start will move us up, and off the Tonto platform, then into the multi-layered, multi-colored walls of the Canyon as we climb almost 4,000 feet to exit the trail and return to civilization. Upon exit, we’ll catch a shuttle bus for a short ride back to Grand Canyon Village.

What you’ll need

Joining a Grand Canyon Challenge experience is easy. Don’t own a backpack, tent or sleeping bag? Not a problem, we provide backpacks, tents and sleeping bags for those who need them, at no additional charge. We also take care of all group items like pots, stoves, food, food storage, water filters, first aid etc. Your guides will do the cooking and dishes. Just show up with your boots and personal items, ready to hike!

Watch our Backpacking Checklist Video to see how easy we make it.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Hiking boots (broken-in)
  • Lightweight camp shoes
  • Hiking socks (pack 1 pair, wear 1 pair)
  • Moleskin, 1 package
  • Long-underwear top
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Tee or short sleeve shirt (pack 1, wear 1)
  • Fleece or jacket (200 weight)
  • Rain/wind jacket or poncho
  • Underwear (pack 2, wear 1)
  • Long-underwear bottom
  • Hiking pants
  • Rain/wind pants
  • Camp or sleepwear
  • Bandana
  • Cap or hat with brim
  • Poncho (in lieu of raingear)
  • Warm hat (beanie/tuque/knit cap)
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sunglasses (100% UV protection)
  • Flashlight (small)
  • Sunscreen (rated at least 25 SPF)
  • Chapstick
  • ½ roll toilet paper, in zip-lock bag (white, unscented)
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Water bottles (2 one quart/liter size)

On the day of departure, each participant will get a snack pack and a small amount of group food or group fuel that will be used over the course of the trek.


Trek date confirmation: We apply for permits on the 1st of the month, four months in advance, and are notified by the park service of our exact permit dates within two weeks. You’ll receive an email from us as soon as the trek dates for your week are confirmed. At that time, you can start making plans for transportation and pre-trek/post-trek accommodations.

Pre and post-trip accommodations: Once your trek dates are finalized, secure a lodging reservation in Flagstaff, AZ as soon as possible. You can request at TSX group rate at Little America Hotel ( / 800.865.1401) in Flagstaff where we’ll be having our pre-trek orientation, and where we will meet the morning of our hike. If you plan on staying somewhere else, that is ok with us, just let us know where you end up, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

Transportation: If traveling by air, Flagstaff is the preferred airport. There is a free hotel shuttle to Little America Hotel from the Flagstaff airport. If flying into Phoenix, consider renting a car or taking a shuttle to Flagstaff. Reserve your shuttle spot in advance with Arizona Shuttle ( / 928.226.8060) or you can arrange customized shuttle service from A Friendly Cab ( / 928.774.4444).

Arrival time: When scheduling flights or planning your drive, please allow enough time to arrive no later than 7pm the evening before your trek begins so that you can attend the pre-trek orientation (scheduled between 6:30pm-7:30pm at the Little America Hotel, Flagstaff lobby the evening before).

Departure time: We plan on exiting the trail between 12pm and 2pm on the last day of the trek. However, the last day is always uphill, and there can be some variability based on individual fitness and preparedness. Please plan your return transportation accordingly. If flying out of Flagstaff on the same day, we suggest scheduling flights for departure no earlier than 4:50pm. Staying one additional night on the South Rim or in Flagstaff, and departing the following day is also popular option.

27 reviews for Grand Canyon Challenge

  1. 5 out of 5

    My trip with TSX was my first backpacking trip- ever. I was pretty nervous, but TSX made me feel comfortable and welcome. They were very patient and walked me through the process (what to pack, how to pack, sizing of gear etc). They are very professional and provide ease in what could be an otherwise uneasy situation. The guide, Tolman, was super kind and knowledgeable, and his passion for his job definitely shines through and excites you as well. The experience was awesome and whether you are an experienced backpacker, wanting to try it for the first time, or somewhere in between, they have you covered!! This will not be my last trip with TSX!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amazing experience through the Grand Canyon. As many have noted above, it’s hard to explain the grandeur and scale of the Canyon without experiencing it first hand. Our guide, Tolman, was knowledgeable, kind, and encouraging. I took along my 14 year old son and together we made memories for a lifetime. The routes chosen and the campsites selected were excellent. Often times we had the trails to ourselves and it was not until the last evening that we saw more than a handful of people. Having the tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags provided was greatly appreciated by someone who does not do a considerable amount of camping (and would like to avoid the expense associated with purchasing these items). Perhaps the Trans Sierra Challenge next? Who knows. Thank you for providing some excellent memories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Five star all the way! My wife and I had a great time and enjoyed the challenge.

  4. 5 out of 5

    An AMAZING backpacking experience! My wife and I absolutely LOVED the TSX Grand Canyon Challenge! The Grand Canyon was absolutely breathtaking! We just completed our trip April 9-13, and all the wildflowers and cacti were in full bloom. I have only done a couple minor overnight camping trips in my life, but nothing on this level. I really enjoy hiking, and the outdoors, but the planning and time to set up a trip like this would never happen on my own. TSX’s service in handling all the logistics, food and gear was a huge service in creating a truly memorable experience! It was indeed challenging, but Chris and Robert made the hike manageable, fun and I finished feeling more knowledgeable about hiking, backpacking and the Grand Canyon than I ever would on my own. I think I ate better on this trip than I do in my regular day-to-day, as well.

    All in all, I would highly recommend this trip to pretty much everyone I know. Being a shorter trip than the original TSX Challenge, it fit my schedule as an educator perfectly over my Spring Break! Hats off to Chris and the whole TSX team for putting on a top notch guided backpacking experience!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Do not miss! It’s the experience of a lifetime!

    This was my second trip with TSX and it did not disappoint! I brought my best friend along for the ride as well as a friend I made while backpacking the Sierras with TSX previously. We had an amazing time both strengthening our bond and getting to make friends with the others on our trip. I find these backpacking trips to be the best place to bond with people quickly while enjoying an incredible experience together! TSX’s routes are thoughtful, well-planned, and always stunning. I can’t wait to be back in the Canyon again! 🙂 Our guides were amazing and knowledgeable of the Grand Canyon’s history, which kept things fun and interesting the whole time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    My friend and I do day-hikes all over southern california (from Mt Baldy to Temescal and all points between), but as a newbie to backpacking & camping, I would never have felt comfortable or safe attempting the Grand Canyon on our own. Chris and Tolman are total pro’s in every sense, from their knowledge of the terrain to working with people of all abilities and making a cohesive, fun group atmosphere for everyone. I came away from this experience not only with a great sense of pride in a huge accomplishment, but also with a group of new friends that I can’t wait to see again – we laughed ’til our sides hurt, and every day ends with a high five, good food, and something warm to drink. If you’re looking for a challenging adventure with skilled guides, this fits the bill! You can be confident that these guys have your back the whole way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    If you want to really experience one of the seven wonders of the natural world there is no better way to do it then with TSX. The Grand Canyon experience with them was beyond what I expected and one I will never forget. I loved how our guide’s Tolman and Chris were both there for you when you needed help but also allowed you to experience the canyon at your own pace. The knowledge of the trail as well as other areas of the Canyon was awesome and their cooking skills were definitely on point. I would recommend this trip to everyone who wants to challenge themselves and come back even stronger then when they left on this trek of a lifetime.

  8. 5 out of 5

    If you every wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, yet you did not want to do it alone, I highly recommend TSX Challenge! Chris made sure I was safe but was not intrusive and allowed me to have my own experience of the Canyon.
    I’m not an experience hiker/camper but Chris and his company made my Grand Canyon trip an amazing one. From the time we stepped off the rim and started our descend down it was breath taking. Everywhere you looked the view was just spectacular and each day brought me a lifetime of memories. Upon reaching the end of our trip were my tears were of joy and accomplishment.
    Be part of that 1% of people that go beyond the rim and enjoy our beautiful National Park!

  9. 5 out of 5

    All I can say is WOW! This was my 1st backpacking trip at age 51 and will continue to do more. This was truly an amazing experience for me both physically and mentally. The TSX Challenge is by far the best way to be (much needed) 100% unplugged from work and social media. We were completely worry free due to our guide “Chris” who made sure we had all the tools to be successful. Everyday was a new challenge with new incredible views that can’t be seen anywhere but “IN” the beautiful Grand Canyon. I cannot explain the flood of emotions I felt when we reached our daily destinations but the tears were not of pain or disappointment. I HIGHLY recommend TSX Challenge. Great Guide, Great Food. Amazing in every way!! You will NOT be disappointed!! Thank you a 1000X Chris for the experience of a lifetime!
    I have to give a shout out to KEEN Women’s Koven Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots and Ecosox Bamboo Socks (hiking and outdoor). Not gonna lie.. my feet were sore but absolutely blister free and due to my lack of preparation I bought these boots the day before the trip so they were NOT broke in.

  10. 5 out of 5

    My 15 year old son and I went on the Grand Canyon trip and really enjoyed it. It was our first time backpacking and we were certainly anxious about the challenge. The TSX team did a great job contacting us weeks before our departure to make sure we were purchasing the right gear and supplies. We opted to use their packs, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and tent. All of the gear was high quality and clean. It allowed us to travel light and focus on our specific gear. Our very friendly guides met with the hikers the evening before and spent time with us to make last minute adjustments to our gear based on the weather. I would highly recommend TSX to beginner – intermediate backpackers that want to try the sport before investing in gear and need some reassurance before taking on such a challenge as the Canyon. Advanced backpackers might also want someone to help them coordinate permits, food, and transportation in and out of the canyon – especially those that haven’t been to the Canyon to find those secret camp sites. Ultimately my son and I made it and have amazing memories and some quality, non-electronics based, time together.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Just Do It! This backpacking trip will inspire you!!
    Only when you hike down the trails, sleep under the stars, see the deer and mtn goats, swim in the Colorado river, experience the majestic cathedral views from below the rim, will you truly understand the Canyon’s grandeur.
    Seriously, you’ll have an experience that few people will ever know.

    This is my 2nd hike with TSX Challenge. Their guides will take excellent care of all the group details, provide good food and you’ll make new lifelong friends.

    As Phil said, get yourself in shape so you’ll have the most enjoyment.

    After this …
    then do the TSX Trans Sierra challenge!
    Just once in your lifetime, you have to stand on top of Mt. Whitney!

  12. 5 out of 5

    The Grand Canyon Extreme Challenge was a marvelous experience. Only when you really are going down into the canyon will you realize its majesty, scale, flora, fauna and incredible views. You will get to know your hiking companions and share this fantastic adventure. When you get to the Colorado river and plunge into it you will feel the satisfaction of reaching one of your bucket list goals rush through your body. There really are no words to adequately describe the emotions you will experience on this trip. The guides are very knowledgeable and are safety conscious. They will take care of you without any doubts. My advice is to be in good shape. This is not a “Walk in the park”.
    Jan Gazenbeek, 73

  13. 5 out of 5

    The scale of the Grand Canyon is difficult to appreciate without hiking to the bottom, swim in the Colorado and hike back to the top. I am not an expert hiker and found the TSX group to offer exactly what I was looking for. Chris and team handled all the difficult arrangements, food, cooking and logistics leaving the hiking to me all while ensuring I was safe; both in the equipment needs, equipment use and my physical well being. This is a challenging hike you shouldn’t take lightly. Exercise, get out and hike and be fit enough to really enjoy the adventure. I loved every minute of it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Great trip to the Grand Canyon last week. The team at TSXChallenge are awesome. They were very helpful in planning and preparation. It was so nice to not worry about navigation or food. Their instructional video was easy to follow to pack. I brought my own gear, TSX provided excellent gear to some of our team members. The guides were approachable, encouraging, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. It was evident to me that the TSX guides have a passion for the work they do vs seeing it as a job. I highly recommend TSXChallenge. You will unplug from your normal life, re focus on important priorities, make new friends and create memories you will never forget. I intend to go on another trip and bring my sons.

  15. 5 out of 5

    In. Cred. Ible. This trek was everything I could have hoped for and more. If you’re looking for a luxe experience this isn’t it, but if you’re looking for a real backpacking expedition, look no further; you’ve found it! Millions visit the Grand Canyon, but only a tiny percentage of those folks ever venture more than a mile or so in. This trip earns you membership to a very exclusive club: those few who get to see the canyon up close and personal; from the bottom up. With any luck, you may even get to sleep out under the stars on the banks of the Colorado River! We had no equipment of our own; TSX provided all we needed and it was great stuff. I think the best things I can say about this trip are that, rather than having a professional guide, it felt like we were hiking with a really great friend who just happened to have mad backpacking skills. The second thing is that my partner, who had previously been on no more than an 8 mile day hike, now wants to do the Mount Whitney trek! Yes. It was that good! For that last thing alone I can’t thank you enough Chris.

  16. 5 out of 5

    TSX trips are truly a profound experience! I had two reactions to going on the Grand Canyon Challenge. The first can be described by that scene from Office Space where the main character has a transformative experience and turns into a badass. All his friends are shocked by his new attitude and suddenly he’s wanted by everyone at work simply because of this attitude. Finishing the Grand Canyon challenge kind of feels a little bit like that.

    You might also look at it as an experience in wonder as I have. Accomplishing a major feat like a backpacker make you feel like a badass – you return with a whole new perspective. Experiencing natural wonders, and having to work to do it, far exceeds the experience of anything you could buy, drink, smoke or otherwise consume in urban life. Wildness is out there, and ready to take on with a TSX trip.

  17. 5 out of 5

    What an AMAZING trip and inspirational experience. This was first time backpacking and surely not the last. I’d highly recommend this trip to anyone interested.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Do it! Unforgettable group and personal experience. It was my first time backpacking and now looking to get out there again…soon. You need to get in the Canyon to truly understand and appreciate it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    This was a truly amazing experience. Chris is was very familiar with the landscape, had everything covered, and secured the most picturesque campsites. I had minimal backpacking experience prior to my trip, and I left feeling like a pro! I would recommend this trip to anyone; it was sufficiently challenging, and thoroughly enjoyable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Had a great time! Thanks Alex!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Like the site says, this company provides a service basically comprised of trail access, trail knowledge, preparation and guiding. Personally, I don’t know that I could have provided all of that for myself at all, and certainly not at a price or inconvenience to myself which would be better. I greatly enjoyed my guide, Alex. Of course, the Grand Canyon is just incredible. I am really, really happy I took this trip.

  22. 5 out of 5

    An amazing adventure! Exploring the Grand Canyon has always been on my wish list, and this trek was perfectly planned from start to finish. I can’t think of a better way to spend 4 days in one of the crown jewels of our national park system. The guides were friendly and personable, and I enjoyed learning new camping techniques I can bring with me on future wilderness trips.

  23. 5 out of 5

    I participated in this trek with my thirteen year old granddaughter and it was the trip of a lifetime for the two of us. She had the best time and I was so proud watching her face the challenges and overcome obstacles this trail presents. I felt like I watched her grow up in just a few days. No doubt, this is a tough and sometimes scary trek, and for the first few miles, and off and on during the first day, I really wondered if we could do it—-but the guides were very encouraging and helpful, and the otherworldly beauty of the Grand Canyon kept us going. We’ll be talking about it for a long, long time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    What an amazing trip. 35 miles over 4 days and 3 nights, just the right amount. The views were incredible. Every step you take, there is a different perspective of the canyon. Our guide was great and the food was excellent! I will be enjoying the memories from this trip for the rest of my life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    I participated on the March 15-18 trek in the Grand Canyon and the experience was better than expected. Liked the attention to detail with planning and logistics, and really enjoyed the extra time we had to spend at the Colorado river. Thank you for the great experience! Proudly wearing my Grand Canyon Xtreme Challenge shirt to the gym : )

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Grand Canyon challenge exceeded my expectations. If you want to get out to a location seen by very few people and really challenge yourself physically and mentally, you would love this adventure. The guides are very organized and experienced. Our guide was so encouraging and also prepared us excellent meals. The trek trail has such amazing views that they are hard to describe in words. The trek covers a wide array of gorgeous landscapes. I highly recommend TSXChallenge’s guided trips.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Awesome trip and experience. Highly recommend to anyone who want to experience the ‘real’ Grand Canyon. Its hard work and relaxing at the same time.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *