Grand Canyon National Park - Extended Thanksgiving Backpack

  • Nov 20, 2012 · 12:15 PM
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ADDITIONAL POINT OF INTEREST:  During this trip, the Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation, along with other agencies, will be releasing extra water fro Lake Powell (upriver from the Grand Canyon).  The River will be flowing high.  This does NOT pose a danger to folks on our trip as the River crossing will be on suspension foot bridges well above the River.  I have been at the Canyon for several of these high flow releases, which are intended to be a controlled mirror of historical floods that occured before Glen Canyon Dam was completed.  These floods are intended to restore some of the beaches along the River.  It's a particularly unique time to be at the Canyon.

It's hard to beat Thanksgiving at the Grand Canyon!  This trip will go beyond the typical "first time" backpack at the Canyon.  While we'll use maintained corridor trails to begin and end our backpack, we'll leave the maintained trails and campsites behind for two nights, and enter a more isolated area.

The middle portion of this backpack is rugged and you should have some Grand Canyon or similar experience to assure that this is your kind of trip.  As a result, you'll need to put yourself on the waiting list and email me to discuss your backpacking experience before you can sign up for this Meetup. While we will be limited in number due to the permit issued by the Park, if you put yourself on the waiting list and we confirm that you're good for this trip, I'll manually take you off the waiting list and put you on the attendee list.

Additionally, a fee is involved to cover two nights (Tuesday and Sunday) lodging and the park's Backcountry Permit fee.  A maximum of 8 persons can be on this trip.  No dogs are permitted due to Park Service regulations.  Here's the itinerary:

Tuesday, November 20 - travel to Grand Canyon National Park.  We'll spend the night at Maswik Lodge.  It can be pretty chilly on the Rim in late November, so rooms at the lodge will give us the opportunity to rest after the drive and prepare for the next day's hike.  We'll share rooms to save on costs.  Lodging is included in the fee, along with each hiker's portion of the backcountry permit.  Meals will be your own responsiblity.

Wednesday, November 21 - After breakfast, probably at the Maswik cafeteria, we'll take the shuttle to Yaki Point and hike South Kaibab Trail from the Rim to the River.  We'll be treated to incredible "Heart of the Canyon" views as we descend 5000 feet to the Colorado River.  We'll cross Black Bridge and pass a small prehistoric ruin before heading into Bright Angel Camp along Bright Angel Creek.  This is a fairly developed campsite.  Distance: 7 miles.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 22 - We'll shoot for an early start.  The hike will follow Bright Angel Creek for a short distance past Phantom Ranch, and then we'll begin to ascend Clearcreek Trail through the Inner Gorge.  Along the way, we'll get a great view of Phantom Ranch.  The trail eventually levels as we traverse an undulating plateau.  There's no water until we reach camp.  Views of the Inner Gorge, the River, and toward the east and south are incredible!  After 9 miles, we begin to descend into Clearcreek Canyon.  The perennial and aptly named creek greets us after a steep descent.  We'll set camp and prepare for Thankgiving dinner.  In the past, we've done a group meal, which can be a lot of fun and delicious.  The camping area is close to the creek.

Friday, November 23 - We stay in Clearcreek.  We have several options, depending on how folks feel.  We can relax in the idyllic setting.  We can hike up canyon to enjoy beautiful scenery.  There are ruins in the area (please note, Federal law forbids entering or displacing ruins or artifacts).  We could go downstream toward the River. One way or another, we'll have a great layover day.

Saturday, November 24 - Back the way we came.  We'll spend another night at Bright Angel Camp.  A visit to the beer hall (which also serves non-alcoholic drinks) at Phantom Ranch may be in order after the 9 mile journey to our group campsite!

Sunday, November 25 - After breakfast, we'll hike along the River to Silver Bridge, cross the River, and hike River Trail for a distance.  The views from River Trail are great!  We'll then ascend from the River along Bright Angel Trail.  The trail passes through a short slot before reaching Indian Garden -- a perfect spot to reload on water and have a snack or lunch.  Then up, up, up to the Rim.  We have rooms on the Rim again.  It's nice to spend the night and have dinner on the Rim before driving back to Albuquerque, especially after the 9 miles of hiking we will do today.  However. those who want or need to drive back Sunday can do so.

Monday, November 26 -  Perhaps sunrise on the Rim, breakfast, and then the trek back to Albuquerque.

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  • Jim

    Small group, but good company, weather, and awesome sights.

    November 27, 2012

  • Alan S.

    A bucket list trip for sure.!!

    November 26, 2012

  • kim z.

    I would like to attend, but can not leave until Wed pm after work.

    November 16, 2012

    • Jim

      Kim, thanks for your message. Unfortunately, I don't think that timing would work for this trip. Wednesday night we'll be at the bottom of the canyon and will be heading out Clearcreek trail Thursday morning. I hope to try having a Thanksgiving trip next year, too, as well as a few more Grand Canyon trips between now and then. Have a great Thanksgiving!

      November 16, 2012

  • Sean K.

    Jim, I have backpacked, 5-9 days, 7 or 8 times, in the Grand Canyon. Most recently with Jon's trip last fall to Havasupai. References from John, Derrick, Keith. I have some experience with off-trail in the Grand Canyon -- I put together a 5-day loop on the North Rim that encompassed Tapeats, Deer, and Kanab Creeks. I am planning a Cheyava Falls trip for the spring, and this looks like an ideal scouting opportunity!

    November 10, 2012

  • Jim

    Alan, Good catch! Thanks! It does not affect the reservation or permit. New dates for Thanksgiving Day through Monday have been inserted.

    October 26, 2012

  • Alan S.

    You have a mistake with the dates: Friday is Nov. 23rd, not the 22nd. I hope this doesn't affect the reservations or anything else.

    October 26, 2012

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Your organizer's refund policy for Grand Canyon National Park - Extended Thanksgiving Backpack

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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