Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

7 days backpacking through Grand Canyon National Park.  Down the Tanner trail to the Colorado river, up the Colorado to the confluence of the Little Colorado river, and back!


Starting Out:

After an early start in Flagstaff we loaded up the vehicles and set out for our hour and a half drive up to the Grand Canyon.  After some final preparations and a few sight seeing stops along the south rim we set out from Lipan Point.  Almost immediately the trail began it’s steep descent down to the Colorado river.

Loading up
Final gear prep
Heading out
Tanner Trail

Our first day was filled with stunning views looking down into the Canyon.  The scattered clouds made for a comfortable hiking temp.  The cactus flowers lined the trail as we made our descent into the canyon.  After a jarring descent we made it to Tanner beach along the Colorado river.


Grand Canyon!


Still a long way to the river.
Camping at Tanner beach
Evening light in the Canyon

Day 2:

We headed upriver along the Beamer trail.  Our progress was slow as we followed the trail in and out of the various side canyons.  Often the trail dropped into the side canyons only to climb steeply up on the other side. We set up camp along the dry Palisades drainage, where we were lulled to sleep by the roar of the nearby Lava rapids.

A little scrambling along the Beamer trail



On day 3 we made it just short of the Little Colorado river, where we set up camp on a sandy beach. The frigid water of the Colorado River was a welcome reprieve after a long day in the hot sun.  The cold water made you gasp for air when you jumped in.

The following day we took a rest day and explored the confluence; where the Little Colorado river flows into the Colorado. As we approached the Little Colorado we were amazed by the color of the water.  Rather than the mostly brown color of the sediment filled Colorado, the Little Colorado was a creamy turquoise, like heavy whipping cream poured into the blue waters of the Caribbean. We spent the day exploring along the river and swimming in the milky water. Pleasantly the water of the Little Colorado was the perfect temperature for swimming.

Beamer Cabin
Relaxing along the Little Colorado
Little Colorado
Exploring the Little Colorado

Heading out:

On day 5 we turned back and began tracing our steps back out of the Canyon.  We spent the night at Palisades creek.  Not long after arriving a rescue helicopter came flying up the canyon.  The helicopter hovered briefly above our camp, before landing next to a group of rafters camped on the opposite side of the river. From our camp we weren’t able to see what was going on, after about 15 minutes the helicopter flew back down the canyon, out of site.

We spent our last night back at Tanner beach, where we spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade next to the river.  It was a great afternoon of resting up in preparation for our big climb out of the canyon the following day.

We woke up early on the final day to take advantage of the cooler morning air.  The going was slow, but we steadily climbed up and away from the river.  By early afternoon we made it back to the car and where off to Tusayan to celebrate our success over a huge meal of delicious Mexican food!


Camp at Palisades Creek
Rafts entering Lava Rapids

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