Thrilling Scramble Climb of Papago Wall


Quartzite Slot Canyon


Trail Parallels Colorado River


Multiple beach camping nights


Inner Canyon mountain range


ditch the crowds, free your soul






Up to 45 mi/72km




Flagstaff, Arizona



The Graduate geologist adventurer will be capable of hiking 4 – 10 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 5000 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh 30-45 lbs. Graduate time traveling hikers should be in good health, and exercise regularly. Previous backpacking experience is advised.

Check off every Grand Canyon dream you ever had on a historic Spanish exploration route

Named by Backpacker Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Backpacking Trips of a Lifetime”, the Escalante Route Backpacking tour from Tanner to Grandview offers just about everything you could ask for on a Grand Canyon backpacking adventure, plus a bit more.  Ridiculous views, remote solitude, thundering rapids, fascinating geology that ranges from the wide open eastern Canyon to the Inner Gorge, a class 3 scramble over the vaunted Papago Wall, a jaunt through a slot canyon, and memories that will last a lifetime are all on the itinerary here.



Hikers should have the ability to hike on and off marked trails, to scramble over obstacles and/or barriers with frequent changes in elevation for up to 14 miles per day, carrying medium sized packs of gear. All hikes are one-way, except in case of emergency, and are traveled at a steady walking pace with breaks.


A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehydrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.


While hikers will pass through areas popular with tourists, they will spend most of the time in areas specially selected to be off the beaten path. There will be practically no wait time or crowds anywhere past the trail-heads. Overnighting is private and remote.

Trip Dates

Don’t see your dates?
Custom dates may be available!

Call 1-602-904-2536 or contact us for details.

2019 Trip Dates


2020 Trip Dates


geologic time travel primer


The Escalante Route starts at the Tanner Trailhead near Desert View in eastern Grand Canyon.  After final preparations, we will descend the exciting trail, and almost immediately come to one of the eastern Canyon’s most important structures, the Butte Fault, that is responsible for the Canyon’s sweeping appearance here.  We traverse through the Supai, make a radical descent through the Redwall Limestone, and into the rolling traverse through Tapeats and into the Grand Canyon Supergroup, which is very well exposed in this part of the canyon.  We will make camp at Tanner Beach near the swell of the Colorado River, as you kick back while your geologist/guide sets up and prepares some excellent grub.

Time in the car: 2 hours hours
Elevation & Distance: 7.9 miles, 5200 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 2 is a winding traverse along the famed Escalante Route, and we will have fun picking our route through this incomprehensibly beautiful landscape.  After stopping for lunch on a mesa with 360 degree views of the Canyon, we will descend 75-Mile canyon, a gorgeous polished quartzite slot that will feel completely different than the grand scale of most of today’s adventure.  Have your camera ready, you’re gonna need it!

Elevation & Distance: 11.5 miles, winding 200 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our third day will be our rest and play day, you earned it!  We will explore more of 75-mile canyon, along with other slots and scrambles that will surprise and delight.

Elevation & Distance: 3 miles, no elevation change
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Today’s hike will test your adventurous side, as we go up and over the Papago Wall, a 50 foot quartzite cliff that requires a class 3 climb (no ropes, hand over foot).  As we descend a precipitous scree gully on the other side, we will observe as the canyon closes in around us, reflecting the changing geology as the rocks of the Inner Gorge start to make their appearance.  We will climb out of the gorge via the New Hance Trail, and make camp at Hance Creek, a fantastically scenic gurgling stream surrounded by oak, aspen, and shrubs.

Elevation & Distance: 10.5 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our final day offers shorter mileage, but a rugged challenge, as we climb out of Hance Creek via the Tonto Trail onto Horeshoe Mesa.  As we make our way up the Redwall Cliffs, we will have an excellent scene along the way of one of the larger and more wealthy mining claims in all of Grand Canyon.  A short side jaunt to Page Springs offers more adventure and some cliff exposures, before we exit the drainage onto the Grandview Trail where we will stop for a well-earned lunch.  After lunch, we make our way to Grandview Point and our exit. After we come up topside, we will celebrate our Grand Adventure in the geologist’s tradition: with libations at a local watering hole before we head back to Flagstaff.

Elevation & Distance: 5 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2 hours

Give me some details!

What is included in the Trip Rate?:

  • Your geologist/guide with all professional, medical, and backcountry certifications
  • Gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trek poles
  • Kitchen: bowls, cups, utensils, backcountry kitchen
  • Food: Full meals and trail snacks
  • Transportation: Roundtrip from the host hotel to all activities/attractions
  • Fees: Permits, Entrance Fees, Camping Fees, all necessary trip fees

What is the Food Situation?:

 Blue Marble takes care of all meals on your tour.  Starting with breakfast on your first day through lunch the final day, your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of chef-inspired meals on the trail and in camp.  All dietary needs are accommodated, so please get in touch with us to give us details of your requirements. There may be times where special needs necessitate a small rate increase.

Meals with include one main dish, which is prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options may be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. Trail snacks will include meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and other filling, delicious, and varying backcountry food.

Is there anything that i need to provide myself?:

  • Transportation to and from the host city/hotel
  • Lodging prior to and following your trip
  • Gear such as clothes, rainwear, and boots/shoes
  • Personal items such as toiletries and sunscreen
  • BMAG does not provide water bottles or Camelback-Style bladders
  • Personal lighting such as headlamps or flashlights
  • We suggest gratuities for your guide, typically 10-15% of the total trip cost

*Booked guests will receive a detailed information packet

What kind of group size can i expect?

Standard backpacking tours will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide.  The maximum group size is 10 guests and 2 guides.

Can I bring small children?

Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips due to insurance liabilities. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

I want to book a trip, how can i do that?

Tour bookings can be completed through our online booking platform or through our office.  A 50% deposit is required, and the full trip rate will be due 90 days prior to trip departure.  Bookings within the 90-day window require payment in full.  Trip rates are payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover.  Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).

Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536, or contact us for more information.

Tell me more!


Where do tours start and finish?

This trip will begin/end in the point of origin city. and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure there. Call our office for travel arrangements and suggestions.

Can I meet the guide before the trip?

A pre-trip briefing is held at the host hotel the evening before trip departure.  Any questions will be answered, and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything you wish with your geologist/guide. Most trips will depart between 6am and 9am the following morning.

ummm, what should i do with all my luggage and whatnot?

BMAG provides all transport throughout the trip.  Our guests staying at the host hotel may choose to leave their car at the hotel. Our designated host hotels will typically store your luggage if necessary.  In the event that this cannot be arranged, BMAG is more than happy to store luggage and personal belongings in a private and secure location during your tour.

how should i plan my travel after the trip?

In general, most trips can expect to be back to the host hotel by 6pm on the final day of the trip. Some trips may return earlier.  BMAG typically recommends that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Each trip has its own particular set of circumstances and logistics, so please  contact us with any specific questions you may have.

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Join Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism on geology-themed hiking and backpacking adventures! Find the perfect Grand Canyon hiking tour, Utah Canyon Country Tour, Vermillion Cliffs Backpacking or hiking.

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time.