Main Grand Canyon Tributary


Stunning crystalline springs


Golden Eagle nesting grounds


soaring buff-colored sandstone walls


Pleasant strolling in riparian canyon


Colorado/LCR Confluence in Grand Canyon





40 mi/72km




Flagstaff, Arizona


Undergraduate +

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.

Discover one of the main tributaries to Grand Canyon as you watch eagles soar, refresh in crystal blue streams, and laugh that it’s all yours

The Little Colorado River is the southern-most tributary to the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.  Little Brother has cut its own Little Grand Canyon through the Painted Desert of northern Arizona, with soaring canyon walls, turquoise waters reminiscent of Havasu Falls, and tremendous solitude.  Our Little Colorado River Gorge Backpacking tour features a stroll through these wild depths to the LCR confluence with Big Brother Colorado River and the Grand Canyon, a spectacular and utterly grand scene that not many see from river level.  Join us as we explore the geology and history of this fabulous Little Grand Canyon.



Hikers should have the ability to walk up noticeable elevation change and over uneven ground and surface for up to 9 miles per day and carrying a small pack of gear. Many routes and trails don’t have a shortcut or turn-around option. The hiking party moves at a gentle but 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.


Hikers will visit the remote frontier. Guides will take you to the hard-to-reach and hard-to-find attractions that remain completely untouched by the crowds. Groups will see few, if any, other hikers through the trip. Overnighting is private and secluded.

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

Trip Itinerary


The Little Colorado River Gorge Backpacking tour starts at the Canyon Overlook trail, descending quickly into the gorge.  The hiking is very pleasant and scenic, with towering walls of blonde Coconino Sandstone glimmering as we walk.  We will camp near the mouth of an unnamed canyon for the evening.

Time in the car: 1 hour
Elevation & Distance: 10 miles, 1000 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our second day will see us into the portion of the Little Colorado River Gorge wherein the Little Colorado River becomes less of a trickle, and more of a river.  We will pass several natural springs that gush from the canyon walls and add more and more volume to the swell that becomes the Little Colorado River, turning an alluring blue-green from dissolved carbonate minerals.  Today’s hiking will consist of several crossings and some route-finding as we pick our way to and fro from bank to bank.  Tonight’s camp will be near Big Canyon, and we will have time to explore Emerald Pools, a tremendously scenic spring in Big Canyon. 

Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 1000 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


On day 3, after a good breakfast we willl again begin hiking, reaching the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, and Grand Canyon’s Beamer Trail.  Though the last couple of days have been excellent and spectacular, this confluence is quite impressive, with thundering rapids and sweeping views from the Tapeats Sandstone ledges traversed by the Beamer.  We will camp at the Palisades Creek drainage, and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the Lava Canyon Rapids in Grand Canyon National Park.

Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Your fourth day will continue our hiking traverse of the Beamer Trail from Palisades Creek towards Tanner Beach.  Look out for Chuar Butte and Temple Butte as we cruise along this exciting trail, which will present us with some exposure and sweeping views down to the Colorado River.  We will camp tonight at Tanner Beach, a gorgeous spot with excellent view to the Palisades of the Desert, a 4000 foot sheer cliff unique to this part of Grand Canyon.

Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 300 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


We will split our ascent to Lipan Point into two days.  Today we will take our time in camp, and explore some old copper mining claims and Seth Tanner’s abandoned cabin, a testament to the search for riches in this wondrous place.  We will ascend Tanner Canyon beginning in the Dox Sandstone, and will end atop the Redwall limestone at our scenic, but dry camp where our water caches will come in handy.

Elevation & Distance: 5 miles, 2500 ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Our sixth day begins like many final days of our backpacking yours; with a nice, lazy morning in camp, then a continuation of our ascent to the South Rim of Grand Canyon.  We will enjoy a pleasant traverse along the Esplanade before we climb past the Seventyfive Mile Canyon Viewpoint with views out to Zoroaster Temple.  After coming topside, we will meet our shuttle and celebrate like geologists, with libations at a local watering hole before we travel back to Flagstaff.

Elevation & Distance: 4 miles, 2500 ascent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 1.5 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 Kanab, Utah and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Kanab. You will want to fly into St. George or Las Vegas. 

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, or Arizona Red Rocks Adventure

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time.