By Michael Lanza

“The best backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon.”

That was what a longtime backcountry ranger I’ve interviewed in the past, who’s hiked every mile of trail in the park, told me about the 74-mile hike from the South Kaibab Trailhead to the Tanner Trailhead, including the Escalante Route and Beamer Trail. That assertion had struck me as bold and debatable when I first read those words in an email from him—given the magnificence of any Big Ditch hike. But then I backpacked it and had to agree with him. I think you’ll see why in the photos below.

Having now taken several of the Grand Canyon’s premier backpacking trips and long dayhikes while running this blog and as a field editor for Backpacker magazine for many years, including hiking rim-to-rim-to-rim in a day and over two days (see links to my stories about those trips below the photo gallery), I have found that each of those adventures has a character all its own.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Backpackers on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.
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