Getting to the Inner Canyon
Foot, mule, or boat—those are your choices for exploring the Inner Canyon. Backpacking and hiking excursions will originate from river or either the South Rim or the North Rim. Mule trips begin from the South Rim year-round, and from the North Rim during summer months.
Most white-water raft trips put in at Lees Ferry on Grand Canyon’s eastern end. If these options seem limited, well, that’s what makes a trip inside Grand Canyon rare and special.
For those planning rim-to-rim hikes, the Trans Canyon Shuttle (928/638-2820, www.trans-canyonshuttle.com) offers daily round-trip van service between the North Rim and South Rim ($80 one way, $150 round-trip), making a stop in the Marble Canyon area near Lees Ferry.
River shuttles from Flagstaff and other locations are usually provided by commercial outfitters. Those planning a private river trip have a number of options for shuttling vehicles or people with the help of companies offering private trip support. Most private trip support companies are located in Flagstaff.
Backpackers and river runners can arrange for a mule duffel to move their gear between Phantom Ranch and Grand Canyon Village. There’s a weight limit of 30 pounds, and fees run about $70 one-way. For details or reservations, contact Xanterra (303/297-3175 or 800/297-2757, www.grandcanyonlodges.com).
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition