Backpack from the Grand Canyon's Cremation Canyon to Utah Flats

South Kaibab Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Gregg Boydston

Backpacking to Utah Flats is special because it is an under-visited part of the park. The only people we could see from camp were those who were across the canyon hiking down at night with headlamps. The park only hands out 2 permits to this area at a time. This trip offers excellent views for sunrise and sunset and plenty of caves, cracks, and cliffs to explore. Be sure to bring a camera, the views are killer and you won't want to camp there without a camera.

Note: The spot on the map is the beginning of the hike into Cremation Canyon Campground. For the full report on getting there, check out this adventure.

Heading out of the campsite at Cremation Canyon, look for hints of a trail where you will scramble up, following other boot prints and cairns that lead the way. Head up through a saddle and look for Piano Alley (giant rocks that have rolled down the drainage from Utah Flats). Scramble up Piano Alley and work your way up the canyon until you pop out up on top of Utah Flats. You are able to set up camp anywhere up on this bluff but we chose to go to the east side of the drainage where we had a nice view up river and overlooking Phantom Ranch. There were plenty of cracks, crevices, puddles, and cliffs to explore up here...not to mentions the killer sunset and sunrises.

Our choice to exit the area consisted of taking the same route back down which took about an hour and a half to get back to Phantom Ranch followed by taking the South Kaibab trail back out to the rim. See Backpack to Cremation Canyon for more info on the exit.

The woman at the back country office was pretty against us doing this due to the difficulty and unmarked trails. So be prepared to scrambled, slip, and slide, but trust me...it’s worth it.

Distance

4 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2527 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Food Nearby
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Grand Canyon / Williams KOA

Williams, Arizona

From $20/night

Big Sky Retreat Campsite

Williams, Arizona

Flagstaff KOA

Flagstaff, Arizona

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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