Autumn in Grand Canyon Country

Autumn is one of the best times to visit the Grand Canyon. Crowds have dissipated, and so has the heat.

Autumn color and Grand Canyon are probably an association that many might not make, but that is because most folks who have visited Grand Canyon do so at the South Rim where fall colors are indeed a bit sparse.

Grand Canyon just so happens to be ‘home’ for Backcountry Journeys, and our photo guides are intimately aware of the mysteries of the Canyon having a combined 29 years of experience working in-and-around Grand Canyon. So, for us, who are in the know, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is an OUTSTANDING location for autumn colors, like Quaking Aspen and Canyon Maple which paint the landscape into a palette of yellows, reds, greens and even whites. A classic autumn landscape on its own, yet combined with the grandeur of the Grand Canyon this is a spectacle to behold. This scene simply cannot be missed by landscape photographers, especially those with an affinity for the high desert of our country’s desert southwest.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon sits only 10 miles across the great chasm from the South Rim, yet hosts an entirely different life zone as it towers roughly 1,000 feet above the south side. Here resides a delicate spruce-fir forest, characterized by spruce, fir, aspen, and canyon maple among other trees. The aspen certainly is the major draw here, as the gold and red leaves contrast well with their glowing white trunks, the greens of the neighboring fir and spruce, as well as the blue of the sky, is remarkable.

But, this trip is not only Grand Canyon! We’ll visit many of the most iconic locations in the American Southwest, including Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon X, and Lake Powell along the way!

Join Backcountry Journeys for an incredible seven-day lodge-based photography tour of northern Arizona’s Grand Canyon country during the colorful autumn season. This landscape photography oriented expedition will put you and your lens in front of the most iconic and spectacular locations the desert Southwest has to offer, at a time when autumn foliage at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim is in full swing. Join Backcountry Journeys this fall and photograph the Grand Canyon from its ‘best’ side, during its most colorful season!

Our first day will take us to one of the most famous landscapes in the entire desert southwest, Monument Valley. Here buttes, mesas, and other rock features dot the landscape in a most memorable and photogenic manner. This location is at the top of every landscape photographer’s list.

The next two days of this photography tour will be spent visiting locations around Page, Arizona. Famed locations like Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell will be the subjects of our compositions.

Moving on from Page we will travel to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim where we’ll spend the remainder of the trip amongst the beautiful fall colors of the Canyon maple and Quaking aspen. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and will live up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places on the planet.

Aside from the fun, you’ll experience with your fellow photographers you’ll leave this trip with a new understanding of the rich natural and cultural history, in addition to a highly expanded portfolio of excellent images and a wealth of memories. Join us today for the trip of a lifetime through Grand Canyon Country.


  • Best Season for fall colors & night skies
  • Grand Canyon’s North Rim
  • Slot Canyons
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Monument Valley & the Mittens
  • Small Groups
  • Great lodging included
  • Top-notch meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Autumn in Grand Canyon Country

7 Days

Price: from $3795 double occupancy

+$700 single occupancy

Deposit: $1000

Fitness Level: Easy. Standard Trip with light walks

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 6 nights lodging

Fly In/Out: Flagstaff, Arizona

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time


*trip difficulty ratings

*Backcountry Journeys is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service

Trip Details

Physical Requirements 
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to walk a day-pack.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Our first night will be in Flagstaff, Arizona and then we will be staying on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and in Page, Arizona.

Most meals are included during the trip dates and we typically eat at park lodges in the evening as well as a hand picked local restaurants. We often do snacks on the trail and then return for a late breakfast during photography trips as we are often out early to capture the morning light.

Expect warm days with cooler mornings and nights. Remember some of the best photographs are made before, during and immediately after a storm cycle. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Most Meals, ground transportation to/from and within Grand Canyon National Park, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Departure City
Flagstaff, Arizona


Please note: This is a “standard” tour and while not technically a ‘hiker’ trip there are a few very short hikes on the trip that are optional. For Horseshoe Bend participants will need to be able to hike 1.5 miles (round-trip) on a short, steep trail through sandy and uneven rocky terrain.

Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1 (Travel Day) (D)

Arrive in Flagstaff, Arizona this evening for orientation. We’ll visit a local restaurant for dinner.

Day 2 (B,L,D)

After a morning fall colors shot near Flagstaff, we’ll break before making our way north and east towards Monument Valley. Monument Valley has been popularized in many movies and photographs and is one of the truly iconic locations in the American Southwest. The magnificent landscape is dotted with eye-pleasing sandstone mesas, buttes and other curious rock features. Your guide will take you to the perfect location in order to capture the setting sun over this most famous of western landscapes.

Day 3 (B,L,D)
We’ll make sure to capture Monument Valley again this morning before relocating a few hours down the road to Page, Arizona, where we’ll spend the next two nights of this trip. We’ll check in to our hotel and get prepared for an evening shoot from an exceptional viewpoint overlooking glassy, Lake Powell. This reservoir is world-famous for its massive and curious shoreline as well as its colorful sandstone rock formations. We’ll be shooting from a location not well known to most visitors.

Day 4 (B,D)
Today we’ll head to Antelope Canyon X, a stunning slot canyon every bit as amazing as Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, without the overwhelming crowds of tourists. Here we’ll find a photographer-friendly slot canyon where we’ll fully emerge ourselves, and our cameras, in the magic of the towering glowing sandstone walls.

Day 5 (B,L,D)
This morning we will position ourselves for sunrise at the hugely famous Horseshoe Bend. This unique “meander” of the Colorado River has inspired photographers for years and we’ll catch it when its at its best time for photography. Following our shoot, we’ll have breakfast and break before departing Page for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We’ll have roughly two to three hours of driving, with opportunities to shoot glowing golden aspen stands along the way. Upon arriving, we’ll check in to our rustic cabins that sit just a stone’s throw from the Canyon’s rim! The North Rim Lodge, built in 1936, is designated as a National Historic Landmark and offers a beautiful patio that is perched on the rim of the Canyon, perfect for viewing, relaxing, and/or photographing from. We’ll soak up the grandeur of our first Canyon sunset from Cape Royal, one of the Canyon’s best views! After our shoot we’ll return to the lodge for a fantastic dinner before heading back to our cozy cabins, which are nestled amongst the tall pines.

Day 6 (B,D)
This morning we’ll take advantage of having our accommodations so close to such a wonderful vantage point on the Canyon’s rim. We’ll have only a short walk to our shooting location, with the option to shoot sunrise from either the lodge patio, or along a short trail towards Bright Angel Point. After breakfast we’ll take a late morning drive through the neighboring aspen forest so as to capture as much of the brilliant autumn foliage as we can. Our dirt “road” through the forest is lined by the glorious aspen tree that has become synonymous with autumn in this part of the country. We’ll find pleasing compositions utilizing the magnificent contrast between the aspen’s white trunk, gold, and red leaves, the green of neighboring coniferous and the blue of the sky. At the end of this road, we’ll be rewarded with an inspirational vantage point of the Grand Canyon that few people see. This evening we’ll soak up the grandeur of the Canyon from Cape Royal, one of the Canyon’s best views and our final sunset shot together! After our shoot we’ll return to the lodge for a fantastic dinner before turning in for a night of rest inside our cozy cabins, nestled amongst the tall Ponderosa pines.

Day 7 (B)
On our final morning together we’ll photograph a glorious sunrise at Point Imperial. At 8,803 feet above sea-level, Point Imperial is the highest accessible overlook of the Canyon, offering views of Marble Canyon, Mt. Hayden, the Little Colorado River Gorge as well as the Painted Desert of Navajo Nation. Your guide will go over some of the intricacies of capturing desert sunrise shots, and then we’ll head in for breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast, we’ll check out of our cabins and begin the drive through the desert and back to Flagstaff, complete with amazing memories and many wonderful images of our time in Grand Canyon Country.

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena. 

“Wonderful trip to a beautiful place! This is my third Backcountry Journeys trip and each trip is better than the last. This was the first trip I took with Matt and Chris and they were terrific. Also, this a new format – non hiker – which worked out great. I missed nothing in the opportunities to take fabulous photos.”

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