Note: This post contains affiliate links. Elevation profile of the hike. When To Go: This can be done year round, however, summer is the worst time to do this hike. Temperatures can average 10 to 20 degrees warmer here than on the rim. It is possible to do it as one mega day hike if you are extremely fit and fast. From Indian Garden, it is just 4.8 miles to the rim. The first milestone on the trail is Ooh Ahh point at 6,660 feet and 0.9 miles from the trailhead, offering a sample of the spectacular panoramas yet to come. There is parking on Desert View Drive, near Pipe Creek Vista. That gave us about 10 hours of daylight. Endless routes for exploration. Plan on taking twice as long to hike up as it took to hike down. I used microspikes as I approached Bright Angel. Required fields are marked *. The second article covers the logistics such as what to pack, how to train, how to arrange the shuttle, doing the hike in one day or in multiple days, and more. The Best Winter Adventures in North America. This will give you the maximum amount of daylight. (pictured: prAna Stretch Zion Pants) We got our first nice view of the Colorado River when we reached Panorama Point, which around the 5 mile mark just past the “tip-off” area on the South Kaibab Trail. The trail then turns south into the Pipe Creek drainage, leaving the rushing Colorado River behind. The first section of the South Kaibab Trail is the steepest and most strenuous. I did not do this but I think it would help a lot, especially during the final three miles of the Bright Angel Trail. Distance: 9.5 miles It’s about nourishment and learning. By this point, my legs were starting to feel fatigued. I know how hard it is to get that. Julie Last updated: December 9, 2020 United States 55 Comments. During the summer months, this early starts allows you to hike a portion of the trail before temperatures really heat up. Bright Angel Campground:  2480 feet, 7 miles. Approximately 0.5 miles from The Tipoff is the amazing Big Pan overlook that is also known as Panorama Point. It’s one of the best trails to hike for views, adventure, and to gain a tremendous appreciation for the size and grandeur of the Canyon. We started 6,30 on S. Kaibab and arrived at Phantom Ranch at 10,30. The South Kaibab Trail is red and the Bright Angel Trail is blue. Located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, this hike is a must for any hikers bucket list! At the end of the hike, my Garmin watch told me that I just climbed 899 floors. Find out what we carry in our day packs and what we wear on the trails. You could park closer, in the main lot near the Visitor Center. There are also restrooms and access to water along the way, so many people choose to hike up the Bright Angel Trail for these reasons. Grade soon levels out and traverses northward below the towering rim wall of Yaki Point. There is no water along the trail (except at the very beginning and end), and little shade. Bright Angel also has potable water at 1.5 miles, South Kaibab does not. There are no potable water sources on the South Kaibab Trail, and some of the water on the Bright Angel Trail is only available seasonally. And finally, snow closes the road to the North Rim for half of the year, so there is just a short window of time that you can get to the North Rim by car. It took me just over 9 hours, starting at South Kaibab trailhead at 6:30 a.m. Overnight options in this area of the canyon floor are limited to the Bright Angel Campground and the historic Phantom Ranch. ), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited. The morning started off cold, with temperatures in the teens. Don’t be one of these statistics! This is a true test of your endurance and you need to come prepared. Elevation Loss:  4780 feet The Grand Canyon is among these, and so much more. But with less elevation gain over a longer distance, it is slightly less strenuous than the South Kaibab Trail. At this point, the trail turns away from the river and now the real fun begins. Sure, walking downhill can be fast, but it really does tire out your legs. Bright Angel is more of a "ramp" near the top, so most will find is easier to walk, rather than the "steps" built into South Kaibab. Before we go any farther, you should know that the National Park Service does not recommend doing this as a day hike. The views keep changing as you hike to Skeleton Point. You can hike these trails in either order, but there are several good reasons to hike down the South Kaibab Trail and up the Bright Angel Trail. Bright Angel Trailhead: elevation 6,860 feet (2,093 m) Elevation Change Mileage Change . South Kaibab drops 1,100 feet in the first 1.5 miles while Bright Angel drops 1,000 feet in the same distance. Be Prepared: No water on South Kaibab Trail. From here, it is roughly a half-mile walk to get to the trailhead. About Our Experience The final three miles is killer. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. Additionally, the steepness of the trail is very misleading on the way down. However, when people refer to the rim-to-rim hike, they are referring to the North Rim to South Rim hike. Hikers seeking panoramic views unparalleled on any other trail at Grand Canyon will want to consider a hike down the South Kaibab Trail. You should be able to walk 10 miles while wearing a backpack with little difficulty. Congrats on the hike! to read our Guide to Grand Canyon National Park. However, the rooms are clean and quiet and fit our needs. Did we miss anything? Honestly, I struggled to keep up with him. If you are hiking the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail in one day, you need to be a very fit and fast hiker. The Bright Angel Trail is longer than the South Kaibab Trail. And isn’t this just the best name for a viewpoint? Author: 12 News, Colleen Sikora Published: 6:52 AM … Since it is all down hill, it is easy to keep a fast pace. In the summer, the canyon floor is sweltering, even if rim conditions are less extreme. After the bridge crossing, turn right @ the T-intersection (trail on the left leads to South Kaibab Trail). Bright Angel Trail . 3 hours from trailhead to the Colorado River. Cheers, Julie, The closest place to park, that I know of, is along Desert View Drive before you get to Yaki Point Road. Starting elevation: 2480 feet There are no technical sections and the trail is so well marked that it would be almost impossible to lose your way, but it helps to have experience doing big climbs and big descents. You cannot drive to the trailhead. Bridge hikes are equal parts heart-stopping and breathtaking, and South Kaibab Trail is no exception. Bright Angel trail: 4,360 ft ascent, 9.5 miles. You need a hearty sandwich for when you get to Phantom Ranch for the hike out on Bright Angel. We only brought snacks, and on the last two miles of switchbacks I was starting to really fatigue from lack of real food. Have a great hike! You need to be prepared for lots of elevation change and if you are doing this from May to September, you also need to be prepared to hike in temperatures reaching over 100°F. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you. If there is no shuttle running, you could rent bikes and bike to the trailhead in the morning or back to your car at the end of the hike (but then you would need to lock them up…there is a way to do this because we met a couple who used bikes to get from trailhead to trailhead). Thank you so much for this information, it is extremely helpful. Those same muscles now have to get you back up to the rim. Julie – thanks for a wonderfully detailed itinerary! One-of-a-kind landscape. The trail proceeds to Cedar Ridge, where you can find vault toilets, before passing below the east wall of O'Neill Butte and descending to Skeleton Point at 5,220 feet and 3 miles from the trailhead. My wife and I did this hike on 29 September. Cheers, Julie. The Tip-Off is located on the Tonto Plateau. Crowds will be low (aside from the days around Thanksgiving). Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. This gives you a full day of sunlight (which is quite brief during the winter months) to complete the hike. Tiffany – For 3.2 miles the trail leads over varied terrain that includes an abandoned mine and a switchbacks known as the Devil's Corkscrew before reaching Indian Garden Campground, where you'll find toilets and water. It took us two and a half hours to hike to the Bright Angel Campground. This long yet overwhelmingly rewarding trek leads through some of the Grand Canyon’s least-traveled areas and offers unparalleled views. It’s cool but not too cold. The South Kaibab Trail is the second most popular trail after the Bright Angel. Cheers, Julie, Your email address will not be published. Read more. Winter is very pleasant but snow can make the trails slippery and dangerous. There is potable water on the Bright Angel Trail but I have heard that it is not always available. South Kaibab Trail shows you the sights of Grand Canyon National Park that you longed to see when you planned your trip here. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, California. The South Kaibab Trail is red and the Bright Angel Trail is blue. If you are planning to do it soon, check the NPS website because the shuttle might not be in operation because of Covid (although this can change). While hiking, I had instant access to all kinds of numbers like altitude, heart rate, time and distance. I also swim and bike several days a week. My bucket list stay at Phantom Ranch this May was cancelled due to Covid – so bummed. Although steeply graded, this section of the trail also has quite a bit of shade that provides some relief from the sun in warmer months but can generate additional difficulty in winter due to lingering ice. If you plan to do this hike, you need to be in great physical shape. When you encounter a mule train, yield the right of way, stand to the inside of the trail, and follow the instructions from the mule guide. You have to descend a series of switchbacks again, but the sweeping views across the Grand Canyon are some of the best of the day. Tyler and I were dropped off right where Yaki Point Road meets Desert View Road, and I think it was a 3/4 mile walk, and you would do about the same from the small parking lot on Desert View Road. As displayed in the map overview below, the Rim to River trek classically descends on the South Kaibab Trail all the way to the Colorado River for 6.3 miles, goes along the Colorado River for almost 2 miles, then re-ascends the Bright Angel Trail for almost 8 miles. However, for most the year, the river is usually brown from sediment in the water. 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Along the South Kaibab Trail approaching the “tip-off” at the 4.5 mile mark. I hope this helps. We never got hot and we didn’t sweat very much, which meant that our demands for water were low. The best months to do this are in the Spring and Fall. Snacks are not enough. When to Hike the Grand Canyon This final push will terminate at the Bright Angel Trailhead on the western side of Grand Canyon Village, very near Kolb Studio. If camping, do so at the Bright Angel Campground, though a backcountry permit is required. Also, all of your photos, posts and detailed info are perfect. Book your tickets online for South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park: See 1,677 reviews, articles, and 1,516 photos of South Kaibab Trail, ranked No.2 on Tripadvisor among 82 attractions in Grand Canyon National Park. If you are new to hiking or are curious about what you should bring on a hike, check out our Hiking Gear Guide. Our original plan was to do this hike on Christmas day as a family. I hope everything works out with the shuttle. It’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. You are a travel Super Hero!!! A series of steep switchbacks begin immediately after Skeleton Point, offering the most extreme exposure found on this route. The views are great all long the South Kaibab Trail but Ooh Aah Point gives you your first panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. From the River Resthouse to Indian Garden, it is a 3.2-mile walk. However, the views from the South Kaibab Trail are so spectacular that we stopped a lot for photos. In 2017, we hiked Half Dome in Yosemite as a day hike. Thanks in advance! With less elevation gain and a slightly longer trail, the hike up Bright Angel is easier than South Kaibab. Length of Time: Usually done as a two day backpacking trip. But not Tyler. Definitely a must for any visitor to the Grand Canyon. There are also a lot of people so be patient as you hike out and back. Since it is a lot for the viewpoint. I also recommend spending some time on a Stairmaster. If you are doing this during the warmer months, you will need to carry every drop of water with you if you plan to hike up the South Kaibab Trail. We believe good things come from people spending time outside. Mules played an invaluable role in the history of the canyon, and they remain important today. Indian Garden:  3800 feet, 4.7 miles It's difficult to articulate the feeling of first laying eyes on this cavernous abyss high on the Colorado Plateau. Skeleton Point:  5200 feet, 3 miles As a reference, there are 5,280 feet in one mile. We took the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. Here are their elevations and distances from the South Kaibab Trailhead. The south rim-to-rim hike has several advantages that make it a nice option for many people. During this adventure it snowed on the rim while the weather at the floor was exceedingly comfortable, with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees. We planned on hiking all the way to Skeleton Point and back. It’s a massive hike, 23.5 miles in length, that crosses the Grand Canyon from one side to the other. However, there is something very special about starting on the rim, hiking down to the Colorado River, and then working your way back up to the rim. If you hike the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail (or vice versa) you are also hiking rim-to-rim, since you start on the rim, hike to the Colorado River, and then hike back up to the rim. For more information about Grand Canyon National Park. It is also frequently billed as the most scenic of the south rim trails, making it an ideal descent route. A 23-year-old Arizona man died after plunging 80 feet off a trail at the Grand Canyon, authorities said. The Tonto Trail intersects the South Kaibab Trail at this point. This is not a good hike for beginners since it covers such a long distance with so much elevation change. We plan to try this November 2 and we were going to try the hikers express shuttle from the backcountry office but are very concerned about not being able to fit on one of the 3 shuttles each morning as that will only be 45 people. Date of experience: November 2020. Hello Dana. Jaiquan Carter, of Phoenix, was hiking along the South Kaibab Trail above the Black Bridge at the famed national park early Tuesday when he fell to his death, the National Park Service said. Both have toilets at 1.5 miles. Another series of switchbacks takes you from the Tonto Plateau to the Colorado River. 1.5 hours including stop at the Ranch canteen. Your email address will not be published. I wrote up my own trip report for this hike and included a bunch of pictures. Phoenix man dies while hiking the Grand Canyon Jai'quan Carter was hiking the South Kaibab Trail when it's believe he fell and died. For one thing, it’s a heck of a lot shorter…7 miles shorter. As much as I was not looking forward to the massive climb, by the time we got to the Colorado River, I was thrilled to not be walking downhill anymore. Thanks for sharing this! Before doing this hike, I was doing long runs of 8 miles with shorter runs during the week. You’re welcome! The trail departs near Yaki Point at an elevation of 7,260 feet and immediately descends through a series of tight switchbacks known as The Chimney. I know you mentioned having someone be able to drop you off, so I’m assuming they picked you up as well, but thought you might have information about this. I don’t think taxis or ubers are a possibility here. Planning a trip to Grand Canyon this July 23 and hiker shuttle buses still aren’t operating My daughter and I are staying at the Kachina Lodge and I am open to any suggestions on how to get to the South Kaibab trailhead if busses aren’t running and parking is limited. During the winter months, the river can be a brilliant green, like you see in these photos. But I do recommend making sure you are allowed to leave your car there all day. From the rim to the Colorado River, it is essentially a downhill walk the entire the way. What makes hiking the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail so hard is the elevation profile. Head up the well signposted trail to the canteen at Phantom Ranch to grab a snack or a cold drink (with ice! © 2020 Outdoor Project. Tips to Have the Best Experience I’m so sorry to hear that your Phantom Ranch reservation was cancelled. I did the hike this past week, when temps were cool. Pro Travel Tip: If you are doing this hike in the winter months, be prepared for ice on the trail. Once at Indian Garden, you have access to potable water and restrooms. Yes, there are park shuttles that connect these two places. However, Kara was recovering from an injury so she had to sit this one out. There is no potable water on the South Kaibab Trail. By now, you have already started winding your way up the switchbacks. Grand Canyon National Park officials said 23-year-old Jaiquan Carter was hiking along the South Kaibab Trail when he fell. Length of Time: 5 to 8 hours. This was a tough hike but very doable. Conditions: Reserva South Kaibab Trail, Parque Nacional del Gran Cañón en Tripadvisor: Consulta 1.676 opiniones, artículos, y 1.509 fotos de South Kaibab Trail, clasificada en Tripadvisor en el N.°3 de 82 atracciones en Parque Nacional del Gran Cañón. We enjoyed a slight dip in temperatures for that time of year, with a high of only 31 C. I would just like to add that you should bring more food than this blog lists. Our fastest section was on the Bright Angel Trail along the Colorado River and up to Indian Garden. Ahead, the brownish-grey dirt trail transitions to a reddish color. Distance: 16.5 miles He was still smiling and full of energy. By continuing to browse this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Curious about what it is like to hike rim-to-rim? Temperatures can soar, and with the heat, this can be a dangerous hike. It looks nearly impossible to hike up it. For one mile, a series of steep switchbacks descend below the level of the rim. Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Unfortunately I parked at the visitors center and there wasn’t a shuttle from BA so I had to do an extra 3 miles to my car you were SO right about starting at South Kaibab. The trailhead is located near Yaki Point. Note that just prior to The Tipoff you'll find the east-west junction with the Tonto Trail, and beyond The Tipoff the trail leads behind the Tonto Plateau and descends into the inner gorge of the canyon following the route of the earlier Cable Trail that was built it 1907. 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