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The Simply Fit Diet
South Kaibab Trail Guide.

The best way to hike South Kaibab Trail,
from my point of view, is from the bottom
to the top, having first come down Bright
Angel Trail.  My reasons for this are
here.  In short, South Kaibab Trail
is steeper, higher, more exposed, and
lacks water, when compared to Bright
Angel Trail.

However, if you chose to tackle it, here is
my trial guide, starting from the Colorado
River and ending at the top.

The trip from Phantom Ranch/Bright
Angel Campground is a pleasant, almost
level stroll along Bright Angel Creek,
then branching off to the Black Bridge.  
The National Park Service records this
distance as .7 miles, but it seems much
shorter to me.

After crossing the Colorado River on the
Black Bridge, you go through a short
tunnel (no flashlights needed) and then
start a sharp ascent up to the Tonto
Plateau.  On
Bright Angel Trail, you do
the ascent over a 3.2 mile hike, but on
South Kaibab Trail, it takes about 2
miles.  A few steps past the Black Bridge,
you pass the intersection with
The River
Trail. Past the tunnel, South Kaibab Trail
is immediately steep and strenuous.  In
cool weather you will find yourself down
to your bottom layers of clothes in a short
time, and when it is warm, you will heat
up quickly.  As you reach the Tonto
Plateau, the trail straightens, running
through red volcanic appearing rubble,
before reaching the Tip Off.  The Tip Off
has an emergency phone and pit toilets,
but no water (there is no water available
anywhere along the South Kaibab Trail
except at the trailhead
[except Winter
and at Bright Angel
Campground/Phantom Ranch.  Also
please be prepared to be exposed to the
sun and the wind for your entire hike on
South Kaibab).  Just past the Tip Off is
the connection with the
Tonto Trail that
connects with the Bright Angel Trail 4.6
miles to the West.

Continuing up the South Kaibab Trail
from the Tip Off, the trail is relatively
straight for a time, then ascends a
dramatic series of switch backs (the zig-
zags) characterized by a steep ascent
and large step-ups.  If you have not yet
been sweating on the trail you will likely
start here.  Toward the top of the zig-
zags is a silver metal sign designating
that you are about half way to the top.

After another somewhat straight trail
across a ridge, you arrive at the
ominously named Skeleton Point–a
distance of 4 miles from Phantom
Ranch/Bright Angel Campground and
still 3 miles from the rim.  Skeleton Point
has no toilets or emergency phone.

From Skeleton Point you continue up a
relatively straight, moderate ascent for
1.5 miles to Cedar Ridge, which has
composting toilets, but no emergency
phone.  From Cedar Ridge you begin the
final ascent of 1.5 miles to the rim,
passing on the way, Ooh-Aah Point (.9
miles from the rim), where many rim
hikers congregate to view the canyon
before heading back to the bus.

The ascent steepens as you reach the
rim, capped by a shaded set of
switchbacks that are icy in Winter
months, before reaching the trailhead,
and the bus stop that takes you back to
your destination.  Depending on your
starting point, you must first take the
Orange Bus Route to Yaki Point, before
heading back to the Visitor’s Center,
then transfer to the Blue Route to get
back to the Rim Lodges, about a total 45
minute trip on average (all bus rides are
free of charge.)  Or, if you are particularly
energetic, you can walk the rim route the
4.9 miles back to the Grand Canyon
Village.  Good hiking to you.
All original contents copyright  2017.
South Kaibab tunnel past Black Bridge.
Tonto trail west just past the Tip Off.
Early morning on South Kaibab Trail near the Tip Off.
The half-way sign on South Kaibab Trail.
The zig-zags are a steep ascent on South Kaibab Trail.
South Kaibab Trail has large step-ups and step-downs.
South Kaibab Trail is steep and can be icy in Winter near the trailhead.
The view near Ooh-Aah Point on South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.