Explore September Trip - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hard trail down. beautiful views
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Amazing

hiking
6 days ago

Did this trail on 9th Jan 2019. From Trailhead to just before mesa was covered in snow making the initial descent, and subsequent ascent slower than usual. But holy smokes the trail has great views all round. I'd recommend following the ridge line past the trail which descends from mesa towards teton for more amazing views. Some intersections weren't particularly obvious so take care not to wonder off track...

During my day hike I didn't see a single soul on the trail, making it even more memorable!

hiking
10 days ago

Stunning hike. Our first Grand Canyon hike, and could not have asked for a better introduction to the park. Completed in late December 2018 during the shutdown. We started early, around 8:30, and it took us 6.5 hours to do about 9.5 miles down to Horseshoe Mesa, with a lunch stop on the Mesa itself. Crampons were 100% necessary for the first .75 miles or so, as there was a thick coating of ice, and you do NOT want to be unsure of your step on the early sections of this trail. Oh yeah, and then there’s the steepness. Others have said it, I didn’t believe it, but this thing is S-T-E-E-P. Bring hiking poles and a spare set of knees.

That being said, it has some of the most breathtaking, unobstructed, exposed views of the canyon I could imagine, and was our favorite of the 3 trails we did over 3 days. It doesn’t have quite as much variation as something like the Hermit Trail, but the sheer exposure along the entire trail makes up for it. Add that to the fact that we saw 2 other people the entire 6 hour hike and this is truly one of the most breathtaking experiences imaginable. It was quite chilly at the top (~15F), but in the canyon it warmed up quickly- make sure you layer! 100% a recommended hike, especially in the winter!

Awesome hike! Especially if you’re looking to get far, far away from tourists. We did this back in September and were only visiting for the day, so we didn’t have time to do the full trail and camp at the bottom. So, instead we just hiked down for a while, then hiked back up. We didn’t see a single other person, but we did see a bighorn sheep! The scenery was stunning and the hike felt like you were living on the edge, literally. We packed plenty of water and snacks, wore sunscreen. In other words, we were prepared. Going down was fairly easy, and hiking back up wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Just remember, what goes down, must come up! If you’re not in the best of shape, or if you don’t have good knees, this hike probably isn’t for you. Otherwise, go do it, it’s awesome! I’d definitely go back and camp at the bottom when I have more time!

Conquered this on Christmas Day as we gambled with the weather the whole hike. With 75% chance of snow in the afternoon we wanted to start as early as possible. The Government shutdown didn't affect any of our trip! Since we stayed at the Yavapai Lodge the night before we left our vehicle at the market place parking lot and took the blue line shuttle to the visitor center to catch the orange line shuttle to south kaibabe trail head. Since both buses start at 5am we got on the bus at 615 and hit the trailhead at 645am in the dark with headlamps. We are avid hikers 36 & 46. We got down to the river to have lunch by 930am ate lunch for 25min and headed back up bright angel. We finished at 130pm. Luckily we had perfect weather, as in we didn't get snowed or rained on. Since we started so early we used headlamps for the first few miles as we watched the sunrise. It was 29 degrees when we started so we had three layers on top and two on bottom. We shed the extra bottom layer at the tipoff restroom which one of three of those stalls were open to use but bring ur own TP. The temps increased a little as we made it to the river to eat lunch near the Bright angel restroom which were nice and refilled water here to. We headed back up and the last 7 miles were the longest as your climbing switch backs and lots of steps. We ended up shedding the top two layers as we climbed up as it was a full workout from there on up. Lots of great views with great photo ops. The temps dropped to 20 with wind the last 1.5 miles and as we finished it was flurrying as we got to the lodge for lunch to enjoy pizza and beer. We brought yak-treks as there were a few ice spots going down in the dark and a half a mile of ice towards the top of bright angel. We didn't have to put them on but glad we had them in tow just in case. We both wore ultimate design packs which are light weight. We each had a 1.5L bladder and 2 17oz. Collapsible bottles filled with tailwind and water to replenish the salt and electrolytes. We only needed to refill at the bottom of the canyon one of our bottles. Since it was so cold out we didn't sweat as much but we made sure we were drinking. We traveled light as we trail ran most of the flat spots where we could. Hiking poles were a must and kept the circulation going. We finished in 6hrs. & 45 min. We took the blue shuttle to the Maswik Lodge for lunch then took the blue line again back to our vehicle.

Just knocked out this trek today with my wife, great views! Started at 0730 this morning and got down to the river at 1045 after my wife took 2,000 photos. 30ish min break by the water eating and started trek’n back up at 12 and finished at 4pm. We did not use hiking poles and had no issue but my wife was concerned after reading other reviews, would definitely help, but not required. This trek might be more challenging in the summer or extreme heat but we had no issues and it is not one to miss. We live in Florida and are active 34-35yo adults who hike all over the world but did not train for this hike to give you an idea of our fitness level.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike and definitely recommended for experienced hikers looking for a trail a bit off the beaten path. We did this hike in Dec 2018 and had the trail to ourselves. It was quite icy at the top, so crampons were definitely needed. Fantastic views through the trail. There are primitive campsites at Horshoe Mesa probably 3/4 of the way down. The real reward is the viewpoint at the very bottom where you are right in the middle of the canyon on an outcrop/Mesa with a true 360 view of the canyon. Absolutely stunning.

This was a very demanding hike and would not be recommended for someone with bad knees. In particular, the way down was brutal and slow (mostly because we went in December and it was quite icy). Mentally, it’s tough because the most physically exhausting part is the last 3-4 miles, as with any hike down into the canyon. However the views, particularly once you get to the bottom, are absolutely incredible.

We completed this hike in a little over 8 hours. We started at 8:30am hiked down to the Colorado River. We made it down by 12:00pm. The views on the way down are amazing! We stopped a few times for pictures and to take in the scenery. We did not go the whole way up to Phantom Ranch, we just went straight onto the Bright Angel Trail. The weather was great towards the bottom, I started out with a thermal, sweatshirt, vest and jacket with leggings and sweatpants. Through the first part I ended up taking off my jacket and then my sweatshirt. Before we hiked back up I took off my sweatpants. The hike up was pretty steep. We finished the second part of the hike by 4:15pm. We hiked just about 16.75 miles in one day. This is not recommended, however we were determined! We weren’t too prepared either because we did not expect to do that. But it was very rewarding when we finished! Once we starting getting closer to the top it became colder and I had to put some of my layers back on. Definitely a breathtaking experience!

Beautiful hike. Parked near Bright Angel two shuttles Blue then Orange to trailhead. Started down Kaibab at 5pm early July a little cooler made it to Indian Gardens at dark. Tonto trail not difficult but much less traveled vs Kaibab or Bright Angel. There are campsites there but had good headlamp spare batteries no trouble following Bright Angel to top. Water available at Indian Gardens. Tough climb up total time about 7 hours showing closer to 15 miles. Can't emphasize enough take extra water! Stay safe.

Did this today...it’s a butt kicker! The park service does not recommend doing this in one day, but we like to torture ourselves. Took the hiker shuttle to the trail head at 7 am, started hiking about 7:30. We stopped at all the rest areas briefly and had lunch on the river. It was amazing. Freezing on the rim with some ice on the trails for a bit, but basically a warm fall day at the bottom. Indian Garden had water still. There are also rock springs all over. We finished at 4:30, stopping frequently along the last 3 miles, they were killer. :)

Did this on 11/18 and it took us about 10 hours (7:30-5:30). We took many breaks for pictures and had a 30 minute lunch by the river. We parked our car at the trailhead of bright angel and took the hiker express shuttle to South Kaibab. The hiker express times differ from month to month so check on the Grand Canyon website. I highly recommend having poles similar to what everyone else has previously mentioned. It is very taxing on the knees. There are also plenty of bathrooms/water stations along the way so no need to carry more than a 3L camelback. The last 3 miles are tough! We really pushed ourselves to make it up by dark. Definitely a bucket list adventure and I recommend it if you only have one day !! It came out to about 16 miles ish according to the website.

What a great hike, but a real butt-kicker if you do it in a day. Spectacular scenery!

Amazing bucket list hike! Did this hike in 9 hours on Nov 17, taking lots of photo and snack breaks. Views were breathtaking! Temperatures were good, stayed cool all day. Personally I loved the South Kaibab trail because there were less rocks (soft dirt makes it easier to hike down), less people, and more views from hiking on a ridge. Bright Angel was a great trail, but so crowded, rockier, and the switchbacks over the last 3 miles were difficult. We also stopped at Phantom Ranch for snacks. I would definitely do it again though!
Btw we recorded the hike and it clocked us at 17.3 miles and 5400’

I just put this together in google earth. Kind of gives you an idea of what the hike will be like.

https://youtu.be/ZYReyn6fWjY

Bucket list hike especially if done in 1 day. Wife and I did it on our 20th Anniversary and still talk about it a year later. Best views on the planet. September weather was perfect.

Strenuous, gorgeous, intimidating and fulfilling.

Don't overpack and the last 3 miles on Bright Angel is the real test. Just completed this past weekend, 11/11/2018

Bright Angel to North Rim. Best manicured trails I have ever been on. Super easy and we hiked just over 30 miles in 4 nights. We took our time to enjoy as much as possible and go exploring for gold hahah!!. We were able to get 2 steak dinners and a breakfast for 6 of us by luck. Amazing! staff was amazing and the giant orb of death even in Oct was up to 80+ to 100 during the day. Be safe, eat and drink ALOT ALL DAY!!

Awe inspiring! Ideal conditions in early November and was able to complete this hike in 7 hours. Left the rim at 7:08 and arrived at Phantom Ranch about 10. Arrived back at the rim right at 2. Didn’t spend a lot of time in any one spot though I stopped frequently to take photos. My app indicated 17.1 miles - not sure where the 18.9 miles indicated on the trail map comes from.

Hiked down S Kaibab to Phantom Ranch a few days ago, took us 3 hours -we were slow and took time to take lots of pictures- then spent some time in the canteen of Phantom Ranch. Then we hiked up Bright Angel that same day. Took us 4.5 hours. We are two ladies; my friend is a super fit marathon runner and I’m a OK fit 39y.o who exercises regularly. We carried total of 3 liters water and some snacks.
If you want to do this in the same day, start early morning! You never know how long it will take you hiking up. Bring a headlamp in case you are still on the trail when it’s dark.

This hike was magical!

In the summertime water can be had at three locations on Bright Angel Trail. However on November 1, things switch over to wintertime conditions and there is water available only at Indian Gardens. I do not know when summertime conditions return in the spring, but one should check before doing this route.

It was lovely but demanding. Electrolytes, plenty of water and food are a must.

One of the most amazing (and hardest) experiences in my life. Did S. Kaibob - Phantom Ranch - back up Bright Angel in one day with my very fit husband and rockstar 75 year old very fit Dad in October of 2018.

We trained long and hard for this. Even so, my Dad almost didn’t make it. Make sure you are prepared for the length and duration of this hike.

The most beautiful scenes I’ve ever witnessed. The whole thing is breathtaking. Everyone was incredibly friendly.

Some tips.

1) don’t attempt this is a day unless you are in incredible shape. We passed many people who were in a bad way. My dad in the last 4 miles really struggled.

2) be prepared for extreme weather changes and temp changes. We went from parkas, to Tank tops, to spending our last few hours in the dark in 30 degree weather, pouring rain, and lightning/thunder. We had rain covers, had waterproof boots, but were still soaked to the bone. Stopping at this point wasn’t an option as our body temps would have dropped.

3) enjoy other hikers! I met so many amazing people who were from all over the world. We talked to rangers who knew the canyon like the back of their hand. We made friends at Phantom Ranch and on the trolley. Made friends from New Zealand. The people hiking the Grand Canyon were some of the coolest people. Take time to say hi and get to know them if you can.

4) drink tons, force yourself to eat even if you aren’t hungry.

5) parts of this are very steep. I highly suggest hiking boots with ankle support and trekking poles.

6) if you have bad knees, the downhill will be incredibly hard. I found myself depending on my trekking poles going back up since my knees were jacked from the downhill.

7) always take enough supplies with you to shelter in place for the night if you have an emergency.

8) have a support team or way to get to your car at the end of your hike. We parked in the back country lot to take the hikers express to the N. Kaibob. When we came back up the Bright Angel it was pitch black, 9:30 pm. No one was around. It was raining and we were soaked to the bone and temps were dropping to around 30 Fahrenheit. We had no idea where our car was or how to get there. We were too physically exhausted to make it there anyways. Thank GOD for a group of hikers crammed into a van that made standing room for us, drove us back to the lot and safely to our car. When we woke up the next morning in Williams, AZ, everything we covered in snow.

9) have headlamps! Use them and check your batteries. My dad’s wore out so three of we’re stuck with only mine. It’s incredible dark in the canyon at night and was much harder in pouring rain.

10) spectacular panoramic views on S Kaibob. Everyone says it’s harder. It’s certainly steeper at times. No water on this trail, but two restrooms on the way down I Believe.

11) Bright Angel was incredibly lush and beautiful in a different way. Many water crossings, water falls, and it is also Hard. The devils corkscrew and the last 3-4 miles were the hardest part of my whole day! There are several stops for water and restrooms on this hike.

Hiked this very trails with a friend and his son on October 27th, about 2 weeks from my 61st birthday and it was GREAT. Will make this as my annual ritual to cleanse both my body and soul.

Just as we arrived at the trailhead around 6:15 AM, we saw a packed shuttle pull in and the trailhead was already packed! When we started the descent at 6:26 AM, the air was chill and the temperature was around 34F but started warming up as we descended. Getting to Phantom ranch was reasonably good and we made it in about 3.5 hours. Once down at the ranch, I had a peanut jelly sandwich, half a bagel and half a glass of the "world famous lemonade". I wanted to make sure that I was nourished but not overloaded! And then we rested for about 45 minutes; particularly lay flat on the bench to give my back and legs some rest.

Hit the Bright Angels trail around 11AM. The trail to the Indian gardens was completely exposed to the sun and was hot; in complete contrast to what the Rim was like! Since I had left my cap in the car, I had to take a couple of breaks along the way wherever I could find good shade. The boulders that were in the shade were really cold and offered a way to cool down my glutes. The creek at the entrance of Indian gardens offered cold water to splash on my face and neck to help me cool down further. Arrived in Indian gardens around 1 PM and took a good 30+ minutes rest and hit the trail again around 2pm. Kept the pace all the way but made sure that I didn’t push myself to the point of exhaustion. Made it to the trailhead at 5:40pm.

Based on my past hiking experience, I planned to carry as little as possible in my camelback. Since water was still available along the trail, I carried no more than a liter of water between Indian gardens and 3 Mile Resthouse and 1.5 Mile Resthouse and the Rim. I consumed only about 0.75 liters between each of those waypoints since the trail was mostly in the shade.

Go hike this trail. You'd love it.

Awesome hike, pretty much all downhill till mile 9 and then 4.5 miles up bright angel to end your day. Despite what all trails says it being 12.4 I actually clocked it with gps at 14 miles exactly. 3,600+ elevation all at the end, be prepared. Took us (in shape for the most part) 7 hours from trailhead to trailhead. Hiked at the end of October and temps were topping out at 80. There’s is a small stream about 6.5 miles in if you had to purify you could do there but doubt it’s running in summer months. The Tonto trailhead is easy to miss so when you get down to the plateau be sure to look left! Bring water and food. Views are unbelievable. Enjoy!

A beautiful way to explore the Grand Canyon. We hiked it in one day but would have preferred camping one night. Gorgeous views and easy to follow trail. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. I would recommend hiking poles for the steep decline, I had a lot of knee pain after about 6 miles going down.

What an awesome hike. Hard to take though but more than worth to do it. We went down in one day.
Bring a lot of water with you. 2l per person might be not enough. Consider that temperature arises up to more than 100 (42 grad celsius) down there.

It was definitely a bucket list type of trip. We came down the South Kaibab, stayed 2 nights at Phantom Ranch and came back up Bright Angel. Both were difficult for their own reasons. Going down was very hard on the knees. Be wary about which leg you are leading with because you'll overuse one or the other. I ended up straining something in my left knee after the 4,400 ft descent. Going back up was it's own challenge. The first half until just past Indian Gardens was pretty easy. The distance from Three Mile Resthouse to the end is a grindy uphill battle. It stormed and left hail on the trail on 10/22. There was probably a 30F temp swing from PR to the trail head. Make sure to keep your food and water intake up. We finished the ascent in just under 5.5 hours. Stressful, but very rewarding. You have really no idea what the Grand Canyon holds until you are fortunate enough to explore the bottom.

A small group of us tackled this beauty this past Saturday. We hiked the 18 miles in just under 10 hours, breaks included. It amazing, as a tourist at the Rim you really have no idea the scope. A hike into the Grand Canyon is a must! I’m a fairly experienced hiker, but this one tops the list.

Moleskins and electrolytes are a must on this. Also be sure to note the 20 degree temperature increase at the river. I’d be weary during any of the summer months.

I did it on 14th October. started at 9am from south Kaibab trail and reached Phantom ranch at 1pm. Again returned back at 1:45pm from Bright Angel trail and reached south rim at 7:10pm. It's hectic especially last 3miles but worth it. Overall its amazing experience.

hiking
3 months ago

Breathtaking views throughout. This trail takes you through some different terrain unlike South Kaibab and Bright Angel. I did Grandview to Cottonwood Creek to Tonto to Hance Creek and back up Grandview. Started about 6AM and finished about 2:30 PM with plenty of photo stops and snack breaks. It did rain in the beginning causing the route down to Horseshoe Mesa to be quit slippery. Bring plenty of water. I consumed 4L. Also brings pants....lots of brush/cactus especially on the Tonto over hanging onto the trail. Not super populated, I saw 2 rangers and about 10 hikers all around. The trail itself was relatively easy to follow and I did not feel the need to use GPS.

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