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South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch, and Bright Angel Trail

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Grand Canyon National Park

South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch, and Bright Angel Trail is a 17.5 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from October until May.

Length 17.5 mi Elevation gain 4,845 ft Route type Point to Point
Backpacking Camping Hiking River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Rocky Scramble No dogs
Description
Waypoints (16)
Contact
Tips

Gorgeous views and easy to follow trail with bathrooms along the route and water at the camps. On November 1, things switch over to wintertime conditions and there is water available only at Indian Gardens.

Bring LOTS of water, the air is very dry and you may not see visible sweat but you will be losing water very quickly. It is hotter at the bottom of the canyon, make sure you stay in the shade and drink plenty of water (and go in the water to cool off). Do NOT attempt to hike this whole trail in one day, it is too hot during the summer and there is not enough water. Make sure you get an early start to avoid the hottest times of the day (and the early morning light makes the rocks walls look spectacular!)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (946)
Photos (7824)
Recordings (519)
Completed (2635)
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Dorantes User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
WalkingGreat!Rocky

This was such a world wonder to me. Never did i think i would be walking down and up Grand Canyon. It’s beautiful! For sure take more than 32oz of water and plenty of snacks and lunch! We only hiked to Cedar Ridge and that took us about 3-4 hrs because we stopped for pictures and plenty of breaks going up. Wanna go back to reach Skeleton Point.

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Lisa Elle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Scenic driving

Some of the features of this trail that aren’t really addressed in a lot of the reviews are the various banks along the way. River banks, stream banks, burr banks, etc. One in particular stands out from the rest, but it’s a seasonal bank, not likely to be present year round. I know, dear reader, I fancy I see that look of bemused resignation on your perspirant brow. But let me assure you that half the fun is finding these unique features for yourself. Ideally, with an Rx bar in hand. Happy trails!

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Jason Covert
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Hiking
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Alex Netemeyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely brutal but so worth it

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Daniel Whatcott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Road biking
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Paul Amarante
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
Hiking

To truly experience the grandeur of the canyon, you must delve into it all the way to the Colorado River. That being said, although the views are spectacular. this is not a hike for the faint of heart or those who are not well conditioned. The last 8 to 8.5 miles are uphill. with the last 4.7 miles an unrelenting 7series of step ups. To top it off...there are no shuttles running to bring you back to the visitor center because it's off season so you have to walk an additional 2.8 miles on top of the recorded 17.7 for a total of about 20.5! Bring snacks and drink a lot of fluids during this endeavor. There are a few stations on the way up that you can use to fill up. It's a tough hike but worth the experience. A side note: When you get to the bottom of South Kaibab, there is a little beach area that you can rest at and soak your feet in the frigid waters of the Colorado. Quite rejuvenating after pounding down over 6 miles of downhill!

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Jeremy Phillips
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

The weather was hot and the trail was rocky but you can't beat the views. We stuck to the trail and only veered off course to head down to the bank of the Colorado about 1 mile past Phantom Ranch. It was a must as we were hiking in 100+ degree temps. I recommend carrying at least 1.5-2L from water source to water source on really hot days and plenty of electrolytes. The 7 mile stretch down to phantom has no water but you are presumably starting early so you might not need much for the hike down. You want to load up between phantom to Indian Gardens. From there, there are water sources every 1.5 miles up bright Angel.

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Georgi Tsonev
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Trent Mangold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Dorantes User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Great hike and BEAUTIFUL. Easy going down but super tiring going up. Bring lots of water!!

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Kayla Bicknell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

This is an amazing hike. I was really nervous going into it but my bf and I have been hiking a lot over the past couple of months so we thought we could handle it. We packed lots of food and water and some energy gels for the hike up. Overall, the hike was beautiful and we didn’t really start to struggle until the final 1.5 miles back up. We started hiking at 6:30 am and there were a lot of people already. We hiked slowly to make sure our legs didn’t get too fatigued on the way down. Made it to the bottom a little before 10 and then stopped for lunch, water, etc. and started our hike back up at about 11. We were back to the trailhead a little before 4! Unfortunately for us we were so worried about getting to the S. Kaibob trailhead in the morning we didn’t realize the blue route from Bright Angel back to the visitor center wasn’t running so we had to drag ourselves another 2.5 miles back to the car. Worth it though!

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joel farelli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

amazing. my body aches

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Linda Truong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Amazing trail! Lots of people started early. The orange shuttle takes you there from Grand Canyon visitor center, they start at 5am and runs every 10-15 mins. Masks required. Watching the sunrise as you hike down was amazing. It pretty much goes down and down until you hit the suspension bridge. Then you get to phantom ranch where it splits off to a trail to north rim or bright angel. You cross another suspension bridge to go across Colorado river. Then it starts ascending. It isn’t until the last few miles that that ascending trail starts to kick your butt. But you’re almost done! Remember to wear masks and social distance! A lot of people were not doing it, protect yourself and be safe and healthy!!

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Marcelo Lopez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
Hiking
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Traci Pantzke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
HikingGreat!
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aj hshm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

This was my very first hiking experience so I want to give my insight and advice to help future hikers for this trail. A little background about myself. I'm 27 years old and like I mentioned, I never hiked a day in my life before doing this trail. Although I literally have zero hiking experience, I consider myself a Tri-athlete. I run on average 7 miles a day, I bike 25+ miles, and I swim on a regular basis. Even though I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, I was still a little scared doing such a strenuous hike. But after I watched Mediocre Amateur (Channel on youtube) run this trail in one day, I told myself that I was going to do it. See the thing about me is that I always like to push myself/challenge myself, even if it's to the extreme. If you are reading this and feel like you're the same way, then you already know what you're capable of! Since this was my first hiking experience, I went out and bought a Gregory backpack, which came with a 3L reservoir. This saved my ass! If decided to just bring a normal backpack and stuff a couple of bottles of water, I don't think I would be typing this experience! I filled the reservoir to the brim, while also bringing 32 oz of Gatorade with me. Even with all this liquid, I STILL RAN OUT ABOUT 16 MILES IN! I ran the trail going down that is likely the reason why I ran out of water so fast. So my advice to you is to bring lots and lots of liquid and salty snacks, something which I lacked. I forget to put my lunch in my bag as I was leaving my hotel so that also screwed me over. Oh well, you learn from your mistakes! Point being, make sure you have sufficient amount of water if you plan on doing this hike in one day. Make sure you have proper trail running or hiking shoes. I had some old adidas alphabounce running shoes and I wish that I had bought some proper shoes! So if you plan on walking the trail, hiking boots should be good. But if you plan on jogging the trail, I would highly recommend some good trail running shoes. All in all, this trail was absolutely breathtaking! Being from Texas, Im surrounded with nothing but flat lands. Seeing the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon while also immersing myself inside the canyon itself was an experience I'll never forget. I jogged down bright angel and walked up south kaibob. Once I got to the top, I was absolutely beat. Total moving time was 7 hours. Unfortunately the bus route back to the bright angel trail head was out of service, so I had to limp/drag myself along the trim trail back to my car. 24 miles total! In conclusion, this was an absolutely amazing experience in which Ill never forget! I can barely able to walk from how sore my quads/calves are and Im pretty sure it's going to be like that for the next week or so. Im absolutely BEAT and BATTERED but I managed haha If you have hiking experience climbing and are in good shape, then you should be fine. Just make sure to follow my advice on bring lots of liquid and salty snacks! If you have no hiking experience and aren't in the best of shape, I wouldnt do this loop in one day. You will severely hurt yourself. It's doable, but it will be really really really tough. Most people that I saw were going down to phantom ranch, camping the night, and going up the next day. But me, being the person that I am, I challenged myself to do it in one day (7 hours) haha. All in All, HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

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Haocheng Gu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking

hard

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William Hindmon
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Hiking
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Rob Dowd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

First things first, this was probably one of the most tiring hikes I've done to date (triathlete/runner here with plenty of experience on hard hikes and trail running in the rocky mountains). The trail is very well groomed, and poses absolutely no technical challenge. The first 7 miles is going down, and this took a larger toll on my legs than I thought it would. Drink water on the way down, legs felt jello-y at the bottom. There is a great rest spot by the river, where we took a dip in! The first 5 miles heading back up were beautiful and not much of a challenge. As other hikers have advised, save energy for the last 4.5. I was exhausted when I made it to the top, but had a little steam left. The vertical gain inthe last 3 miles, while technically easy, was a real challenge, fightimg fatigue. The hike was incredibly worthwhile, and while I probably won't do it again given how exhausting it was, it was absolutely worth it to complete! Total moving time was just under 7 hours, and it took 8 hours in total. We started at 6am and we're wearing tank tops by 7am.

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Andrew Christiansen
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Hiking
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Meritt Rogers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Actually 17.5 miles in 8.15 moving, 9 hours including breaks. Went south Kaibab, did not do phantom ranch, and then went up bright angle. Friends we met on the trail did phantom ranch and said it added 45 min and was not worth it. The last 4.5 after Indian garden were pretty brutal but awesome when you make it! We were pretty nervous about the hike as we don’t have a ton of experience but it was manageable and a lot of fun! Would recommend as long as you prepare. Brought 3L camelback and 2L, and lots of salty snacks. Started at 6am finished at 3.

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Richard Nozell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Took the hikers express at 6:00 am, shuttle only taking 15 people due to COVID but another came soon after. Started the trail around 6:20 and finished at 3:20 with about 45 minutes of breaks mostly at Indian gardens. South Kaibab absolutely stunning, magical coming down into the canyon with the sunrise. Colorado River was so clear & looked green. Things were going swell until the bright angle switchbacks started. Soul crushing. Park ranger tipped to wet your shirt at every water stop and that was a blessing as most of it was in direct sunlight. We’re generally fit but not terribly experienced hikers, came with several liters of water, electrolyte tabs & a ton of food. It was OK, manageable and absolutely gawgeous. 8.4/10 would do again

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Caitlin Reicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Amazing hike with jaw-dropping views. The views kept me going the whole time. Hiked South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and up Bright Angel. Started at 5:15 am and finished at 2:30 pm. Going down South Kaibab was brutal on my knees, but I loved the views on this trail. We didn’t take many breaks - spent about 30 min at PR and maybe took 3 or so breaks on the way up BA. My preference is to just go slow but keep going...having electrolytes saved me. Definitely bring them to add to your water. We filled up at PR (in the river with a filter bc I think the water tastes better) and then at 3 mile rest house. I carried a 3L Camelback. Weather was very manageable bc of when we started and we’re out of PR by 9 am. I used hiking poles the whole time, they are also a must for this trail. Worth every pain in my joints! A hike I will not forget!

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Justie Reimann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
Hiking

Amazing! We prepared all summer and were rewarded doing this hike starting at 6 am and finishing around 3 with no problem. The poles saved us going down, and two bathrooms going down. Getting to the river was so rewarding and dipping in the cold water too. Phantom ranch is so cute and great lemonade, just pretty crowded. The portion between there and Indian Gardens was my favorite, hiking by a stream and lots of trees. We had more shade than expected. The last miles are hard but plenty of water and bathrooms. I highly recommend wearing a buff and dipping it in the streams- it really stays cool. Also we drank a couple of bottles of electrolytes (tablets we bought at REI) along with camelback water. Did not need all of our food and we all took ibuprofen a couple of times. Can’t wait for the next one!

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Jose Delgado
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 4, 2020
HikingNo shade

The views are amazing! South Kaibab is horrible for your knees but has the best views. Make sure you take trekking poles (you can rent there at the GC store). It was indeed too hot at the bottom and we skipped phantom ranch. Make sure you load water at bright angel campground (best restrooms along the trail fyi) because we definitely underestimated how far indian garden was and the amount of sunlight with no shade. The three last miles are hard but at least the canyon provides shade. For those attempting to take the bus from the village, it is super packed and only takes 15 people, you need to be there by 5 a.m. you can also take the bus from the visitor center (we did) but there’s no blue bus running from the end of the trail to the visitor center, so add another 2 miles.

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Madison Key
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

Best hike. 19.2 miles!!! Don’t let that stop u!!!Thought I was not going to make it on the way down lol. I got to the bottom out my feet in the water took an ibuprofen ate a sandwich and I got a second wind of life. Coming back up was amazing so relaxing. I brought cashews, cliff bars, honey roasted peanuts, a lot of beef jerky, Swedish fish, and the electro lights to spray in ur water. Took us 14 hours and did it all in a day but we also hung out at the water for maybe an hour or two. Started at 7am and done at 9am. Wear thick socks:) ohh definitely recommend a camelback!!!! Carrying a bunch of water bottles is horrible lol felt bad for my bf . There is like 1-2 fill stations on the way down and 4 or so on the way up oh and 2 that I saw on the bottom. The waster is warm on the bottom okay good luck

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John Beccari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

No words. Great hike Ok, I should say that I personally overthought this hike for a couple of days before we did it, but it was very manageable. I had hiked many miles and elevation before getting here so physically I was ready, but with the general reports on the heat at the bottom, I was afraid of getting dehydrated and not getting enough salt, but I wound up doing well, and I really did not feel the 100+ degree heat showing on the thermometers. We left at 6 am on S Kaibab, arrived at Phantom Ranch before 10 am and discovered I only consumed 1 liter of water during the cooler downhill leg of the hike. In the end I found my my containers of Pringles chips and PB&J sandwiches very sustaining for energy and electrolytes, but I would not have gone without the electrolyte supplement (FIZZ tabs from REI) that I added 2 tabs to 18 oz of water: I drank 1 1/2 of these bottles after getting to Phantom Ranch. Also add a refreshing cup of icy lemonade from the PR store! . I was understandably more thirsty in the sunny mid day 4 mile leg to Indian Garden but didn’t refill my Camelback until the 3 mile rest stop on the Bright Angel. In the end I think I drank less than 4 liters from my pack when we finished around 3 pm. I tried not to over-research the trail so it would be more of a unique experience and so things like the mule trains, suspension bridges and stream-side trails were refreshing notes in the desert terrain. I used my hiking poles the whole time both up and down while others in my group went without them on most of the uphill climb, and my legs felt really good the next day. Ok, taking Ibuprofen at 6 am and at noon during the hike probably helped that too. Congrats to all of you who did this hike!

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Alfredo Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

I will do this trail again. Is just so much to see and take in that you need to do it twice. This place is amazing!! My wife and I left at 620 at S Kaibab trailhead, made to Phantom Ranch at 1100 we took our time with pictures and enjoying the views on our way down took about an hour lunch break and soaked our feet on the creek by the Phantom Ranch campgrounds felt so good. Started our hike back up at 1200 and made to to the top at 2100. This is definitely for a experience hiker. We see ourselves as moderate level on experience but did a lot of research on how to accomplish it. Take your time, know your limits, come mentally and physically prepared. Bring a flash light if you are planning on doing it in one day. We completed the 17 and 1/2 miles in about 15 hours taking our time and brought home many cool pictures.

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