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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)
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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 (960)
Photos (8377)
Recordings (532)
Completed (2661)
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Dean Marshall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 26, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

First, start early! This is a really great hike, I prepared to do it in the one day and took me about 9 hours. Others have mentioned it, the bus system will require you to walk back to your vehicle. Such a great hike, well worth the journey. Take breaks, bring water and confirm that water stations are on! When I went the water was off at the 3 mile rest stop, but was clearly posted.

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John Franklin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking

Such a magnificent hike. It’s really rewarding to see how far you’ve come once you’re back at the top. It’s an impressively kept trail that’s near-impossible to get lost on thanks to being heavily trafficked. The facilities along the way (especially at the base) are well-staffed and provide great rest points throughout. The only downside: it was massively windy along ridges and trails, which meant that dirt would be easily lift up into your eyes and mouth. So make sure to check the forecast and bring tight eyewear. Not to mention, buses aren’t running from Bright Angel due to COVID, so we ended up hitchhiking back to the Visitors Center for the first time. Otherwise, it’s a must-do trail.

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Kayla B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

October 10, 2020. Hiked down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel. Awesome views, but it was very crowded. Plenty of water taps and they were still running.

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Luis Ponce
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HikingGreat!
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Dave Huynh
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Hiking

Great hike!

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pamela paley
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Hiking
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Johnathan McLaughlin
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Hiking

Tough hike. I did it in 6.5 hours, but I’m fairly fit and was pushing myself. I forgot to start recording till I was part way down. It’s actually 17 miles to the top of Bright angel. I had a total of 19.2 because I had to walk back to my car at the visitor center. Definitely start early morning. I started around 6:00 am at the top of South Kaibab, got to see the sunrise, and was out again before it got too hot.

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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
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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
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Hiking

Absolutely brutal but so worth it

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Daniel Whatcott
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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
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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
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HikingGreat!
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Trent Mangold
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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
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Hiking

amazing. my body aches

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Linda Truong
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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
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Hiking
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Traci Pantzke
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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
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Hiking

hard

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William Hindmon
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Hiking
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Rob Dowd
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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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