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South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch, and Bright Angel Trail [CLOSED]

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Grand Canyon National Park

South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch, and Bright Angel Trail [CLOSED] 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 Closed 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 (754)
Photos (7409)
Recordings (347)
Completed (2405)
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Heather Widmer
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HikingGreat!No shade

Amazing! So hard but incredibly rewarding to finish!

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Charlie Invino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Did this solo trip in reverse order on June 24, 2020 beginning at Bright Angel trailhead and ending on the Rim trail about 2 mi west of the South Kaibab trailhead. The summary: Left BA trailhead at 11:30PM Indian Garden at 2:00AM Phantom Ranch 5:15AM "Breakfast break" Left PR 6:15AM Arrived at South Kaibab Trailhead 1:15PM Hiking nearly half of the distance in the dark was the only way to avoid the severe heat of the lower elevations. A portion of the trail was closed just below IG and it was tricky finding the detour route across the stream-took a little extra time. Because this was my first hike DOWN the BA, I was careful to not accidentally wind up heading east on the Tonto in the pitch black of a moonless night! Be sure to bring extra batteries or an additional headlamp if you do a night hike. My batteries died before dawn and fortunately I packed an extra light. It was nice to have the entire trail mostly to myself. Hardly any other hikers until I reached Cedar Ridge. This route is a good alternative if a rim to rim is not logistically possible. The North Kaibab trail was closed above Roaring Springs during my canyon trip so I had to go with plan B. Do this trip if you have the chance-I highly recommend it!

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John Kessler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingBridge outGreat!No shade

All I can say is that I echo every person's comment below. I started at 9 AM (not smart do not do this, start much earlier) from the South Kaibab trail head and was at the Colorado River by 12 PM. But the hike up - oh man. Bring at least 2 gallons of water per person if you plan to be there in the middle of the day during a heat wave. I trail run and have done ultramarathons but this is hands down the toughest thing I've ever attempted. Bring more water than you think and make sure to refill at the bottom! The journey from Phantom Ranch to Indian Garden is no joke. And the Silver Bridge is out - so if you go to Phantom Ranch you have to do a 2 mile backtrack to get over to the Bright Angel trail. And along the way I found a lot of people well less equipped than I to do this trek. Bring at least an extra liter for those who might need it - it can definitely save a person on a hike like this. Otherwise, enjoy the amazing views and sunrise / sunset!

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Nicolaas van der Knoop
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Hiking
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Ryan Herron
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HikingGreat!

Quite the haul, but highly recommend! Took just under 7 hours. Left South Kaibab trailhead at 6:15am. Arrived at Phantom Ranch at 8:15am. Took 5 hours to climb to the top of Bright Angel trailhead. Finished at 1pm. Bring 2-3 water bottles + a water filter. No water fill up stations on the South Kaibab trail. Fill up stations at Phantom Ranch + two on the Bright Angel trail.

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Robert Sandoval
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HikingGreat!

I did this hike without any prior experience to hiking. did a one night stay over in phantom ranch. needed a few days to recover before hiking out of the canyon. would have loved to explore other trails from phantom ranch.

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Andrew Scholnick
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Hiking

South Kaibab —> Phantom Ranch —> Bright Angel Trailhead

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Benno Grieser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
Hiking

Super tough hike, did it on 8/23, started at south kaibob at 6am and was at the ranch around 920. Cloudy until then. After leaving the rover area the sun cam through and made the 9.5 mile ascent really tough. Finished at 330pm - temperature was already well above 100... Stop often and fill up water at every opportunity. And lots of breaks. Do not attempt if you are not really really fit. This is no joke!

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Marie-helen Madore Meeks
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HikingGreat!
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Peter Muller
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HikingGreat!No shade

Hike down South Kaibab starting at 5am and up Bright Angel in one day on June 30th 2020. Took 7 hours. Hike is actually not as hard as one would imagine. We lucked out and it was a cooler day (high of 90). Definitely recommend going this direction. Bright Angel is not nearly as interesting a trail as South Kaibab. The last 3-4.5 miles were hard just cause it was getting towards noon and we were ready to be done. Remember to eat if you do this in one day. Your body will say you aren't hungry but you are. I ate and drank the whole way and my friend forgot to eat enough and got sick despite us both being early 30s in very good shape. We were severely warned (by people and by signs) not to try this in one day. Someone died on this hike 5 days prior due to heat exhaustion. While I would argue it was relatively easy for us to do it in one day (7 hours), would really recommend people to think twice if the weather is what it normally is in June (100+). Also, bring sunscreen obviously.

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Pavel Efremov
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Hiking

Beautiful, but challenging, my second time doing it in one day. There were almost no people, huge plus!!!

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Kathy Owens
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I did this four years ago ( late July) tomorrow at age 55 by myself. Down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel, so around 17 miles. It took me just shy of 10 hours. One of my proudest moments. It was tough as hell. When I finished, I was completely spent. The last 3-4 miles were the hardest. At the time I was a marathon runner. I would not recommend this to most. I'm typically a camel and can and do run in SC for miles without water in the hot/humid summers. I respected my environment and the heat and took hydration seriously. I started at 4:30 a.m. (ungodly hour) and finished around 2:30 p.m. It was so worth it...

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Dave Biersner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Great hike, but tough for a day hike! went with my 19 Grandson, I am 60 and in fairly good shape. Left the lodge at 530 AM , took us 90 min to get to the trailhead. Started down at 700 am, made to Phantom Ranch at 11. Tough on your toes (bruised) and Quads on the way down. Took an hour or longer lunch break, ate mostly snacks (fruit, nuts, chips, jerky, candy). Over 100 in PR that day, started back Bright Angel tough in the heat until we reached Indian Gardens, took another long break to re-hydrate at IG. Pipe Creek is a life saver next to the trail, we stopped a couple of times to cool off on the way up! We each had 3 L of Water, a couple of 24 oz Gatorades and tea, refilled my water bottles at PR and IG. I bet we drank 8-10 L of water. I would not recommend going back up South Kaibab in the summer afternoon sun! Beautiful hike for sure and well worth it! Made it back to the top right before sundown but had to hike back to the lodge. I figured we hiked about 23 miles for the day. Park fairly empty for summer with COVID! only saw a handful of people at PR and IG

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Katie Dovy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 25, 2020
Hiking

Most amazing hike of my life! So far :) Completed South Kaibab to Bright Angel trailhead as a day hike. It took the whole day. I drank a total of 4L of water. Don’t forget to eat salt. I did it mid September 2019 which was a good time to go for weather and crowds. Definitely go down South Kaibab (my favorite part) and up Bright Angel. The South Kaibab has amazing views and the way down is like steps. Down was the easy part! Once you cross both bridges and start on the Bright Angel it is sandy and we got to see a big horn sheep and an elk hanging out together. There is very little/ no shade and no water until you get to Indian Gardens so be careful. Camel up at the campground 3 miles from Bright Angel trailhead and get ready for your legs to fall off. The switchbacks are insane when you finish you will feel like you conquered the world.

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Karch Gajdos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 5, 2020
Hiking

We went down Bright Angel and up South Kaibab. Which I would not recommend only because there are no water refill stations going up Kaibab. Views are GORGEOUS. If you’re pressed on time I’d say South Kaibab is the prettier of the two. This hike wasn’t technical and it never was that steep. Good steady climb coming up South Kaibab. But the hike is harder than you think. With the downhill part first I believe it makes people feel more confident than they should. If you aren’t a conditioned hiker this might take you a good long while coming back out. My time would’ve been faster but my friend was suffering from some heat exhaustion. Another thing you should be worried about if you aren’t used to warmer weather and a hard hike.

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Krista Muscarella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 29, 2020
Hiking

Epic trail. Backpacked down from the South Rim in the beginning of November of last year and camped at Bright Angel Campground at the bottom right near Phantom Ranch. Hiked up to the North Rim and took the shuttle back to the South. Trip of a lifetime. Hope to someday go back to do this as a day hike and/or for a stay at Phantom Ranch!

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Ryann Breen
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Hiking

Unforgettable experience - hiked down and out in a day last May. Challenging, and so worth it. Can’t wait to do it again!

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Erin Kuboshige
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Amazing hike and something I will never forget!

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Molly MacDonald
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Hiking

Favorite hike I’ve ever done. Hiked down South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trailhead as a day hike in early October 2019. Weather was perfect - not too hot but perfectly warm! Not recommended to do this as a day hike but doable for avid hikers. Took us about 7 hours including stops. Last 3 miles were most brutal when the change in altitude starts to hit. Just make sure to bring plenty of water!

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Kelly A
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Hiking

I've done this hike 3 times. It's beautiful and every time I do it I notice something different. Take your time to look around and watch for wildlife too.

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Benjamin Grassi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2020
HikingClosed

The NPS is closing all corridor trails, Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab, as of 12pm noon on Friday March 27th until further notice.

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biri biri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 24, 2020
Hiking

Rained quite a bit when I hiked this, certainly killed some of the joy, cold and wet and the trail quickly became a slog through mud, sometimes thick, sometimes extremely slick. Getting back to the top came with some satisfaction but mostly just relief. Still would much prefer this type of weather than a hot summer day though, just have some good boots and not running shoes like me. Super nice views of course. The area was a lot greener than I expected, especially the Bright Angel half. South Kaibab had better views and more of the type of views that I expected. It was raining but I still had decent visibility which was fortunate, heavy fog didn't come in until I was on the home stretch on Bright Angel.

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Andrew Griggs
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Hiking

Great hike, definitely recommend going down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel. There was a little ice on the first few switchbacks down South Kaibab that was unavoidable, but it may have all melted by the afternoon.

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Kelly Nowlen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 21, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on Monday 3/16/2020. Started Bright Angel Trail at 7:30am and ended at South Kaibab Trailhead around 3:45pm. Easy way down with lots of switchbacks. Its about 6miles down. First three miles have two stops for bathrooms. Met some people who said to take South Kaibab up if we want a loop trail instead of out and back. So we went to the bottom of the grand canyon, dipped our feet in the Colorado River at the little beach at the bottom around 11. Then started going towards Phantom Ranch and had to cross a bridge to get there. They had water at Phantom and bathrooms! From Phantom, we crossed the brown bridge then went up South Kaibab. South Kaibab is about a 7.1mile trail with not as much shade. Great day overall, hard hike but not impossible, would do it again in a heart beat! Make sure you are prepared and know your limits, if you hike a lot of 14ers, its similar to that but opposite direction:)

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