South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail

HARD 302 reviews

South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail is a 15.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon Village, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
15.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4665 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

no dogs

It's the Grand Canyon just breath taking

20 hours ago

Definitely a difficult trail. Do not suggest doing this in one day. We started at 10am weather was perfect and we proceeded down to skeleton point before we committed to doing the full hike. Got down to Phantom ranch and made the choice to go back out Bright angel.

hiking
7 days ago

Our group, all 14 people completed the SK-Phantom Ranch-BA route safely in mid-May.
We took the 5am bus to South Kaibab Trailhead. Because we parked at the backcountry information center around 4:55 am, and we didn't know the hikers express shuttle actually stops at the information center, we ran the hell out of us to catch the bus there.
So point one, the bus actually stops at the backcountry information center and the visitor center near SK. But giving there might be large groups(we ran into a group of 30-40, if not even more), so starting at Bright Angel Lodge may ensure a seat.
The shuttle actually only takes 20 minutes to get to the trailhead, but since we all need to use the SK trailhead restrooms (There are only 2), so we actually started hiking at 6am.
Hiking down was mostly running for me and my buddy. It took us about 2.5 hrs to reach the bridge. I slipped on a rock and bend my ankle in the middle, but luckily it didn't cause any serious damage.
My water consumption to the Bright Angel Campground was 1.5L, but brought more did give me peace in mind(I had 3L) as the weather really gets hot around 8 or 8:30 and there is no shade on South Kaibab Trail.
We relaxed a bit, refill water, used restroom at Phantom Ranch, they offer iced Lemonade, iced Beer, simple snacks, postcards with "Carried by Mule" stamps(really cool!) and some basic hot weather essentials like buff and cooling cloth, credit cards is OK to be used here.
A lot of hikers hanging out here, squirrels too. There were a lot of signs reminds hikers and visitors don't feed the squirrels, but obviously, a lot of people did before, as the squirrels are not afraid of people at all. My tracking pole felt off ground next to one and touched its fur, and this guy/gal did not care at all. I even saw one robbed one hiker's apple in front all of us while the pool hiker was just turning her head to find something in her backpack.
It was hot down at the river, I didn't check the temperature, but our group member who arrived later said it reached 110F at Phantom Ranch around 11 am.
We took about 1 hr break before my buddy “whipped" me out of the shade and we were on Bright Angel Trail at 10 am.
There was a section after crossing Silver Bridge which was all sandy surface for about half a mile, which made it really hard to walk on, I strongly suggest bring running gaiters to prevent sand and rocks to get into the shoes if you wear low ankle shoes.
It took us about 1 hr to get to Indian Garden, where we took our lunch break for an hour, the thermometer here says it is 95F.
The climb up was actually not as torturing as I expected. The rest spots are optimally arranged(Indian Garden, 3 miles, Mile and Mile Half) to be 1.5 miles apart from each other. For me and my buddies, it's about 1 hr hike from each stop, it paced us perfect so we can re-apply sunscreen, take Salt Stick tablets and eat. Besides the heat, the trail itself is moderately steep, wide, and easy to walk.
In order to achieve everybody's most comfortable hiking experience, we kind of spread out into 5 groups at the end, 1 super fast hiker arrived at 3:25 pm, taking 9 hrs only from the beginning; I and 2 others take exactly 10 hrs. Our last group arrived at 8:30 pm when it started to get cold and rained a bit. But we all made it.

The view of the canyon is stunning, and walking up Bright Angel trail I can see why most people take this route, I saw abundant rock layers, mountain formations, waterfalls, creeks, plants and living creatures. I even doubt I heard a rattle, but that might not be true. We ran into 2 mule groups, one for a guided tour, one seems like just carrying a bunch of stuff. There are trees, bushes, cactus, lizards, flies, squirrels, deer. The canyon view is always at my head turn, each time I stopped to catch my breath, I found myself turning back and looking at it. The unspeakable beauty of mother nature always touches me and always is the motivation for me to hike on.

7 days ago

Do this hike yearly. Never a let down.

17 days ago

This was my first big hike. Did this with a friend in 1 day. Started at 6 am and didn’t finish until 11 pm. It’s a hard trail to do in 1 day. A lot of switch backs on Bright Angel. We ran out of water also, but there are water stations along Bright Angel. Ended up hiking a good portion at night in the cold late Oct night.

Having said all of that, this trail is so worth it! Beautiful views. Amazing adventure. And you might like us make a few new friends along the way. The nights in late Oct are cold and the days can get really hot. So dress accordingly.

I definitely recommend this hike. Just not in 1 day. Do it with a friend because you’ll need the support. She made the difference.

hiking
18 days ago

This is the best hike I ever did in my life. The trail hike is simply amazing and stunning. This hike should be on the bucket list of every hiker. It provides you with the best scenic and breathtaking views while testing the fitness and endurance level. I am an average 28 year old hiker, I don’t have much of an active personality, but i took this task in order to test myself.

So we (me and my 2 friends) started a little late at 8:00 am from south Kaibab trailhead upto the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. It’s a 7.5 mile hike. This trail does not have a single water station, shade or restroom till you reach the bottommost point of the canyon.

So we started with 6 of 500ml water bottles, 2 protein bars, 1 sandwich and 2 small bag of nuts. From the starting it was a steep descent with a temperature at 80F, with no flat surface and sun all over the face. The first point we came across was ooh aah point with amazing views. You can actually as far as your eyes can manage. It feels like you are on an alien planet probably Mars with giant canyons and mountains. We spend some time there, about 10 mins for pics and all. Then we start descending again and passed cedar ridge. The river was visible as we descent and yet it was afar. With 3 stops, 2 bottles of water, and a protein bar, we were able to reach the Colorado River by passing black bridge at 11 am. The temperature was fine at 85 F. Although the river was really cold. We took a break of an hr. and fed ourselves there. We did not proceed to the phantom ranch as it was another 1.5 miles from black bridge.

At noon, we prepared ourselves for the return journey via bright angel trailhead. After crossing the silver bridge, at the entrance of the bright angel trail there was a water station. I filled my empty bottles and wet my towel to cool my head off as it started to get hot. The return hike was about 8.5 miles all the way to the top with three stops, one at Indian garden 4 miles and two water stops at 1.5 miles each.

The hike to the Indian garden was not that challenging (not that steep ascent) and you will be able to see the Colorado River roaring on with people rafting. It took us about 3 hrs. to cover those 4 miles with an elevation gain of about 1000-1500 ft. There were no clouds in sky and it was raining hellfire. We reached Indian gardens at 3:30 pm. It had shades, restroom, and water stations. We took a break of 30 mins there. A word of caution, squirrels at Indian garden are notorious. If you are not careful, they tend to open the zip of the bag and steal your food or worse they might have fleas. You have to be on your toes regarding that.

After break, we started for the next water stop at 4:00 pm which was about 1.5 miles from garden. The first 0.5 miles were wonderful but the next 1 mile, the actual climb started with steep ascent. It started taking toll on my knees and calves. But we reached to the water stop around 5:00 pm with 2 breaks. While enjoying the wilderness, beauty of the nature and taking pics, be careful of your surroundings, as there might be rattlesnakes in the bushes one of which i came across. It slithered suddenly just past me and my whole body froze in fear. Rattlesnakes generally travel in pair, so I was kind of looking for other one (haha).

We took a break of 10 mins, filled my bottles, talked to some of the people who were also hiking up, some jolly moments. It is really important to keep yourself hydrated because you lose water way faster and imbalance of electrolytes can make you really tired, and that’s when you start to feel drowsy.
We started climbing again for the next water stop at 1.5 mile at 5:15pm. That 1.5 mile hike was steep and as I was looking at the standing canyon over me and I wondered if I would be able to complete it or not. My knees and calves were wearing me down, but we reached there at 6:15 pm with an elevation gain of roughly about 1500 ft. The view from that water stop was stunningly beautiful. You can gaze all the way down as well where you came from and as far as you can see forward with no obstruction. It was majestic, I have no other words to describe that. You simply have to go there.

We were prepared for the last 1.5 mile stretch as we saw the mountain standing majestically over us waiting for us to conquer it. After a break of 15 mins, we started at 6:30 pm. As we were climbing we saw ourselves climbing over the canyon and trails that we left behind. With 2 breaks, we were able to see the top of the canyon and noise of the bus engines and people cheering. We reached to the top at 7:30 pm.
I was not able to believe myself that we measure the whole canyon in 11:30 hrs. made it all the way to the top. But I believe now that aside from physical fitness, the excitement, determination and motivation from my friends were the factors that led me and my friends to complete this hike in a single day.

hiking
18 days ago

Unbelieveably amazing trail! Everywhere you look is a postcard picture scene worthy of grabbing a pic. The challenge was juuuuuust right and was able to complete it in about 10 1/2 hours, including many photo stops and lunch down by the river. The day I went it was about 105' in the Canyon and speaking for myself, that's about as hot as I could handle safely. Luckily there are a few water stations on the way up Bright Angel.

If I could I'd rate this a 6 or 7 out of 5, simply spectacular and I didn't want it to end.

23 days ago

What a great trail! Beautiful scenery everywhere! The hike out is challenging for sure but worth it! The heat made things very difficult for awhile. Be sure to hydrate REALLY well!

hiking
25 days ago

Holy.... this was a very very hard hike. It didn’t help that the temperature got to 114 degrees, but it was insanely rewarding coming out of bright angel 13:35 hours later. Please train for this hike, no one will be able to help you if you can’t make it back out. Bring ample water and bring hiking poles. This isn’t a hike to take lightly. But it is an amazing hike and you will love it.

1 month ago

I repeated this journey from 35 years earlier when I was in high school with a round trip hike down South Kaibab and back up Bright Angel on the south rim. This time though we did it on a full moon night hike. Started at 7:30p while the sun was setting and made it out at 5:30a with a beautiful sun rise. I've been to the bottom of the canyon multiple times before so I was looking for a different experience, hence the night hike. Obviously you can't see as much but it was a unique in experience.

hiking
1 month ago

hard trail, but so worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Stayed at South Rim the night prior to starting the early morning descent to Phantom Ranch via the 7.4 mile waterless South Kaibab Tr. We were able to leave our rental car at the the hotel parking lot (free of charge) and catch the free shuttle bus to the South Kaibab TH. Nice weather at the Rim (76*) but at the bottom, one can always expect the temp to be around 10-20* hotter, which was the case on our April 23, 2018 hike! Phantom Ranch was 98* when we reached it just a short 4 hours later!

The trail is well marked an maintained, so we never had to worry about losing the trail. There are at least 2 solar latrines that was impressively kept clean, HOWEVER, you will NOT have any available water (like you will on the Bright Angel Trail). Your first available water will be at the Colorado River at the very bottom, so make sure to bring at LEAST 3L of water and maybe even more if you tend to drink a lot. The lady at the Rim's visitor's center suggested 5-6L but for me (who tends to ration and drink less) I thought that was overkill and once at the bottom, I ended up barley drinking the 3L that I carried.

A must on this trail are:
1. Hiking poles. its at least a 4500 foot descent, which can be tough on your knees, so bring hiking poles to distribute the weight and save your knees so you'll have more years to hike.
2. Bring your camera - or at least make sure your camera phone has a descent camera and make sure your lens is clean! Every step of this descent will have magnificent views to take it all in but be careful not to hike an take photos or you could twist and ankle - something I witnessed when I hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail!

On the return trip up 9 a few days later) via the Bright Angel Tr - it is not as steep as this trail is 2.5 miles longer - but still goes up at least 4500 feet. Great views as well, many areas you can filter water as well as 2-3 latrines (again well kept) and with potable water sources. This trail is frequented by mules and their lakers, which carry people and/or supplies to/from Phantom Ranch and the Rim. When they approach, you are REQUIRED to pull off to the side to let them pass - and make sure your poles are out of the way - their packers say that hiking sticks can spook them.


...SIDE NOTE and PUBLIC RELATIONS NOTE FOR THE DAY:

Please know trail ETIQUETTE!!!! - there is such a thing as trail etiquette.
1. Horses and mules ALWAYS have the trail right of way! Step far off the trail as safety will allow and GET OUT of their way or bad things can happen!!! IF you spook the animal, he can hurt itself or the rider and/or you as well. If the animal hurts itself and cannot be healed, they must put the animal down!

2. The UPHILL hiker has the next right of way! Many people do not know this nor adhere to this etiquette and its disappointing! The uphill hiker has the more difficult hike and it makes it more difficult for him/her to constantly stop to get out the way of the downhill hiker who has the easer hike.

3. Sad to day but Mountain bikers have the least right of way...they are suppose to yield to animals, uphill and downhill hikers, but often I witness no etiquette here...they may not know, but if your are reading this please use etiquette...if you can't, then the NEXT BEST THING you can do is to call ahead and ALERT anyone up ahead on the trail!


Thanks for anyone willing to use trail etiquette!...Now get out there and enjoy our beautiful trails!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Details: Began at South Kaibab, descended to River, crossed Black Bridge, followed River trail to Silver Bridge, crossed back over and ascended to rim via the Bright Angel trail. Did not actually go to Phantom Ranch.

Began our hike at 6:06 AM on 4/28. I was quite surprised that there was a few other groups starting out as well. We took our time going down the trail, stopping to take pictures and admire the gorgeous scenery. Hiking down this trail is like being on a alien planet. There were a fair amount of people trying to shove past us to run down, some more polite then others. There are two rest stops with vault toilets on the way down, one is Cedar Ridge and the other is The Tipoff. Made it to the black bridge at 9:24, early, but already getting hot outside. There is a water station that was open that is between the Black and Silver Bridges, so we were able to refill there. I am not sure its open year round, so check before planning your hike. After crossing the Silver Bridge, we sat in the shade for snack time, again just marveling at the mountains and river. Lots of rafts going down and even a few kayaks and paddle boards ! The River trail is short, but flat, so it was a nice break, but from Pipe Creek beach you begin ascending to reach Indian Garden. I have never quite understood or appreciated the meaning of "oasis" until I experienced reaching Indian Garden after trekking in the boiling hot sun. Its a beautiful little area with water, vault bathrooms, and tons of shady picnic spots. Spent a leisure hour eating, relaxing, and preparing for the hike up. The hike up is NOT easy, especially in the sun. The heat and dust really start to dry you out, so we took several breaks along the way, to drink water and eat something salty or a protein snack. We ended up passing several runners we had seen in the beginning of the day, I suppose they did not properly prepare. I would recommend bringing a hat and bandanna that you can drench in water and then wear. There are areas between Indian Gardens and the river trail that depending on the time of year, you cross a stream, and nothing feels better on your noggin then a cool bandanna. Do not underestimate this hike- bring water, food, and be prepared for a challenge. That being said, it has been the most rewarding hike I have accomplished thus far. The perspective it gives you on the canyon is too great for words. It is absolutely stunning up and down, but I really must say the hike down the Kaibab was more scenic in my opinion.

I have included my times below for anyone who may be concerned about going up and down in one day. Take it with a grain of salt, as my pace may be faster or slower then yours ! I would consider myself in above average physical condition, I am not an athlete by any means, but I am very used to backpacking, hiking, and running in the outdoors.

Begin: 6:06 AM
Oh Ah Pt- 6:28
Cedar Ridge - 6:45 to 6:55
Skeleton Pt- 7:29
The Tipoff- 8:10
Cross Black Bridge- 9:24
Crossed Silver Bridge to begin ascent- 10:38
Sat down at Indian Gardens - 1:09 to 2:19 PM
Indian Gardens to 3 mile resthouse - 2:19 to 3:15
3 mile resthouse to 1.5 mile resthouse - 3:15 to 4:16

End at Bright Angel trailhead- 5:26

Total time- 11 hrs and 20 minutes , apprx 20 miles

I do not have the total break time, but a family members GPS said we were active for about 8 hrs 46min, and the rest was breaks.

I hope this helps ! Do the hike if you are confident in your abilities, you will have the experience of a lifetime !

hiking
1 month ago

Easily two of the most breathtaking trails I've ever had the chance to travel. A few things you should know before starting -- 1. You're in for a huge treat; 2. South Kaibab has very little shade; if you are starting anytime after 10am (unfortunately, I personally couldn't begin until noon and I highly recommend against doing the same), be prepared for a really hot hike, even in late April/early May. On the day I visited, it was an estimated 110F at Phantom Ranch (remember, it gets hotter as you go down), and it definitely felt that way during descent. 3. You need a ton of water AND electrolytes. Do not underestimate the importance of electrolytes; get some dissolvable tablets and put them in your hydropack/water bottles, or bring tons of sport drink. I learned this the hard way and, despite having enough water, definitely suffered from some dehydration complications, to which I was extremely fortunate to have some hikers at Phantom help me out with their tablets. 4. Bright Angel is longer, but has a lesser grade and offers more shade; I would highly suggest using this route for ascent (start early!); 5. I personally highly suggest hiking poles. They will save your knees during descend, and help you a ton during ascent.

These two trails gave an incredible experience that you'll never forget. Less than 1% of the GC's visitors each year actually descend into the Canyon and the Colorado River, and although you'll have to earn every step, there's a whole different world down there waiting to be explored. Be prepared, hike smart, pace yourself, and listen to your body.

trail running
1 month ago

Ran down bright angel and up south Kaibab. It is a very hard run especially if you start late (like I did). 96F at the bottom and no water on the way back up South Kaibab. Be prepared and have the right clothing as the sun is brutal. I am lucky enough to have ran in many places around the world but this is definitively in the top 3! AMAZING! Not for everyone but well worth the effort. It took me 4hours and a half for the whole loop and the milage from start to finish at 21.9miles. Enjoy responsibly !

1 month ago

Great trail run to be pushed physically. Start early. We decent run and allowed time for walking the ascent. Know your physical limitations and climbing altitude. I’m fit but ascent and elevation- I know my limits. It’s okay to hike your pace. You still get it done. I brought 64 ounces of water and one Gatorade. Best thing was ibuprofen. Take time to enjoy the view. Bring long shirt for morning and afternoon.

2 months ago

Amazing!

backpacking
2 months ago

Difficult trail with built in steps. Pretty steep inclines. Legs/knees started tiring at about 5 miles. Would train on stairs for this trail in the future. A great way to see other views of the Canyon for sure. Glad I did it.

Exposed and susceptible to wind gusts so be prepared with sun production.

trail running
2 months ago

Hardest run I’ve ever done. Ended up clocking 20 miles total in 5:35 from South Kaibib to the bottom in just under 2 hours . Phantom Ranch was a nice leg but the climb back up was rough. I’m a FL runner and not used to the elevation but hammered thru . 3 hours + back up and found out it’s well over the 15.5 claimed. Would be an awesome 2 day hike but unless you are well prepared (nutrition, water , training) don’t try to do in a single day (as many of the signs pointed out)

hiking
2 months ago

Started at 5:45am (just before sunrise, so it was nice and cool) and arrived at the river at 7:45am, mostly running down since the grade on the trail was perfect for running. From there I took a half hour break and ate a bunch of food and started my way back up Bright Angel Trail. I arrived at the top at 12:30pm while taking 10-15 minute breaks at each shaded rest site since there was effectively no shade on the way up at that part of the day. Be sure to bring ample supplies and if you havent hiked at this level of difficulty I strongly advise you DONT hike this trail. If you are still interested go to the Backcountry office in the park and ask them for advice about this trail since they will take into account your level of experience and plans for the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

I started at 10:40AM at South Kaibab TH. This trail does not offer any shade. I made it to the junction of Black Bridge and River Trail by 1:00PM and I took River Trail as I did not need to resupply my water. Hiking River Trail, I took few pictures and stopped at the river for 5-10 minutes. I started back up at 1:40 PM (from the rest station) and made it up to the top at 5:05PM. it took me 6 hours to complete this trail. Notes: I did not stop for lunch and did not eat anything while hiking except I drank 16 once of gatorade at the bottom of the canyon and at the top, I had a handful of nuts and dry fruit.
The South Kaibab trail does not offer ANY shade in the first part of the day.
Bright Angel is excellent choice for shade in the afternoon. I barely saw the sun on my way up from Canyon to the parking. 90% shade. Perfect between 1:00PM and 5:00PM. I had 64 ounces of water and 32 ounces of gatorade and I did not resupply my water; however, India Garden offered some easy and fast option.
Another note: I soaked my hiking shirt and hat in the water> that kept me cool to the top (3,5hours).
Happy hiking! be safe!

hiking
2 months ago

I did just the Bright Angel the previous day (till Plateau Point), and the entire hike took me only 6 hours. Based on elevation gain and distance, I calculated South Kaibab - River - Bright Angel trail to take no more than 8 hours. However, lots of Internet reports suggested a minimum of 10-14 hours. In any case, I decided to go ahead and try the hike. A bit of bad luck and really cold morning meant I didn't start until 10:40 AM; the sunset was due at 6:40 PM. So, I had to go for the kill from the word go. I run a lot and recently prepared and ran a Full Marathon, so I was in the peak of my fitness. I like running downhill, and I found it easy to run down in some part of the South Kaibab trail. There were some parts with loose sand where I had to walk but apart from that, I was doing good speed - 1.5 miles in about 25 minutes. So, I reached Cedar Ridge at 11:05, Skeleton Point at 11:30ish, and Tip Off at about 12. There was hardly anyone after Tip Off point but the scenery started getting very pretty, and I got down to the Black Bridge by about 1 PM. I met a few rafters at the beach who were travelling across the Colorado River. Since I was hiking alone, it was good to meet some humans as that place was very desolate. My next goal was to get to Indian Garden by 4PM at the latest, so I kept going at a steady pace. My lunch was just protein bars and nuts, so I could eat them as I hike. After a while on the River Trail, there were those long switchbacks but keeping my motivation high, I could climb them without any issue. After a bit of following the stream, there was a point where there was a huge rock and no clear indication of the trail. Thankfully, once I jumped over the rock, I found the trail back, and it was easy hiking from there to India Garden. I reached there at 3PM, and I knew it would take me 2.5 hours from there to the top since I did this same part the previous day. This is also the hardest part of the hike, and it comes at a time when you are really tired. So, doing the same trail the previous day helped me with the mental confidence. I met several groups on the way up who had started very very early (6AM or so), but they were extremely tired and not in a mental state to hike up. I cheered them up and gave pointers on the remaining route and reached the top at 5:40 PM. In all, it took me only 7 hours. If you really want to do it quick, try to do the Bright Angel hike till India Garden the previous day. It serves as a good practice and also prepares me mentally for the toughest part of the Rim to River hike.

trail running
2 months ago

This review is for the tourist:
I did basically this same loop yesterday. I was running. I have a lot of experience. There are others like me who have trained and are experienced that can SAFELY do this or even go further. Most cannot. If you haven’t done something like this before, DON’T DO IT. Most people do this hike over TWO days, for good reason. If you try this in one it will suck and you’ll you put yourself in danger. I saw at least 5 people that I had to make sure were ok. They were NOT prepared. They did NOT have the right nutrition. They did NOT have enough water. They did NOT know what they were in for. I hope you do now! :)

hiking
2 months ago

This was the hardest hike I have ever done in my life. There are signs about 1 mile down that say to not to hike down to the Colorado river and back in one day unless you are an experienced hiker. Unfortunately for me, I am not an experienced hiker. However, I am slightly above average. And I did it. By the time I reached Phantom Ranch from the South Kaibab descent, I was starting to feel burn. After a break, I refilled water and started up Bright Angel. Five miles up the trail, I did not want to go any longer. Everything hurt. I was tired. But I had no option but to finish. The last 2.5 miles were the hardest because I was physically and mentally exhausted, and there were loads of switchbacks. I ended up taking frequent breaks and drinking lots of water. Slow and steady wins the race. If you are looking to hike this trail remember that 1. You need to stay hydrated
2. You will have to push yourself
Overall it was absolutely incredible. Amazing scenery and a fantastic experience. Very well worth the pain you will feel the next day.

hiking
2 months ago

Have to be prepared and drink extra water laced with electrolytes (Heed or Nuun are two good mixes for water) otherwise dehydration will hit you in the final 3-4 miles. Also, this mileage estimate is incorrect. All my trackers and other maps suggest this is probably 18 miles +

hiking
2 months ago

Bucket list hike. South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch is fast and beautiful. Coming back on Bright Angel was great along the creek. Last 3 miles of hike had the most switchbacks I have ever encountered. Not enough sleep the night before and no real hiking since last October made for a painful ascent. But it was best hike of my life so far. The hike is more like 19 miles if you add up the segments of the trails on the official Grand Canyon map. It was 19.5 miles on my hike/walk apple app. I would do it again but stay overnight at Phantom Ranch and troutfish, eat and get a good night's sleep for the ascent. Would be much more enjoyable and have time for lots of pics.

2 months ago

Do yourself the biggest favor ever and bring trekking poles. My knees were in bad shape when we got to the bottom (took about 3 hours) there was a lot of steep drop offs but really pretty views

Lots of families on this trail very popular and super easy to follow
Loved the restroom stops (plug your nose if you go in lol)

Overall good trail..went down this way but going up was another story

2 months ago

Great hike. I left at 6:15am and finished at 3:30 with minimal stops. The last 3 miles are killer. Make sure that you have water receptacles to fill up at every opportunity. My legs and feet are very sore but this is a bucket list type of hike. I also wouldn’t mess around with this trail in high temps. It was 30 degrees when I set off and was in the 70’s down by the river. Enjoy

hiking
2 months ago

This must be one of the top ten hikes in the United States. Our group consisted of two college-age kids, three adults aged 47-55, and one octogenarian. We caught the 7am Hiker's Express Shuttle and were on the SK by 7:45 am. While the eldest in our group (yeah, he's 80 and in great shape) took the Tonto crosscut trail to Indian Gardens (total distance SK-Tonto-BA: 13 miles), the rest continued down the SK to the river and lingered in Phantom Ranch for 20 minutes and then another 15 minutes on the beach where the Bright Angel reaches the Colorado. Another break at Indian Garden before the final ascent gave us a total distance of 18 miles (the spur to Phantom Ranch instead of just staying on the River Trail adds a mile or more) which was done in 11 hours. We finished a half hour after sunset with enough light to not need our headlamps and flashlights. There was water at Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden, but to be safe, we each carried a regular-sized water bottle as well as three gallon jugs to replenish as needed. We could have carried a gallon less for our group of six, but preferred to err on the side of caution and as it turns out, gave water to another hiker who had run out. While most prefer to overnight at Phantom Ranch, this is a doable day hike, but only for older adults if they are fit (my wife and I are mid-50s and in marathon training). Whatever your age, do not estimate the difficulty of the final climb up the Bright Angel, however. Your quads and calfs will feel this one and it waits for you until the end of your hike. Bring food, water, headlamps if you have ANY concern about being out after dark, a fire starter and appropriate outer clothing for the season. We started at 38 degrees, experienced mid-70s at the river, and finished in the mid-40s (March 21). Weather couldn't have been better for us and the icy patches at the top of the BA had pretty much melted away during the day. If you are an avid hiker, put this one on your list!

hiking
3 months ago

I did this amazing trek on March 17, 2018.
Started at 6:30am and finished almost at 3pm stopping for a short lunch down by Colorado river and some rest at Indian Garden.
I did an acclimating hike down Bright Angel trail the day before just to see what those switchbacks were about. Good physical shape and some mental preparation and great spirit was all needed to complete it without huffing and puffing and enjoy every single moment. Amazing views on every spot of the trail. I got lucky with weather as it was in 60s down in canyon and in high 40s up closer to the rim and clear skies. The next day however it snowed and snowed a lot so that last 2-3 miles were covered in snow. So be prepared for a turn in the weather and have layered clothing, snow chains and trekking poles and plenty of water and snacks. If you did hikes in the mountains before, you can do this one too!
My Garmin Fenix watch clocked over 20 miles and over 4700 elevation gain on the ascent by Bright Angel.
Definitely start as S Kaibab as the trail there is more rugged and you want to go down there not up.
There are restrooms and emergency phones at least in 5 spots on the way.

hiking
3 months ago

Adding to my full review below:
We left the S Kaibab trailhead at 630am and took 3.5 hours to reach the silver bridge that crosses Colorado. (We picked up the River Trail heading left when Kaibab had gone right towards the black bridge)

I’ve excluded the time for photo stops, and two restroom breaks.

We stayed at the river/Phantom Ranch for 2 hours and headed back up Bright Angel at 1220. We reached Indian Garden/Tonto East by 3pm.

We finished at 1848. So the trip back up 13 mi took us 6.5 hours including all the breaks. And it was very difficult for the last 3 hours due to altitude.

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