South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail is a 18.9 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon Village, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, birding, and backpacking and is best used from October until May.

DISTANCE
18.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
6,158 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

hiking
21 hours ago

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

hiking
1 day ago

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.

hiking
2 days ago

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

8 days ago

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!!

hiking
8 days ago

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.

9 days ago

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.

9 days ago

This hike was magical!

hiking
10 days ago

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.

11 days ago

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.

hiking
14 days ago

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.

hiking
19 days ago

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.

20 days ago

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.

hiking
22 days ago

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.

hiking
24 days ago

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 warmer months.

29 days ago

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
1 month ago

What an amazing hike. More scenic and diverse than I imagined. Hiked this with 7 boys scouts (ages 12 and 13) and three adults (ages 45 to 57). Started at 7:00 AM on the South Kaibab Trail in cool and humid conditions. We took our time getting down, resting for about 10 minutes every hour, taking about 4 hours to get to the river. Crossed the black bridge and made our way to Phantom Ranch. Ate lunch on a shaded park bench, bought some lemonade ($5.00 but worth every cent), and rested for a bit before we started back up the Bright Angel Trail. Made very good time to Indian Garden, got there just before 3:00. The rest of the hike was very intense climb. At one point you see the switchbacks in front of you and it looks as steep as the Price Is Right Mountain Climber Game. We kept a good pace, kept looking back at our progress, and rested for 10 minutes at 3 mile and 1.5 mile Resthouses. Completed the hike just before 6 PM.
A few recommendations for those planning this hike. First, trekking poles are very helpful. Second, pack light. I think everyone in our party carried 2-5 pounds of food that was never touched. Third, packing a frozen water/sport drink bottle will be 90% thawed by Indian Garden and very refreshiing. Fourth, use moleskin liberally, as soon as you feel any burn on your feet.

1 month ago

Amazing! Last 3 miles are no joke!

1 month ago

hiked from North rim to South rim on the AZT in a day

1 month ago

This hike is amazing. You get to see so many amazing features of the canyon. While amazing, this hike is also tough! I did this hike the weekend of July 6th. Hiked down SK in about 4 hours starting at 5am. Spent the night at phantom which was a whopping 112 degrees F. Woke up at 3:30 and hiked back out. Make sure to grab some world famous lemonade at Phantom Ranch! The hike up was not that bad but I had been preparing all summer for it. I highly, highly recommend preparing by running and using a stairclimber/ incline treadmill. The hike up BA is absolutely gorgeous. Once you hit Indian Gardens, the last ~4 miles are pretty tough but doable if you take your time. Savor your time at Indian Gardens, there is nothing quite like it!

hiking
1 month ago

This is an amazing hike for sure. We did it in one day, but we had some surprises.
I am 47, non-runner, in reasonable shape but no active training. My son is 19 and in reasonable shape, again, no training.
We picked this hike because we had one day to see it all. We surely did see it all, this is an indescribably beautiful hike through varied conditions and terrain that leaves nothing out. I highly recommend it, but I would not do it again in a single day. Plan ahead and stay the night at Phantom Ranch. Seriously.
First surprise was that this hike isn't actually 15.5 miles as stated. We logged 18.7 miles, 5200 vertical feet and a total time of 11 hours.
We started early but by the time we got in the park, parked, found the right shuttle to S.K. trailhead and started off, it was 8 am. Way later than we had hoped.

We were surprised by the condition of the trail. We have hiked much lesser trails that are much less improved. Both S.K. and B.A. are very well maintained. Conditions vary from dirt, primitive cobble stone, loose sand, and loose rock. Lots of log and stone steps, but no boulder scrambles or such.

The S.K. trail down is steep and the vistas are continuously changing. There is no water and shade is very rare. We made it down to the river in about 3.5 hours. It was getting to be the hottest part of the day and at the bottom it is like an oven. So we made it to Phantom Ranch and chilled for about 30 minutes before soaking in a creek as we started up B.A. trail.

B.A. trail is a totally different animal. It primarily winds it's way through a single large canyon and the terrain varies from cliffs along the river to semi-dense forest. There is lots of creek and drinkable water along the way which we took advantage of at every opportunity.
We emerged from B.A. in the dark (not the plan) at about 7pm.

One the way down we saw many other hikers, probably 30. On the way up from Phantom up to Indian Garden we saw only 1 other person. After Indian Garden there were about a dozen of us that periodically passed each other on the way up.

We each had a 2L camelback and carried a 1L for Nunn tabs which we refilled along the way. On the way down we went through about 2.5L each. Temp was 80ish with total sun.
On the way up we started with our 3L each. Refilled 2L along the way. There are three water stops in the last 4.5 miles so we weren't likely to run out, but we went through a lot of it. Lots of Cliff bars, jerky and such throughout the day.

With 4 miles to go I was thinking we might do the hike in a total of 10 hours, but as others have said, the last two miles or so are pretty tough. Nothing crazy, just a non-stop grind after a very long day. We were doing 26-27 minute miles typical. The last 3.5 were 35+.

My son was totally spent and the down and back left him in rough shape. I have bad ITB knees which I started to feel at about mile 3 and got really bad with about 4 miles to go. In the last two I was practically using my trekking poles as extra legs. I had ITB wraps and we both had poles. I would say poles are a must.

1 month ago

My friend and I age 27, and 30 just completed this hike 9/30. Trekking down S.Kaibab at 10am arriving at Phantom Ranch around 4 and hiking up Bright Angel the next day in. Both of us not novice but still beginner hikers who found it easy going down, quite a bit tougher on the return. One of us has bad knees and hiking poles were a life saver. Toilets along the way were nice, only one water refuel station on S.kaibab. We narrowly missed a pipe breakage, where no water was available for a good amount of time, bringing a filteration system, water pump or life straw for backup is a good idea. We also had 25-30lb packs with the food, water, camera gear. If I had the chance to repeat, I'd cut weight by half with the exception of water and get a much earlier start to beat the heat. You'll need all that you think and then some. We brought 2.5L each, ran into 2 gals who were doing rim to rim in one day and ran out 3/4 the way, asking passerbys for any spare. So better to err on the side of caution and bring extra. Salt tablets also helped and dense nutritious snacks. It is incredibly worth the trip especially if you get a chance to stay and wander along the bottom. Take your time and enjoy these amazing views!

1 month ago

My girlfriend and I did this hike in one day, even though it’s not recommended. We have done tougher hikes before, but we hadn’t taken the brutal weather into consideration since the reports stated only 86-87 degrees. But in retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have, at least not in these conditions. It was over 100 degrees (max 103 at Indian Garden) that day and we had just flown in from the Netherlands the day before being jetlagged. The elevation difference made it more difficult for us since our country is flat. Anyhow, going down South Kaibab is really easy, especially if you have long legs, you can almost run it down. Took us 2.5 hours, had a pit stop next to the Colorado river and the small creeks after that. When we were going back up, it was extremely hot when we reached Indian Garden. You can refill your water bottles there, which is much needed. After that the fun starts, you’re already worn out and then the steepest part begins. The steps become bigger making it tough to reach the end. We did it on willpower, just under 12 hours, being totally exhausted. We met a ranger at the 3 mile resthouse who told us that 2 people died of heat stroke in the past months, so if you are no avid hiker, this is not the day hike for you, at least not in extreme weather conditions. Camping for 1 night before making your way up is recommended in that case. Even though this turned out to be the most strenuous hike, we loved the magical views and how majestic only the grand canyon can be.

1 month ago

This was an amazing hike! Highly recommended!

hiking
1 month ago

I was concerned from reading the reviews. Went down to Phantom Ranch from S Kaibab and back up Bright Angel. My tracker (GPS stopped just prior to reaching the top) indicated trip in 6:50 hours (4,100 calories!)
It is hard but definitely not "brutal". Although I can see how it would be doing it during the summer (I did 9/21/18). To give you an idea, hiking Yosemite's Half-Dome is almost the same distance but that one is much harder. Brought 3 bottles of water and 2 of Gatorade (refilled one water at Indian Garden on the way back up). Left @ 6 am and was back up @ 1:50 pm... Drank every drop of fluid. Beautiful hike!

hiking
1 month ago

I traveled this trail las July down to phantom Ranch and back up the same way . It’s a difficult climb if your not prepared. Bring a good hat , plenty of water for the trail is dry except for the river water . I’m from Texas so the heat was not so bad for me but others people on the trail was dropping like flys. lol lots of tents set up on the trail the next morning. Beautiful views but come prepared to high step 5000 times !

hiking
2 months ago

Easily one of the best, most difficult trails I have ever done. Start as early as possible and get down quickly without tiring yourself out. We started at 6:30 and hit the black bridge at 9:30. Averaged a good pace of almost 3mph. Just over the black bridge is your first water source. Head to phantom ranch to rest and drink lemonade. Before you head back across the silver bridge up bright angel. Soak your shirt, hat, anything in the water spout. Hiking up to Indian garden is long but just has a moderate incline. Keep soaking your clothes in the streams you pass. At Indian garden you have another drinkable water station. Here is where the hike pours on the suck. You have water every mile and a half from Indian garden, but the incline and switchbacks get really tough. We made it up in just under 11 hours. Bring lots of salty snacks and Gatorade or Nuun tablets to replace electrolytes. Bring trekking poles for sure as well as a hat and something to put on your neck like a bandana that can be soaked. We were fortunate with the weather on September 1st. Light rain and thunderstorm showers kept the sun away. I would not hike this in the summer ever! Make sure you train for this one. My legs didn’t start hurting until the last mile and a half. Just keep moving and keep your energy up! Drink water every 5-10 minutes to avoid dehydration. If you are thirsty you already are dehydrated.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Start south kaibab early so you can catch sunrise at Oh Ah point. Going down to phantom ranch is very fast. We started later than we wanted to, hit the trail head at 7 am and missed sunrise :(. Got back to the trailhead at 3 PM. Amazing hike, wish we would successfully get back country permits. We keep getting denied. Rim to rim is on the bucket list but not success obtaining back country permits.

3 months ago

fabulous. The downhill was killer on old knees. Gorgeous.

3 months ago

Great hike. Not a lot of shade going down. Switchbacks and plenty of water stations on the way up. Challenging full day hike. Start before sunrise and rest at Phantom Ranch. Classic hike.

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