South Kaibab, Tonto and Bright Angel Trail

HARD 22 reviews
#44 of 99 trails in

South Kaibab, Tonto and Bright Angel Trail is a 12.4 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 3,395 feet Route Type: Point to Point

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

no dogs

Perfect long day trip! Hike down South Kaibab, across the plateau on the Tonto Trail, connect to Bright Angel at Indian Garden and return to the south rim. Hiker Shuttle leaves the Bright Angel Lodge bus stop daily, dropping you at the South Kaibab trailhead. Your walk up Bright Angel dumps you back to your room or campsite. As always, check for water availability at Indian Garden, 3-mile and 1-1/2 mile rest stops on Bright Angel. No water on South Kaibab (except for the trailhead in summer).

hiking
19 days ago

I’ve hiked to Phantom Ranch multiple times and decided to take Tonto at the Tip-off and cut over to Indian Gardens. It was early July and there were two springs active on the Tonto. I hiked in and out early morning before the mid day heat. Loved the Tonto! it was so awesome to feel alone on that Mesa. I was on it for about four hours and didn’t pass a soul!!!! Be sure to pack plenty of water and don’t count on the springs. I would only recommend this to during the summer months to someone with some experience in the Grand Canyon.

hiking
2 months ago

I had 1 day to experience GC so I opted for the combination of Bright Angel and South Kaibab. I added about 9km total to this hike by going beyond the drop off down to the river, so total hike was ~29km. I started down the Bright Angel at 5am and got back to the top of SK at 9:58, so just under 5 hours. I pretty much ran the first 3 hours however. I would say completing the 20km (or probably closer to 23) can be done in 6-7 hours even for someone with moderate fitness. Bright Angel is exquisite, sheltered, picturesque, almost fairy tale like esp at sunrise. Tonto is more exposed and desolate (having said that I didn’t see a single person for the first 3 hours). South Kaibab is more rugged and pretty tough coming back up. I wouldn’t recommend coming back up this trail on a very hot day. Overall if you have 6-7 hours and want the “best of” I can highly recommend it. One of the best hikes I’ve ever done, period.

hiking
2 months ago

Found this trail moderately challenging and incredibly beautiful. It’s actually 14 miles and took us 8 hours and not easy on the knees. The Tonto portion has zero shade so be sure to prepare. Whatever the temp on top, add 20 degrees for the Tonto Trail. Went Kaibob-Tonto-Indian Garden-Bright Angel. Used 3 liters of water. The canyon had lots of rain recently and our views were green and lush. One of my favorite hikes!

4 months ago

Just the most perfect day hike offering a good challenge. Our GPS clocked 12.87mi and we finished in just under 7 hours with plenty stops to take it all in and snack breaks. I recommend going down S Kaibab, quick and steep and back up Bright Angel which is a more winding slow, climb. We were the only ones on the Tonto Trail! On the Tonto there are 2 lush springs, and then the glorious spring at Indian Garden. Couldn't recommend this lovely day- hike enough! The ranger said he preferred this hike to the rim-river-rim hike because Tonto offers an expansive view of the canyon.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
5 months ago

As someone who has hiked a considerable amount of trails this by far was the most challenging. Hike this Feb. 16th and there was plenty of ice and snow. Even with it being colder than usual I highly recommend packing twice as much water as you think you’ll need. Many water spots are still shutdown. All things considered it’s something I would recommend everyone do (if physically capable). There’s very few who venture onto Tonto, but views from the bottom are mind blowing. Well worth it!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike. Parked near Bright Angel two shuttles Blue then Orange to trailhead. Started down Kaibab at 5pm early July a little cooler made it to Indian Gardens at dark. Tonto trail not difficult but much less traveled vs Kaibab or Bright Angel. There are campsites there but had good headlamp spare batteries no trouble following Bright Angel to top. Water available at Indian Gardens. Tough climb up total time about 7 hours showing closer to 15 miles. Can't emphasize enough take extra water! Stay safe.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike, pretty much all downhill till mile 9 and then 4.5 miles up bright angel to end your day. Despite what all trails says it being 12.4 I actually clocked it with gps at 14 miles exactly. 3,600+ elevation all at the end, be prepared. Took us (in shape for the most part) 7 hours from trailhead to trailhead. Hiked at the end of October and temps were topping out at 80. There’s is a small stream about 6.5 miles in if you had to purify you could do there but doubt it’s running in summer months. The Tonto trailhead is easy to miss so when you get down to the plateau be sure to look left! Bring water and food. Views are unbelievable. Enjoy!

hiking
10 months ago

10/9/18 Amazing: 14 miles in 6.24 miles with very few stops. Lightly packed with trail running vest and 2.5 L water. Days prior and morning of was rain and cold . Began around 1200 and finished 6:24.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike! We started around 0630 and ended around 1545. Park at Bright Angel and took the early morning hiker's bus to the South Kaibab TH. We only saw one other person on the Tonto trail as we crossed over. As others have said, bring plenty of water. There are a few stations on the Bright Angel Trail but none coming down on the South Kaibab or Tonto Trail.

hiking
11 months ago

Absolutely Outstanding Views!!! This hike will test your will power. The trail turn off to East Tonto Trail is a bit tricky. The trail marker is confusing. Once you reach the Tip Off you’ll find the trail turn off. East Tonto drops you off at Indian Gardens. Be sure to bring at least 3 liters of water as there is no water on Kiabab and East Tonto trails. Most of this trek has no cover so prepare for direct sunlight. The Bright Angel is where the will power/workout comes into play. There are 2 water stations and shaded rest areas on the way out. Be sure to work up to this hike as it is a butt kicker! The total trip took me a little over 6 hours.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

a hard hike but well worth it.

hiking
Monday, March 05, 2018

Second time. This is a great trail and a superb way to see max canyon in a single day.

hiking
Friday, January 26, 2018

Very nice day hike, we (30-yo guys) started at 9:30 AM and finished around 5 PM, and made a lot of stops on the way. There was some ice at the higher parts of the canyon, at the first and last 0,5/1 mile. I had spiked soles, my friend did it without. Going down the South Kaibab trail are some other people (most going down to the Phantom Ranch), but on the Tonto trail we only saw 3 other people. If you've got the energy, make sure to walk a few hundred extra feet of the South Kaibab trail after the Tip Off point to get a great view of the river!

hiking
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This is my favorite day hike in the Grand Canyon! Get a room or campsite for two nights so you can adjust to the altitude a bit before hiking. The Hiker's Express shuttle leaves the Bright Angel Lodge bus stop year-around, and delivers you to the South Kaibab trail head. From there, enjoy the 13 miles down, across the plateau, and back up. You'll walk out at the Bright Angel trailhead, and straight to your room/tent. I'll do this in February 2018 and give you the scoop on the winter version...

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Monday, May 21, 2018

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