South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch

MODERATE 13 reviews
#34 of 96 trails in

South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch is a 13.4 mile out and back trail located near Grand Canyon Village, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses. Horses are also able to use this trail.

13.4 miles
4,911 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding

nature trips




no dogs

6 days ago

I hiked down South Kaibab and camped at Bright Angel Campground, then headed back up via River Trail and Bright Angel.
The hike down South Kaibab offered amazing views of the canyon! So many colors of rocks. The trail itself is very rocky, all downhill and with lost of steps built into the trail.
The hike down was hard for me (I prefer up over down). In general, several miles solid of any one direction is hard on the body. I would recommend being diligent about which legs you are using to step down, and alternate frequently. I didn’t do this, and my hamstrings and calves paid the price. Definitely use poles!
Be sure to stop at Ooh Aah point for great views. Cedar Ridge is a nice place to stop for a snack and bathroom. There is very little shade on the trail, so be sure to wear sunscreen!
Be cautious of trail runners and mule trains.

2 months ago

Just finished SK to PR with and overnight there and out on BA. Awesome experience. Got lucky with the weather as it was partly cloudy with thunderstorms late each day, and temp at PR barely cracked 100.

I’m 50 and in average shape and it was not nearly as difficult as I expected. Made it down in a leisurely 5 hours with lots of rest/photo stops. made it out in 7 hours and got poured on the last 15 minutes.

No blisters, sore feet and a lot of great memories.

3 months ago

We did the trail down and up, all in the same day. It’s amazing and terrifing and strenous. 3h30’ to go down with the morning sun and 5h30’ to come back leaving the beach and the camping where we refelt water at 3.30pm. The sun was really still hot and the first part stressed me a lot. I fear I would never be able to return. We came back it was dark founding in the path a family of deers that frozed us in fear. Really a lifetime experience that squeezed us in every way phisically and mentally. It has been a way to find our limits. Something like 9litres of water in 2 people, something like more that 40000 step. Terrific and astonishing at the same time!

4 months ago

Beautiful trail. Very challenging. We did it last August to phantom ranch and back up ba 2 days later. I think the moderate rating is misleading. It is very hard. The trail was in really bad shape with big puddles at the steps from the rain. Views were amazing. Bring lots of water. I drank 4 liters going down. Eat and drink lots.

4 months ago

We did this in reverse (PR to the top via the South Kaibab). This is the better trail as opposed to the Bright Angel. People think the BA will be easier because it's longer, which isn't true. There's just a longer walk along the bottom of the canyon to the campground/ranch area on the BA. This combined with the views on the South Kaibab make this the better trail. I'm happy we hiked down the BA just to say we did it, but whenever I come back (for a hopeful Rim to Rim to Rim trip!) I'll be doing the Kaibab only.

5 months ago

We ended up going down South Kaibob all the way to the river (almost to bright angel campground) in one morning, over 17 miles round trip with almost 5000 feet elevation gain total. Took us about 6 hours, but VERY physically demanding; probably the hardest day hike we've ever done. However, SO worth the views from inside the canyon; brings it to life and emphasizes the surreal size of the canyon. Amazing to be able to say we hiked from the top of the canyon all the way to the river. We went through over a gallon of water with two people, there is a place to fill up waters at the bottom after you cross the bridge.

5 months ago

Carry enough water and take it slow

5 months ago

Great hike, fantastic views. They were working on the trail, so there was a lot of rocks to help fill in some of the ruts in the trail. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks as you are burning a lot of calories. In my opinion, this hike is a much harder hike then Bright Angel to Observation Point. They are both wonderful trails, but if your trying to decide which one to do, this one will get you all the way to the Colorado River. Have fun and make sure to prepare.

9 months ago


4 months ago

7 months ago

8 months ago