South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch

HARD 62 reviews
#19 of 99 trails in

South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch is a 13.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 13.4 miles Elevation Gain: 4,911 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

views

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
10 days ago

Took S Kaibab to Bright Angel, was definitely a good combination of trails for the round trip. Kaibab trail gets very steep and difficult at the end. Took about 3.5 hours down, 5 hours up.

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Adding in the Rim Trail (aka... the 5 mile pre hike) gave a lot of educational information before going down into the canyon. That section is paved, easy for all ages and abilities. I did it in 90 minutes... could have spent longer if I wanted to read more. Going down the Kaibab is where the real hiking began. The first mile was loads of people and mule poop. Once past Ooh Ah Point, the amateur tourists started to thin out. Due to rain all around, I did not linger and kept moving (somehow I stayed dry though). It took me about 4 hours to reach Phantom Ranch. It was so nice to have a steak dinner, hot shower, and a comfortable bed that night. The next morning, breakfast and I was off on the Bright Angel trail up. The first half of the hike was so easy to Indian Gardens oasis I thought I was super hiker man. Then... the last 4 miles and 4,000' were zig zagging straight up. Given the blisters on my feet, it took me an extra 2 hours (8 total, plan was 6) to get back to the car at the top. Yes there are marathon runners doing the 44 mile rim to rim and back in one day kind of people out there. I was proud of myself to do 24 miles over two days and survive. If time and money allow, spend an extra night at the Ranch instead of just one night. I had 23.4 miles round trip on my GPS.

hiking
2 months ago

Harder than it looks on the way up in April. It is HOT and there is no water refill. This is why is recommended to go up Bright Angel.

2 months ago

better to make a loop by hiking out bright angel

First time I ever attempted this kind of elevation in one go. Went on a beautiful mid-April day. The views are epic. Felt amazing to soak the feet in the frigid Colorado River after the downhill beating. Left trailhead at 7:30am and made it back up at 4:30pm; 3 hours down, 6 hours back up.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a wonderful hike. I started out at 6 in the morning and hiked down to phantom ranch and back up in one day. Although there were signs that suggested not to hike that in 1 day, I did it anyways. It was definitely tougher hiking back up, in my opinion. It took me roughly 8 hours to complete this hike in one day. Personally, if you are not planning to get down and hike back up the bright angel trail or another trail or camp down there, I wouldn't necessarily recommend going down to phantom ranch and back up. I think a good turning point would have been just getting to the part in the trail where you get a glimpse of the river. This was definitely worth the sweat. The views were absolutely amazing. There were definitely parts of the trail that were muddy but nothing my running shoes couldn't handle (wish I would've had a pair of hiking shoe). There were not many people when I started out around 6 am but it definitely got crowded on my way back up. I think most people were satisfied just hiking down to ooh aah point and back up.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, it's great to reach the colorado river. I'd suggest going back up through bright angel to change things up.

hiking
muddy
no shade
4 months ago

Went down this trail to stay at Phantom Ranch one night and then came back up the Bright Angel trail. Somehow it took us longer to go down this trail than coming up the Bright Angel which is about 3 miles longer. It was really muddy and we kept running into people so maybe that’s why? It is hard on your knees going down so definitely use trekking poles. Not much shade and no water stops so use caution. Also wear a hat and sunscreen when coming up. We saw some miserable-looking sunburned teenagers ascending.

6 months ago

Phantom Ranch is like a slice of paradise once you finally get there!

backpacking
10 months 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.

hiking
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

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!

hiking
Sunday, May 06, 2018

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.

hiking
Sunday, April 29, 2018

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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

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.

hiking
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Carry enough water and take it slow

hiking
Sunday, March 25, 2018

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.

hiking
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Awesome.

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

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