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South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch is a 14.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 14.3 mi Elevation gain 4,872 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Bird watching

Beach

River

Views

Waterfall

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No shade

Historic site

No dogs

Waypoints (4)
  • 1

    Cedar Ridge

    Toilets

    36.06401, -112.08925

  • 2

    Suspension Bridge

    36.09060, -112.08911

  • 3

    Kaibab Suspension Bridge

    36.10048, -112.08896

  • 4

    Phantom Ranch/Bright Angel Campground

    36.10714, -112.09372

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (261)
Photos (3650)
Recordings (246)
Completed (1247)
Brandan Huff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
View Brandan's Recording
Matt Sharp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

Started down at sunrise and made my way back up in the middle of the day, not advisable. There is at least one stretch with no shade for a mile and the desert turns into a kiln with no where to hide. If you only have a day and can’t get a permit to camp like myself, it may be a good idea to spend a few hours down by the river until sun starts to hide a little. Probably one of the best hikes in the country.

Bronson Moss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020

Loved this trail! Start early in the morning for the trip down to Phantom Ranch, so you don't get caught in the afternoon sun. No water stops on this trail, so make sure to bring plenty of water and salty snacks to get you down to the bottom where you should be able to replenish your water. Beautiful and diverse views, unlike any other in the world that I know of.

Andreas L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 21, 2020
HikingRocky
View Andreas's Recording
Emilee Melton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2020
HikingNo shade

This is a gorgeous trail and only loses a star because of the traffic. This is a heavily used trail. Not as busy as Angel Bright but much busier than many I have done. I completed this as a day hike and started before sunrise. Hung out for a snack at Phantom Ranch but decided to leave the people and go find someplace a little quieter. Going back over the black bridge, there is a faint trail that takes you to the river. I hung out there with my legs in the water for about an hour. It was early afternoon and not the best time to start going uphill but I soaked my clothes and refilled my water. Yes, there is water at the ranch but I like filtering out of the river. Walked a mile, maybe two, up to the rest area that has a vault toilet and large shelter with a table inside. There was nobody around and it was very windy so in the shade of the shelter the heat of the day was not an issue. I took my shoes & socks off to nap on the table for a couple hours while I waited for the hottest part of the day to pass. It was incredibly windy the entire walk back up and I ate more than one sand sandwich. There were a couple times I stopped walking and put my back against the rocks to let the wind pass without knocking me over the edge. There isn't much shade on this trail but a few places to rest a moment out of the sun. There were less people on my way up as I think many take the Bright Angel up through Indian Gardens. Nice trail, easy to follow, bring water, sunscreen and a hat, respect the weather and you will have a great time.

Baruch Gottesman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020

The canteen at Phanton Ranch has re-opened for outdoor service only. Beautiful and relatively easy going downhill. Pay close attention to the heat (that includes being careful about timing) because the uphill to Indian Gardens/Bright Angel is grueling. Did the descent and then the ascent through Indian Garden in one day, but should be at least a 2-day adventure unless you're looking for a marathon-style challenge.

Jessica Scoratow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 9, 2020
Hiking

absolutely beautiful and extremely strenuous. There is water available at phantom at the bottom. fantastic adventure!!!

View Jessica's Recording
Kelly A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 19, 2020

This was not an incredibly lengthy hike but it is very steep. I'm not exactly the tallest person and I felt like some of the steps down were very tall. I definitely would recommend hiking poles. They saved me from falling a couple times. I had never used them before this hike and they were invaluable. Get started early and hike a couple miles down and find a great place to watch the sunrise. It's a nice chance to take a break and get a snack and the photos are amazing.

Buddy Lloyd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2020
Hiking

My wife and I, along with 4 kids (ages 2, 7, 10, and 13) hiked down to Phantom Ranch a couple of weeks ago. We spent a night at the bottom and then hiked out the next day. I’m writing the review because I didn’t see many comments about taking kids down to PR. I highly recommend it! First, we carried our 2 year old using an Osprey pack. For the other kids, we trained for months (walking stairs, hiking, and running up to 6 miles at a time). My kids aren’t superstar athletes but I was surprised how enthusiastically they embraced the training. They REALLY wanted to camp at the bottom and they trained hard. Here are a few tips: 1. Take a lot less stuff (even if you’re using mules to haul gear like we did); 2. Walking sticks (or just one) was very helpful even for the kids; 3. Even without rain you have to cross many streams so waterproof shoes helped the kids. 4. And finally - don’t listen to the naysayers who might discourage you from taking kids. We camped next to another family who had a 2 year old, and the rangers say they frequently see families with kids.

Dan L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 23, 2020
HikingNo shade

Hiked down to Bright Angel CG and stayed two nights then hiked out. Took three hours down and would definitely recommend trekking poles. Some of the steps are made for mules, not humans. Took four hours to hike out. Only three tough uphill stretches but be prepared for a serious weather change. Started in shorts and t-shirt but ended with long sleeves, wool hat, and gloves and was chilly.

Katherine Hahn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 10, 2020

My sister and I did this full out-and-back hike yesterday. Negligible icy patches near the top. Easily avoidable - no need for crampons. We started at 7:15am. Total hiking time was 6.5 hours plus an hour hanging out, eating, refilling water, etc. at the bottom. We finished the hike just before 3pm. Beautiful hike! Definitely a good workout. Boy were we tired by the end, but so worth it! Be sure to being sun protective clothing, sunscreen, ample salty snacks, and plenty of water. I went through nearly 4 litres and it was a fairly overcast day. There are water refill stations at the bottom at Phantom Ranch.

Lauren Janes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 5, 2020
Hiking

Friend and I did this yesterday! Pretty much 24/7 views from the trail. Woke up for the sunrise and then left around 7, slight ice for the first three switchbacks of the trail, crampons unnecessary. Got to phantom ranch in about two hours, took us around three and a half to get back up. Advise starting early, sun exposure on the way up can make this more exhausting! Bring plenty of water and salty foods. Take pictures on the way down because the last three miles on the way up were very crowded. Worth the views.

Aaron Enmen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 16, 2020
HikingIcyRocky

My girlfriend and I hiked down to Phantom Ranch and back up South Kaibab yesterday. There was a little ice scattered about the trail for the quarter mile only. Wore some diamond grip traction devices for that span only. Probably didn't need them. Good hiking boots would've been sufficient. We started at 7:15 and there wasn't many people on the trail. Made it to Phantom Ranch in 2.5 hours with plenty of stops to take pictures. Ate lunch there that we packed and hydrated and streched for 45 minutes then headed back up at 10:30. Took us about 4 hours to get back keeping a steady pace. Pretty steep in areas with lots of people on the upper half to slow us down. Trekking poles would've been helpful. Only wore a long sleeve base layer and a puffer jacket. Plenty of sun exposure on this route. 2.5 liters of water and Gatorade was plenty. Overall great hike!

Brent Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 6, 2020
HikingIcyNo shadeWashed out

Great trail. Amazing views! Suggest starting early. We left Phantom Ranch at 6:15 AM and walked in the dark for an hour. We hiked down Bright Angel, stayed at Phantom Ranch, and hiked out Kaibab. Bring water as there is no water along the trail. I suggest bringing hiking sticks as trail is steep and uneven. Can be pretty windy at the top. A must do! Great views! You will need to catch a bus back to the village.

Janice Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 22, 2020
HikingNo shade

Favorite trail in the GCNP hands down. It offers the most amazing views. There is NO shade, and NO water available on this trail. Make sure you carry enough water and don't underestimate the heat. Start early on this trail. Headlamps are perfect for night/early morning hiking. I have hiked this trail in its entirety and continues up the North Kaibab trail. I have also hiked up this trail. I prefer hiking up South Kaibab over Bright Angel; yes it's shorter; that's because it's steeper. It's a lot of "unevenly spaced stairs" I used poles each time I've hiked this trail, I find them useful. Also, when hiking this trail you need to remember that going down is optional, going up is mandatory. This trail offers spectacular views, with less crowds due to its steepness and needing a shuttle to get to. 10/22/19- new PR for me down SK to PR & back up SK- 5 hours 27 minutes

Lindsay Heisler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2019
HikingMuddySnow

Amazing views! Hiked down to Skeleton Point then came back up. Next time we’ll go farther. The icy trail turns into mud after Cedar Ridge. I recommend hiking poles and crampons if you have them. Had a great hike and would definitely do it again!

View Lindsay's Recording
Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2019
Hiking

Totally spectacular. Loved the hike. I did it one way. I stayed at Phantom Ranch last night

View Stewart's Recording
Cactus Hugger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2019
HikingFee

South Kaibab trail down to Colorado River and Phantom Ranch

View Cactus 's Recording
Emmanuel Palayan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

Unique spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Warning: there is no water on this trail. We carried 2L of water each person. I would recommend 3L to be safe. A family arrived with one 1L each and they suffered from severe heat stroke. Middle of August temp was 120° at Phantom Ranch. Persevere through all this and you arrive on a beautiful bridge over the Colorado River. Take a dip on boat beach. The water is a refreshing 45° year round

View Emmanuel's Recording
Walter Lotocky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2019
Hiking

The hardest part of this trail is that it is almost entirely down hill. It is very unforgiving on your knees. At 60 years old, my knees took a beating going down to the Phantom Ranch. It is a very challenging route, but also very rewarding with its panoramic views of the Canyon. Taking a dip in the Colorado River towards the end of the trail was very refreshing. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Nigel Higenbottam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2019
Hiking

Took South Kaibab down to Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel up. Turns out that day July 16 was hottest day of the year 46°C at Phantom with 50°-60° in the sun. Great hike and fabulous view but the heat was exhausting.

Jake N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2019
Hiking

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.

Jon Murillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 16, 2019
HikingBlowdownBridge out
Scott Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2019
Hiking

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.

Maria N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 30, 2019
Hiking

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.

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