South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point

HARD 164 reviews
#11 of 99 trails in

South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and horses. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,978 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

horseback riding

trail running

views

wild flowers

rocky

no dogs

hiking
12 days ago

If you want to get away from the people, go here! Be sure to stop at Cedar Point, I think the view here is a little better. There is a very defined trail the whole way, but some good hiking shoes doesn’t hurt. Be sure to bring enough water and snacks (I went through 3 liters of water).

hiking
no shade
14 days ago

Awesome way to escape the crowds and see some incredible views of the canyon. After Ooh Aah Point, the trail was nearly empty. Leave very early. We started hiking at 6:30 AM in early July and wish we had started earlier. There was very little shade after Cedar Ridge and the entire way back. We took four liters of water each - there isn’t any opportunity to get water on the trail - and plenty of light snacks. If it’s too hot, you can still get a great view at Ooh Aah Point before turning back.

hiking
16 days ago

HoT

hiking
26 days ago

Started this trail around 3:45pm. Got down fairly quickly and thankfully it wasn’t as hot as expected. Took my girlfriend and I three hours total to complete the full trail. Would highly recommend. There seemed to be a lot of shade past cedar ridge as well. The views are priceless and the canyon literally engulfs you.

hiking
no shade
29 days ago

I did this hike June 4th 2019 Don’t be fooled by the stunning decent into the canyon because the grind back out soon wipes the smile away. Definitely worth it with amazing views of the canyon and Columbia River from Skeleton Point! Be sure to take EXTRA water and plenty of snacks as there is very limited places to rest in the shade apart from Cedar Ridge. We hiked at 9am and it was around 28 Celsius by 11am so start early or wait until the afternoon to catch a great sunset. Be sure to stop at Skeleton Point unless you are planning on camping at the bottom. Definitely a hike I would return to do again.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

EXCELLENT views. Way better than Bright Angel!! Hiked this with my wife and four little ones. Started at 5:30 to avoid the heat, had an hour-long lunch at SP, and back at the rim by 2:00. We went slowly, at the pace of our 4yo, took lots of breaks and 3L of water per person, since there was no place to refill on the trail. The trail was well maintained and not as rocky as BA, but still lots of steps and steep inclines to get your heart rate up! The traffic thinned out after Ooh-Aah Point. Trekking poles helped going down. Kids enjoyed hearing their echos off the cliff face at SP. Good views of the river, Indian Gardens, Phantom Ranch, the North Rim trail, and condors. If you’re choosing between BA and South Kaibab, go with this one!

Shit gets hot REAL FAST

backpacking
1 month ago

worth the sweat to reach skeleton point. I just happened to be looking down at the Colorado River when two rafts went by, although still a long way down you can hear the river. The desert was very green due to snow and rain with many wild flowers in bloom. fun to see horses using the trail both for people and pack. stand on the mountain side when they pass or you'll be flying. remember going back is much harder so keep something in the tank,as it was obvious some didn't.

hiking
2 months ago

Skeleton point is amazing, you can even see the Colorado river. It is really worth getting there. We did this trail in 3hours at a good pace. The return was much harder of course!

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

My original plan the day before yesterday was to reach the skeletal point and back taking time to enjoy the views. However the weather was so nice and the trail so easy to follow with gradual ascend and descend that it was irresistible to keep going to the river. The only problem being that when I got back to the Trail head the last shuttle bus had left. I had to walk for another 5 miles to the backcountry information center where I parked my car. I suggest that you park your car as close to the trail head as possible instead of taking the hiker’s express as you may end up going out to the river and back on one day as I did.

hiking
2 months ago

Enjoyed seeing the wildflower communities shift as we changed elevation

hiking
3 months ago

Smells like horse poooop. The trail is dusty, wide and well-maintained, with pit toilets interspersed along the entire journey. There were drinkable water supplies at Bright Angel Campground and Indian Garden, but the water was off everywhere else along the Bright Angel Trail. Wild flowers were abloom along the Colorado River. Don't be a doofus, and bring plenty of water, sufficient food and snacks, and importantly, electrolytes to replenish all the sweat you'll lose going down (yes, going down!), and up! I started at 7:30am, took a lunch break at the picnic area at Phantom Ranch with a dip in the Bright Angel Creek, and then started hiking out at 12:45. Got back to the top of the South Rim by 5:15pm, with lots of rest breaks going up. Made for a relaxing tromp in the afternoon shade.

3 months ago

Beautiful and challenging trail. Start early to enjoy smaller crowds. It took my husband and I (we are mid to upper 50s and in decent shape) a little under 5 hours, but he does not linger any one place very long!Trekking poles were super helpful, and we had never used them before. A must do if you want a great day hike at the Canyon! I was tempted to try and go to the river, but not being able to stay the night, turning back at Skeleton Point was the right choice. Weather was perfect- sunny and mid 60s in mid April- great time of year to go!

hiking
3 months ago

We got started at 8:30, a bit way too late. We drove fromPage and it took us 2 1/2 hours to get there. The ranger at the front gate told us to park in the last picnic area before the trailhead. It added about another mile or more onto the hike, but we didn’t have to wait for the bus. It was a cattle call the first mile and a half. It thins out considerably after that. It took us about 2 hours of lots of picture taking to get to Skeleton Point. We were rewarded with sweeping views and able to see and hear the Colorado. We ate breakfast and then started up. We arrived at the trail head at about 1:20. The half hour we took for lunch made it close to 5 hours. I can’t believe I saw so many people waking with single water bottles. From Skeleton it’s 2000 ft in gain. Not sure people realize how tough that 2000 is. We had hiked Wilson Mountain in Sedona 2 days before. Needless to say we were spent. Please bring a lot of water, it was only 69 but the sun crushes you. We are both in our 60’s and great hiking shape. Heading to Phantom in the fall! .

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

Absolutely incredible - a few things to point out - WATER (bring at least 3L of water with you PER person - camelbak reservoirs for the win!!), Snacks/food - bring more than you think you would eat, and trekking poles. On the way down I drank about a liter of water, on the way up just over 2L and that was today, a beautiful spring day. I saw too many people carrying 0.5L bottles and nothing else which was alarming considering there's no refill point at Ooh Ahh, or Cedar Ridge (or anywhere on the South Kaibab for that matter). There's a basic bathroom at Cedar Ridge to use if you need. I started at 7:45am and up until Cedar ridge, everything was in the shade. On the way up, everything past Ooh Ahh point was in the shade since the sun hadn't reached its zenith. The trail is well maintained - with the exception of mule poop every so often. At no point did I feel nervous of falling or anything like that - the park service has done a great job at putting small boulders on the outer part of the trail for the majority of the way! The trail itself is probably 5-6 feet wide. Marking this as no shade because past 11am, earlier in the summer, there will be none. I actually turned around at 9am just past O'neill's Butte. I wanted to keep going, but being my first time and being solo - I wanted to be conservative especially since the recommended turnaround point is at Cedar ridge. Honestly I didn't find the way up to be brutal - but I also took my time, stopped, took pictures and I'm in good shape - I did have 26 miles and 4500 ft of climbing in my legs from other hikes earlier on in the week. My total moving time was 2hrs 45 min. The trekking poles on the way down saved my knees and helped propel me forward on the way up. All in all, for me it was 4.7 miles, ~1800 ft. Would 100% do this again, and next time I want to go camp down by the Colorado River! Also, note - the rim of the canyon is just above 7,000 ft elevation, if you're coming from sea level, please give yourself a couple days to acclimate to the higher altitudes!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Amazing view at the end, cold at the top and nice at the bottom. Completed it in 2 hours and 34 minutes, no stopping but steady pace. The views were amazing!

3 months ago

easy down, hard up. views spectacular. bathroom 1/2 down. no water on trail. heavy traffic.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike... Really hard on the way up but so worth it. Went today and it really was incredible!! Can’t wait to come back. A must hike!!!

3 months ago

Great hike! So glad I had my poles to help me get back up!!! amazing views... still cold however (March 22nd) upper trail was icy in the morning and muddy by dinner time.... hiked down and up in 4h10min .... stopped for photos and 2 quick 15 min breaks... was my first time and it's true what they say... much harder going back up! I'm new to hiking but my fitness level is intermediate ... before you go down too far ... think about how much energy you have to go back up which is twice as hard as going down! If your going soon...don't forget to layer your clothing.. some parts are sheltered and you get much warmer the lower you go, especially when your panting climbing back up .... however the closer you're to the top... its cooler and Windier... be prepared to have multiple layers.

hiking
3 months ago

First hike of the canyon...it was gorgeous from the view points but going down and getting inside the canyon was another level of beauty. It was a little muddy (no snow) on the first few switchbacks but nothing bad, just dusty after. Up and back took us 4 1/2 hours but we stopped 4 times for photos...us college students can't resist that. It'd probably take us almost twice that time in the summer heat though. Overall one of my top 5 hikes, we couldn't stop marveling over how beautiful it was when the sun would come all the way out.

hiking
4 months ago

Easy to moderate trail, mules go there. Nice views.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

There was some snow and ice at the top but after the switch backs it was awesome

4 months ago

Did this trail on 3/10. There was no more snow and overall fairly dry (the weather today might change that) Beautiful hike! Once you reach the point, there's a small path to the left that provides a great spot for lunch and a small view of the Colorado.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

hiking
muddy
snow
4 months ago

My girlfriend and I completed this trail about 4 days ago. The conditions were still not ideal following a heavy snowfall and then melt. The first half of the trek (to Cedar Ridge) was mostly ice and snow. The second half (to Skeleton Point) was VERY muddy but towards the last half mile it dried up very well. I would make sure to bring enough water to last you the trip back up. The return trip was the most challenging part, as it was all uphill. Unfortunately, the water refill station at Cedar Ridge was not functioning when we went. Luckily we saved all our water for the return trip (as we needed it.) The reason for the four stars is that I thought that the views from Skeleton Point were no better than the views from the top. Both views were no doubt breath-taking, however.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing hike!!! With recent snow storm and subsequent warming conditions are changing rapidly. On Thursday, 2/28, we hiked down to Skeleton Point. On the way down we encountered snow and ice solidly almost to Oh Ahh Point and then intermittently to below Cedar Ridge. We all had micro spikes and they did a fantastic job of settling footholds and nerves on the way down the numerous steep, icy sections. Some people did not have them and wished they did. Poles also invaluable. The bottom mile of trail had several very sloppy, muddy sections. By the way back in late afternoon there was a lot more mud and far less ice. Only final ascent to rim was still icy. So... it will all depend upon weather going forward. Not that many people on the trail yesterday. Totally worth going to Skeleton Point. Not that difficult and improvements to trail will make it better.

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