South to North Kaibab Trail

HARD 17 reviews
#45 of 100 trails in

South to North Kaibab Trail is a 19.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

19.3 miles
6,453 feet
Point to Point




nature trips

trail running

bird watching



wild flowers



no dogs

Fantastic hike for the seasoned outdoorsman/woman. Bucket list material. Point to point, or round trip for the more adventurous. Point to point requires a shuttle trip back to the opposing rim, provided by a number of shuttle services. Can be successfully hiked north-to-south or south-to-north. North to south is preferred, as the North Rim is approximately 8200 feet above sea level, making for a more difficult ascent when coming from the South Rim (7200 feet above sea level). North rim is also closed during colder months, as the lodge and facilities are shut down. Rim-to-rim hiking season is from mid-May to mid-October.

2 days ago

The most physically challenging hike I have ever done but so worth it. Amazing views around every next turn. We did South to North and it took just over 13 hours. It was a full moon so that helped at the end. If you’re prepared and know that it’s a lot of rugged terrain, you’ll enjoy it.

4 days ago

Incredible! My husband and I just finished this yesterday. I did have a too close encounter with a rattlesnake that rattled at me before I even saw it! It was fairly windy at the top of south kaibab but never got too hot down in the canyon (which we were anticipating it to be over 100). It started raining just after we finished hiking. It was exhausting mentally and physically but the views that you witness all along the hike were amazing and worth every ounce of energy.

7 months ago

We were flooded with emotions when we reached the top of North Rim after 10.5 hours of trekking through the most magnificent canyon. A must do for pain seekers!

10 months ago

Did this as a day hike -- about 13 hrs. A long difficult hike but worth every minute. Unbelievable views, and the night sky is incredible. Don't forget to look up!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Awesome... Hope to go back.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day hike. Took Bright Angel down which added two miles but ultimately we were able to start earlier and didn't have to carry more than a liter at a time down since there is so much water.

trail running
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This was the experience of a lifetime. My college roommate and I ran the canyon on May 30th of this year. We punished ourselves by adding an extra 3 miles at the South Rim by running from Yavapi lodge to the South Kaibab trail head and then screamed down. From Rim to Phantom ranch we hit the Ranch in an hour and a half. From there it's an amazingly beautiful traverse on the canyon floor. Word to the wise, however, when you get to the Cottonwood campground the signage claims 7 miles to the North Rim....which is a shockingly tall lie. Maybe as the crow flies but two separate Garmin Fenix5 trail watches disagreed. It's more like 12. It's an extremely punishing ascent from the Canyon floor but we made it out and across in around 8hours 45 minutes. It stood almost double my longest trail run/hike I've ever attempted so it didn't hurt to have an ultramarathoner as a partner. Put it on your list, train and make it happen. You'll never regret it....but remember.....Cottonwood lies :)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Can't even explain how amazing this hike was. Absolutely amazing experience and would certainly do it again. Took a lot of training and my backpack was way too heavy but worth it.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Here's a tip: If you plan on hiking South Rim to North Rim and back in two days during peak season (summer) without a backcountry permit to camp inside the Canyon, don't bother carrying a backpack to camp at the North Rim campsite. Carry a day pack instead with just enough water to last you between sources and snacks to fuel you for a conservative estimate of 12 hours. Plan to stay overnight at the North Rim Lodge. Keep in mind that you will need to get an early start (no later than 3 am) in order to minimize exposure to the extreme summer heat. When we attempted this hike during the first week of June, afternoon temperatures exceeded 110 degrees at Phantom Ranch. It took us about 3 hours to reach the Colorado River from the South Kaibab Trailhead. Sunrise was around 5:30 am (first light around 4:30 am) and it just starts heating up from there on out. By the time you get past the Box, you're contending with an unforgiving uphill trek in full sun all the way to Roaring Springs and the exposure really starts to get to you around Ribbon Falls/Cottonwood Camp. Beyond that, the trail gets really steep until the finish. Although our group was physically fit, our backpacks really weighed us down and we didn't complete the one-way hike at the pace we projected, thus reaching North Rim too late to get a good night's rest before having to do it all again. In the end, we opted to take a $90 shuttle ride back to South Rim. This is the only transportation option between the two Rims (other than hitchhiking) and it takes 4-5 hours. It is definitely an experience worth writing home about and if you're up for the challenge, I can't recommend it enough. But please do your homework; there are a lot of good resources online which will help you access your fitness and manage your expectations. Good luck!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Not for the faint of heart, but not just for the fittest of the fit either. Ali's quote about "the will must be stronger than the will" applies to the completion of this hike in a single day. It is grueling at times. Went the day before Memorial Day and met or was passed by over 225 hikers. Considering this is a 21 mile hike that's a little more than 10 per mile, making this a good hike for solitude. The push up from Cottonwood Campground to the end is where the real exertion occurs. I am 52 in above average (not excellent) shape and I did this hike with my 2 teenage sons in 19 hours. If you are in excellent shape 12 hours or less is very achievable. Just make sure to have we'll broken in hiking shoes and plenty of electrolytes. The views are exceptional along the way, particularly on South Kaibab. Phantom Ranch is very quaint and a stop for lemonade in the canteen is worth it. Definte top 5 hike, and I have hiked a few miles in my time.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Spectacular views of the inner gorge. Two suspension bridges over the Colorado River within sight of each other. Phantom Ranch was everything and more.

25 days ago

4 months ago

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Monday, April 18, 2016

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