South to North Kalbab Trail

HARD 1 reviews
#60 of 82 trails in

South to North Kalbab Trail is a 33.1 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until October.

DISTANCE
33.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
12677 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

hiking

river

views

rocky

no dogs

backpacking
5 months ago

For all the people who have done this hike, I can't believe no one has reviewed this yet. It has to be one of the top 10 classic hikes in this country if you ask me. My wife has done it twice, and this was my first time doing it. She and my son joined me and we headed down the South Kaibab on Halloween of 2015. For anyone who has not hiked down into the canyon, don't think it's easy just cause you're going downhill. It is a long haul to Bright Angel campground, regardless of the miles involved, and your joints and legs and feet are feeling it when you get there. Incredible views down this trail as it follows ridge lines and not canyons. We made it down in 5 hours which is pretty typical for us, as we have been down to the river before. We spent one night camped out in the BA campground. The next a.m. we headed out from there and were destined for Cottonwood campground for the next night. This is now the North Kaibab trail. It is nice and level for the first several miles as it just follows Bright Angel creek. Very shady in here as well. They call this section "the box". Once out of the box, you are back into sunshine and it was pretty warm that day, for that time of year. We got to the cut off to Ribbon Falls and hid our packs along the trail, and walked up to the falls. Very cool spot, worth the side trek to see it. It's only a quarter of a mile or so one way. After the falls, we continued hiking up to Cottonwood. With our little jaunt to Ribbon Falls, the total for the day was just over 8 1/2 miles. The last day was our long climb out. We left early and got going while it was cool. We made the cut off to Roaring Springs Canyon in about an hour and 45 minutes. This is where you bear left and BA creek goes right. Now it was a steady climb thru the red wall and beyond to get to the North Rim. This is quite an impressive stretch of trail here. Some big drop offs along this. Not for the faint of heart. Once above the red wall, you lose a little elevation as the trail drops down to the canyon floor and crosses a bridge to the other side. Then it's steady climbing again until you get back into the trees. The last couple miles are tough as you are pretty beat by now. An awesome hike as one would expect, but it is tough, no way around that. Every time I have hiked down, it has been tough. Going down, and coming back up. This is not for the casual day hiker. But it is worth getting in shape for and doing, as it is rewarding to say that you have seen the canyon that way.