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The Grand Canyon: Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail

HARD 25 reviews
#17 of 88 trails in

The Grand Canyon: Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail is a 17.5 mile lightly 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 March until November.

DISTANCE
17.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5282 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Experience the Grand Canyon like few others with this unforgettable 2-3 day trip down into the canyon. If you are looking for the perfect hike in the Grand Canyon, this is it. The 2 (or 3) day hike will take you down into the canyon to where few visitors have the privilege of going. Although the Bright Angel trail is not as steep and has more shade cover and water, the views from the South Kaibab trail are unbeatable. It is best to start from the South Kaibab, hike down to the Bright Angel campground, and back up the Bright Angel trail. This way you get a change of scenery and can hike up where there is more available water. If you have a few more days to spare, you can spend another night at the Bright Angel campground (there are some good day hikes from there), or spend a night at Indian Garden on the way back up to the Rim. However long you stay, it will be an experience to remember for a long time, as there is no better way to see the Grand Canyon that by staring up at it from the river below.

hiking
14 days ago

Hike results of the S. Kiabab trail down and Bright Angel up, 16.5miles, 43,000steps, 33min per mile pace, 8hours 53minutes, elevation gain 4700ft, 4000calories burned 3Nov17 completed by Jeremy Scott Brinkerhoff Merissa Wells Brinkerhoff, Charlie Clark Suzanne Clark, Chad Dixson, Guillaume Gauvain Delphine Gauvain, Ryan Ingram Sarah Ingram, Melissa Owens and C Jason Owens.

17 days ago

This hike is difficult for sure but oh so worth it! We started our hike in the dark and ended in the dark. Sticks & headlamps are a must plus plenty of food and water. When planning for this hike, plan on carrying a 15# pack. We hiked this in late September and the weather was perfect!

hiking
23 days ago

Did this with two friends in June of 2016 as a fairly beginner hiker, rim to river and back in a day. We did it in 10.5 hours, starting around 5:30am and finishing at 4pm. Heat index was 120-deg. F at the river that day. Packed plenty of snacks and food, as well as water/electrolyte tablets. Had our Camelbaks for water as well as additional bottles. I will say I was lagging behind my friends that day and probably could have been in better shape for this hike. Also recommend covered arms and maybe even legs in the summer months, as I was getting pretty tired with the heat. Almost thought I wouldn’t finish, but again, I was really a beginner hiker. Definitely doable in a day, even as an inexperienced hiker, with the right gear, meticulous preparation, and some level of fitness.

hiking
28 days ago

1 month ago

We did this hike mid-October. Down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel is recommended; former is shorter but steeper. Neither trail is too technical, and both are very well maintained. Took us 8 hours all in; we are 52 and pretty fit. MUSTS: Start early, wear hats and good shoes/socks, take lots of water and hi-energy snacks, and use poles if you have them. It was truly the most amazing hike we've ever done. Hubby got 42000 steps on his FitBit!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiking in Grand Canyon:
Growing up in India, my brother and I had done trekking to Himalayan glaciers during high school years. After coming to USA I always wanted to go hiking with my brother to some memorable spot. But the opportunity never arose until my brother turned 40 this year and wanted to do something special on his birthday. We decided to hike down the South Rim of Grand Canyon in the National Park area. But since we didn’t make our plans well in advance, finding lodging at the bottom of the canyon at Phantom Ranch was out of question. My brother suggested we hike down and up in a single day. Initially I wasn’t too excited about the idea as I felt we wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I must confess that I am not in the best shape and apart from some weekend tennis I haven’t exercised regularly. Also, the weather in the month of April is not predictable. But I went along with the idea, thinking that we can always turn back midway. We settled on going down by South Kaibab trail and coming up the relatively gentler but longer Bright Angel trail. As I warmed up to the idea sufficiently, we reserved our room at Yavapai Lodge in Grand Canyon Village and bought our airline tickets flying in on Friday and out on Sunday.
I had planned to go on a diet and do regular exercise in preparation for the hike but never got around doing it. The fateful weekend arrived too soon. I flew from Philadelphia to Phoenix and my brother joined me there around 5 PM. We picked our rental car and started driving towards Grand Canyon. On the way we stopped in Flagstaff for dinner and bought some supplies for the hike. As we resumed on our journey it started to snow! It was past 11 PM by the time we reached Grand Canyon Village and there was an inch of snow on the ground. We headed to our lodge to get our room keys, not knowing what tomorrow had in store for us. As we checked-in the ranger at the front desk casually asked us what our plans were during our stay. We boastfully proclaimed our intentions to hike down the canyon. When he learned that we did not have reservation at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of Grand Canyon he admonished us not to attempt the hike all the way down. Instead he advised us to hike up to certain points on South Kaibab trail and do a reality-check about whether to proceed further or to turn back. We listened to him intently and were starting to have serious doubts about our plan. That night we slept nervously and just as we were beginning to catch some deep sleep it was daybreak.
We dressed in multiple layers of clothes and cautiously headed out. It was sunny outside but the roads were slippery. After a change of shuttle buses we reached the trailhead at Yaki Point little past 7 AM and were immediately struck by the beautiful scenery. It seemed surreal to be there with the vast canyon before our eyes. There was some light dusting of snow at the top of the canyon but down below it looked clear. We headed down the canyon capturing the amazing vistas with our cameras. We passed Ooh Aah Point, the first of the three turnaround points the ranger had told us about, and continued towards Cedar Ridge a little later where we stopped for refreshments before resuming on our hike. In a couple of hours we reached Skeleton Point, the last turnaround point. But we hadn’t even seen Colorado River up to that point and decided to proceed further. After a short hike down we caught our first glimpse of the river. It appeared so far below that we could barely see it. Since our hike had been relatively painless thus far, we decided to hike all the way down. We went through some amazing desert terrain and passed a mule train. After some time we could see one of the bridges over the river but our legs were shaking by this point. Traversing some steep switchbacks we finally reached Colorado River and crossed it at Silver Bridge. We munched on our power bars by the river bank, congratulating ourselves on making it this far without too much sweat. We took in the view and it seemed like we were in a mini canyon as the top of Grand Canyon was not even visible. We had no idea what we were in store for on our way back.
After a brief halt we started back up. The Bright Angel trail rose gently along the river. We reached a small waterfall on Pipe Creek and the water felt refreshing on our faces. But as we looked up we could see sheer cliffs and the enormity of the hike ahead started to sink in. Each step forward was getting laborious. Realizing that we didn’t need that many layers of clothing we peeled them off one by one. It made a big difference as we continued on, aiming to reach the half way point called Indian Garden before taking any more rest breaks. I was beginning to fall behind so we decided to go at our own pace. I managed to reach Indian Garden 15 minutes behind my brother and immediately lied down. I was beginning to have serious misgivings about the hike and had a few choice words to say to my brother (which I later rec

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Nothing else like looking at the sunrise on the canyon. Beautiful with clouds being lit up and the sun casting shadows on the eroded rock sides. All stops are gorgeous at most any time of the day. The bright angel trail is really windy in the spring time. Sunrise is an experience you can't forget.

hiking
2 months ago

a couple of times...
only downfall is dodging the mules and what they leave behind.

3 months ago

We hiked this trail in March 2015. All 8 of us(3 ladies and 5 men)finished the whole trip within 10 hours. It is one of the best trails we hiked. Highly recommended for experienced hikers.

7 months ago

backpacking
8 months ago

I did this hike with my wife back in 09. My first time doing it and her second. This is the best way to do this. Down the South Kaibab and up Bright Angel. We camped out one night at BA and then hiked half way out to Indian Garden and camped our second night there. Hiked out on the 3rd day. It's a long slog down the S Kaibab and you're feeling it when you get to the bottom. The views along this trail are the best for sure. Be prepared. The best months are April and October. Most don't realize how hot it is at the bottom when the rim feels quite nice. In the dead of summer, the bottom is equal to Phoenix in temps!!

hiking
10 months ago

We did this hike in one day during one of the biggest storms of the year. Because the shuttle didn't show, we added an extra two miles by hiking the Rim Trail first, which was covered in about one and a half feet of snow, to get to South Kaibab. We followed this all the way to the River Trail and then retuned up via the Bright Angel trail. After passing Bright Angel Camp, we were getting lots of rain and when it turned to snow, we had to push up the last two and a half miles in heavy snow (and it was dark). It was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't fairly fit or used to endurance sports. Overall, it was about 21 miles and it took 11 and a half hours at an average pace of 32 minutes per mile. 5843 gain in elevation!!!

backpacking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

A group of us did this trail in one day, started at 7AM and finished about 5PM. The views are breathtaking all the way through the trail. This trail is a must do if you are at the grand canyon. P.S only attempt this in 1 day if you have good endurance.

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Sunday, October 23, 2016

A group of friends and I completed this hike in one day. It was absolutely breathtaking! Going down to the Colorado river and seeing the suspension bridges was so worth it. Indian garden was a great place to rest in the shade by the creek and have lunch before finishing the hike.