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South Kaibab Trail

Hikers seeking panoramic views unparalleled on any other trail at Grand Canyon will want to consider a hike down the South Kaibab Trail.

photo: Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Length: 7.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: National Park Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Camping
Equestrian - Riding
Equestrian - Pack trips
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running

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Location: At Grand Canyon Nat. Park, links trailhead near Yaki Pt. down to Colorado R.
State(s): Arizona
Counties: Coconino
Longitude: -112.08353
Latitude: 36.0533

Driving Directions

South Rim is 60 miles north of I 40 at Williams, via highway 64 and 80 miles NW of Flagstaff via highway 180.

Description

Hikers seeking panoramic views unparalleled on any other trail at Grand Canyon will want to consider a hike down the South Kaibab Trail. It is the only trail at Grand Canyon National Park that so dramatically holds true to a ridgeline descent. But this exhilarating sense of exposure to the vastness of the canyon comes at a cost: there is little shade and no water for the length of this trail. During winter months, the constant sun exposure is likely to keep most of the trail relatively free of ice and snow. For those who insist on hiking during summer months, which is not recommended in general, this trail is the quickest way to the bottom (it has been described as "a trail in a hurry to get to the river"), but due to lack of any water sources, ascending the trail can be a dangerous proposition.

The South Kaibab Trail is a modern route, having been constructed as a means by which park visitors could bypass Ralph Cameron's Bright Angel Trail. Cameron, who owned the Bright Angel Trail and charged a toll to those using it, fought dozens of legal battles over several decades to maintain his personal business rights. These legal battles inspired the Santa Fe Railroad to build its own alternative trail, the Hermit Trail, beginning in 1911 before the National Park Service went on to build the South Kaibab Trail beginning in 1924. In this way, Cameron inadvertently contributed much to the greater network of trails currently available for use by canyon visitors.

Additional Details

Width: 48 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
1981

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: National Park Service - trail details

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(520) 638-9734 ext. 2

 

Photos

 Photo by Christopher Spencer.

Photo by Christopher Spencer.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

 

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

 

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience maintaining the South Kaibab Trail. Photo by Jessica Plance.

 

The first view point (which I call

The first view point (which I call "Oh, Boy! Point") is a short distance from the trailhead. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

This happy hiker is returning to the trailhead. Did she make it to the bottom or to Ooh Ah Point?. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

This happy hiker is returning to the trailhead. Did she make it to the bottom or to Ooh Ah Point?. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

 

These hikers are returning to the trailhead. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

These hikers are returning to the trailhead. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

Hikers share the trail with mules transporting other visitors. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

Hikers share the trail with mules transporting other visitors. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

 

This hiker is returning to the trailhead, which is around the next bend. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

This hiker is returning to the trailhead, which is around the next bend. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

View from the trailhead. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

View from the trailhead. Photo by Valerie A. Russo.

 

 Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Photo by Glenn Olsson.

 Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Photo by Glenn Olsson.

 

 Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Photo by Glenn Olsson.

 Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Photo by Glenn Olsson.

 

 Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Ohh Ahh Point on 35mm film. Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Ohh Ahh Point on 35mm film. Photo by Glenn Olsson.

Reviews

Beautiful view of the Canyon

When reading about the canyon before visiting, I came a cross a quote that read; "You haven't fully experienced the canyon until you have walked into it", which is a really good quote. When you first see its massiveness you are obviously very impressed, but walking down into it has a way greater effect on you. The South Kaibab Trail is quite steep and might not be for the mass, but if you think you can make it I'd say go for it. Sadly we were in somewhat of a hurry so we only got part-way through the trail, but it was stunning all the way

November 25, 2019

 

 

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