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“use walking sticks!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail
Along the side road to Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
928-638-7888
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Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Hiking
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Owner description: One of the two superhighways into the Canyon, the other being the Bright Angel Trail, this path runs along a ridge offering stunning views. During the summer, visitors are advised to bring at least two quarts of water along because it can get very hot and the trail offers no shade.
new jersey
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“use walking sticks!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

the best trail ever!!!!!!!!!!!!
a few tips:
1. wear layers! but don't wear too many. wear layers that can fold easily
2. each hiker should have their own backpack
3. bring 4L water per person!
4. really good hiking shoes
5. wear light but form-fitting attire. no baggy pants. the mud can weigh on the pants
6. pack fruit, nuts, BANANAS, hat, high energy bars, eat small frequent snacks. don't overload on a huge meal or you'll vomit.
7. please please please use walking sticks! the terrain is very icy with lots of mule poop. you don't want to fall on the poop. then, it gets really muddy with mule poop. you don't want to get stuck in mudpoop. then it gets real steep! you don't want to roll in mulepoop and frothy pee!

the hike down is faster. took us 2 hours to hike down. the hike up takes 4 hours. my husband and i did this trail the first time ever, and the caliber of difficulty at its highest. we are athletic but i consider myself out of shape (after the holidays!). we managed with the altitude and the rigorous terrain changes. but we made it 1 mile past skeleton point (BAD IDEA!). when they say, "don't go past skeleton point for a day hike" .. listen to it!! we were dumb because we thought we could see greater views as we near each bend. but trust me.. the grand canyon is GRAND and we're that small... all the views that you see are going to look the same as you descent. so please, if you're going to do a day hike... stop at skeleton point, and go back up. b/c you'll waste your energy on ascending back up (and that last mile after skeleton point is STEEP!!) listen to the advice!!!

definitely going back to do the other hikes and to finally make it down to the colorado river!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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montana
Level Contributor
292 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Killer views!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

I started early as I was hiking down and back up in one day. I highly recommend hiking down at least one hour. Experiencing the Grand Canyon from the rim is nice but it is so much better when you take the time to go down a ways into the Canyon. It is a totally different experience. If you are able hiking to the bottom is awesome but it really is a BIG hike. The way back up will really give you a work out. Doing it in one day is NOT recommended but since I hike a lot I did it and loved it. I went up the Bright Angel trail. Which is also very nice.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
51 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Best views while descending into the Canyon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

I was out for a hike to Phantom Ranch (1 night) and back the next day second week of January. Park Rangers adviced me the "classic" loop: down South Kaibab Trail (SKT), up Bright Angel Trail (BAT). Some reasons for that:
1. views, views, views...SKT definitely has the best views of the Canyon and those are best enjoyed while descending, 2. SKT of course is steeper, so most people (not all!) would prefer going down the steeper trail and 3. SKT has no water or shade (consideration in summer); both needed most during the ascend.

The trail is in absolutely perfect condition. The first 1/2 mile were snow covered (not really icy) and very well accessible with my rugged hiking/mountaineering boots. I bought YakTrax at the bookstore that made hiking on the snow very comfortable (worth the $25). Rest of the trail is just plain easy to hike down. I arrived at Phantom Ranch (7.5 miles, 3800ft elevation difference) exactly 3 hrs after my start. I did not take breaks besides taking some pictures.
The trail is 7,5 mile with an average 16% grade (to put things in perspective: the Upper Yosemite Falls hike, for those who've done it, is over 22% following the much rougher 4 mile trail)

See my review of Phantom Ranch for my thoughts on (staying at) the bottom of the Canyon, if interested.

I doubted extensively taking SKT back up or BAT. I decided to follow the rangers advice and complete the loop using BAT, despite it being 3 miles longer. It certainly was a good choice. BAT is a totally different trail, wider and easier, but also very nice. During winter the trail is just empty and the solitude was just great! Last 3 miles were snow covered and little slippery. I would have managed without, but was very happy wearing my YakTrax again. They are like airconditioning in summer, you can manage without, but once used to it, you don't want to!

I hiked up to the Rim in 5 hours, taking two 15 minutes breaks (at Indian Gardens and 3-mile house). Nutrition (fix and fluid) and consistent pace are the key words. In summer heat is the enemy, in winter...there was none, not the snow, not the record cold (20F at noon at the Rim!) and not the fresh now. Did only the Plateau Point loop in summer once and it "killed" me, now I know it was the heat *only*, that made it a struggle.

Would do this hike again anytime....but summer: dangerously hot and way to crowded!!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wiickenburg, AZ
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Like Hiking in an Unreal Photo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

This is my favorite Grand Canyon trail. The trail follows a ridge line so the views are unbelievable. The Grand Canyon views change around every corner. The trail is very hot in the summer with no water sources and can be icy in winter. The trail takes you to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watertown, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“This trail is better the Bright Angel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

This trail has better views in my opinion than the Bright Angel trail. We did portions of both on our stay and if we go back we're picking this one again for sure. Make sure you are prepared for the hike!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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