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“1st timer” 5 of 5 stars
Review of South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail
Along the side road to Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
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Type: Hiking Trails, Trails, Outdoor Activities, Nature & Parks
Activities: Hiking
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Attraction details
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.
Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“1st timer”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

Went with a big group, it took over 4 hours to hike down and closer to 5 to hike up. Stayed at Phantom Ranch overnight to rest my legs but they were still really sore hiking up. Would only recommend if you are used to hiking in elevation.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

I am scared to death of heights so I think the fact that we got uo ay 4:00 am to catch the first shuttle to yje South Kaibab Trail was what did the trick. I have alway dreamed of seeing the Grand Canyon so just being there was AWESOME!!! With my fear I figured I do all my seeing from the top and afar but going down the trail in the dark with a flashlight was actally perfect because I couldn't see the huge dropoffs to the side of me. The trail wasn't nearly as hard as I had anticipated. I have very bad knees but made it to OOH AAK Point just fine. The SUNRISE was soooo worth it. The rocks just take on all kinds of colors as the sun begins to hit them. We didn't go any further because of the knees and was afraid climb back up would be too hard. We spoke to folks that were going all the way t o the bottom. HOW COOL! They had sent there tents and gear with the mules that were going down later and hiked down. I didn't know you could do that. The climb back up was harder as expected. We just took it slow and easy and made it fine. It is filled with switchbacks some steep, but if my knees and I made it most anyone can. Now I will say there was probably a lot of adrenal helping me along 'cause as I said this was my lifetime dream trip. Be sure to take your own water as there is no fill point unless you go on down about 1 1/2 mi. farther and back at the top.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new jersey
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
233 reviews 233 reviews
65 attraction reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
80 helpful votes 80 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
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
71 helpful votes 71 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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