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“To the river and back”
Review of South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail
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Grand Canyon Day Hike Tour from Sedona
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Pisa, Italy
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“To the river and back”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

Everywhere on the net people and authorities advice you NOT to do this. Don't even try to go to the river and back in the same day. Well, my wife and I wanted really bad to see the river, and we didn't have but one day to do this hiking. It was middle of November. We had a hotel room in Williams. It'a at about one hour driving from the Grand Canyon Village. We left the hotel in the morning at about 4am. We reached GC Village at about 5am. There was no ranger at the park entrance, so we didn't have to pay the reservation fee. At 5.30 we took the shuttle bus to the South Kaibab Trail. We started descent in the dark. In about 30mins we started to distinguish shapes and some daylight. The trail is spectacular, with breath-taking views. It took us about 4 hours to get to the river. We crossed the bridge walked about 30mins along the river on the noth side and then crossed the next bridge and started climbing on the Bright Angel Trail. We managed to reach GC Village around 5pm, when it was just getting dark. I think this was one of my best hikings ever. We are both in our thirties doing office work every day, so we are not that fit for hiking. It wasn't easy after all, but it was a challenge. It was great. I wouldn't recommend doing this in the summer though. The trails are all exposed in the sun thus you are supposed to carry a lot of water with you.

Visited November 2012
7 Thank Florin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“beautiful hike”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We (my husband, myself, and sons ages 26,23, and 16) hike the South Kaibab Trail to cedar ridge just before Christmas, and it was magnificent!! We took it slow because there was snow on parts of the trail. Our ascent out was not as bad as we had been led to think by all the reading we had done. The shuttle to the trail head was quick and no problem. We really enjoyed ourselves!!

Visited December 2012
1 Thank momongo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royal Oak, Michigan, United States
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Hiked it in the snow!”
Reviewed January 21, 2013

As my first Grand Canyon experience was in January, I had no idea what to expect and I was somewhat nervous about hiking (especially on steep trails, as I had read here). However I did my research and brought all of the necessary items for a winter hike (Layers: 2 base layers of Hot Chillys, 1 mid layer zip up, and 1 water/windproof outer layer jacket; 2 pairs of Hot Chillys socks; 1 base layer glove and outer layer heavy duty mitten; a balaclava and fleece hat; and waterproof hiking boots). I found that I was perfectly prepared for hiking this trail as far as clothing goes. When it comes to the difficulty of the trail itself - it is a bit steep, but one person in my group had tennis shoes on and she did alright (she did slip and fall twice, however -- so I would not recommend tennis shoes!). My hiking boots were a great brand so I did not necessarily need YakTrax, but it's probably a good idea to have them anyway (buy them on Amazon, they're much cheaper than the price offered at the Visitor Center). Others in my group found themselves a little ill-prepared for the cold in different ways (one person's hands were very cold because she had gloves as opposed to mittens - mittens will keep you much warmer) and others simply didn't have warm enough gear. If you're planning on a winter trip, I'd definitely recommend speaking with other experienced hikers or researching online to make sure you have the right stuff. I listed everything I had above, and that kept me nice and warm the entire time. I even got a little sweaty on the way back up - which is strenuous, by the way. Don't be surprised by that! On the way down, you're so distracted by the amazing views and thrill that you might forget how difficult the way back up will be (at least that's what happened to me!). Don't hike too far down unless you're prepared for the hike back up. If you're not an experienced hiker or if you're not very in-shape, I might suggest just trying to make it to Ooh Ahh point your first time around, and see how you handle the 3/4 mile hike back up (this is still pretty difficult, in my opinion). Just remember it takes probably twice as long to go back up. Plan out your time accordingly - temperatures drop quickly as soon as the sun goes down. Check the sunset times. All that being said about preparedness -- as I mentioned, others in my group weren't as prepared as I was and they made it fine although perhaps a little uncomfortable due to the cold and/or slipping. They made it, but I think the hike will probably be more comfortable if you have the right gear.

All in all, I think another reviewer had it right - don't be scared by the snow and ice!!! I'm so happy I went in January because there were very few people out there (many times it was just our group), which made the experience better in my opinion. If you enjoy less tourists and don't mind gearing up, a winter hike is for you!

Visited January 2013
2 Thank Tara T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Don't be scared off my ice/snow”
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Great, exposed trail all along the ridge! It was snowy/icy the first 2 miles but just fine after that. I would recommend poles and traction devices for that as some parts are narrow.

The best part was because it's winter it's NOT crowded and those you encounter are happy to see you! I love every minute of it!

Visited January 2013
Thank Jennifer W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
“Down and up.”
Reviewed January 8, 2013 via mobile

We hiked the South Kaibab Trail to the river and back on New Years Eve. The morning started out quite foggy with a temp of about 10 degrees, very eerie and beautiful! One knows there is a 1000 ft of exposure, it just can't be seen :-). As the morning wore on the clouds broke some and the sun lit the canyon to create those unique GC vistas.

The boot spikes we wore made the top of the path very passable. As usual there were people walking in tennis shoes and even dress shoes. Go figure.

About 3 miles in we we able to remote our spikes for the rest of the hike to the bottom. We took our time going down to take in the beauty and take lots of pics. The hike down was about 4 hours to the bridge.

We spent about 4.5 hours hiking back to the rim. There were quite a few others on the trail to meet and greet along the way. In my opinion this is the best time of year for hiking the GC as the risk of over heating is low and one can layer as needed to stay warm. The snow in my opinion makes it even more unique. Plenty of water is still required as you will sweat and the air is dry. For 3 of us we carried 9 quarts of water and drank it all.

Thank Chucklesbro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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