We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A "Short" Route to the River” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail
Book In Advance
More Info
$178.99*
and up
Grand Canyon Day Hike Tour from Sedona
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Chico, CA
Level Contributor
141 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
“A "Short" Route to the River”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2013

The South Kaibab Trail is the shortest route to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, about six miles from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch. It weaves down through some amazing geology and then leads to the tunnel and bridge across the river to Phantom Ranch. The shortness of the trail, though, is due to its steepness, which might be an advantage on the way down, but is NOT on the way back up. It's actually wiser, if you're hiking back up to the South Rim, to continue on the trail downriver and take the longer but easier Bright Angel Trail back to the top.
Do NOT take the South Kaibab Trail back up in the summer. The trail is exposed to the relentless sun for its entire length, and there is no water to be found. Don't be fooled by its seemingly short distance into thinking you can be on top faster by taking it. That's a mistake. There is water and shade, along with more hikers, on the Bright Angel.
Every year there are hikers who think they can hike to the bottom and then back to the top in a single day. Only the hardiest are capable of this effort. I would strongly recommend against the effort unless you're extremely fit and well-prepared.
Even the shortest route, down the South Kaibab and back up it, is at least 12 miles, with an elevation loss and then re-gain of from around 7500 feet to around 2500 feet, nearly a vertical mile.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Soggiorno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,174 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    999
    163
    8
    4
    0
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Villa Park, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Excellent starting point”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2013

Went down to Phantom Ranch- spent the night. Went to Bright angel- spent the night. Went up to the top on Bright Angel. 3 day 2 night trip

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Michele M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“My favorite if the corridor trails.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 2013

Beautiful trail. Best views of Grand Canyon from this trail. It is the shortest of the corridor trails and the steepest.

There is no water or shade on this trail, but there are 2 pit toilets.

The trail has a high amount of traffic and you will often find park rangers on the trail.

As you travel down the trail you are promised sweeping panoramas of the canyon and great views of the river.

If you are headed to the river, this trail is a must.

If you are out for a day hike stop at cedar ridge

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank beauxp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manasquan, New Jersey
Level Contributor
72 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Take this trail if you have a day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 7, 2013

We had half a day, actually, and made it down to Cedar Ridge, which was just enough to get well down into the layers of geological history and be absolutely awed by the canyon as you go down, and then back up. No part of this stretch is overly steep, so if you are in reasonably good shape, it's a perfect way to get a real feel for the canyon. The rim trails are really no comparison. I researched to find the best trail for a half day, on a spring day, and came up with this one. Indispensable advice for spring or fall: wear layers. Temps varied probably 20+ degrees for us, between the wide temp swings that exist in the arid environment anyway, and the fact that you are descending 1500 feet if you go as far as Cedar Ridge (i.e. warmer). And remember that you are exerting yourself more on the way back up, and it will likely be a warmer part of the day by then, so you will feel much warmer even as you hike back up. Bring a pack big enough to carry not only your water bottles, but all the layers you've removed!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank AFamilyAdventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leavenworth, Kansas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“An Excellent Adventure with Breathtaking Views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2013

My husband and I hiked the South Kaibab Trail down to Cedar Ridge (the second official stop on the trail). The hike was 5.2 km roundtrip, with an elevation change of approximately 1100 feet. The views are breathtaking, and we found ourselves stopping many times on the way down to take photos of the scenery. Cedar Ridge was a great place to stop and have some lunch. There are outhouses located at Cedar Ridge and they were very clean. Be advised that there is relatively no shade on the trail, and there is also no water. Be sure to follow the hiking guidelines that the park provides, as hiking on the trail can be very strenuous. The hike back up will likely take you twice as long as the hike down took. We highly recommend wearing hiking shoes/boots, wearing a hat, wearing sunscreen, and bringing lots of water. I brought 3 litres of water in my Camelback, and I had drank nearly all of it by the end of the hike. Be sure to bring lots of snacks as well, as you will expend a lot of energy during the hike. We loved this hike and definitely want to return to hike further into the canyon on an overnight trip. We had a chance to hike Bright Angel Trail as well during our trip. If you have time, we recommend hiking both trails, as they offer different views and they are both spectacular!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank CDN_Adventurers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed South Kaibab Trail also viewed

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
 
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
 

Been to South Kaibab Trail? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing