South Kaibab Trail Description
All- Star Grand Canyon Tours leads hiking and backpacking tours in Grand Canyon, one of the hardest places in the world to hike; we design backpacking & day-hiking trips that are best suited for your family or group. The South Kaibab Trail is one of the two corridor trails or superhighways of the Grand Canyon, that are considered to be the easiest hikes in Grand Canyon. The other corridor trail is the Bright Angel Trail. These trails are well maintained and they are wide enough to accommodate the mules of Grand Canyon. Unlike the Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge into Grand Canyon, and offers very little shade. Because of this exposure the South Kaibab Trail offers some of the finest views of Grand Canyon, but can be quite hot in the summer months. There are not and watering points along the South Kaibab Trail so hikers need to fill up at the trailhead, and have enough water to reach the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch where there is water. Toilets are located at the trailhead, Cedar Ridge (1.5 miles down the trail), the Tipoff (4.4 miles down the trail), and at the end of the trail, where the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch are located.
History of the South Kaibab Trail:
In 1919, the National Park Service gained control of the the Grand Canyon. At the time one of its first goals was to regulate all commercial interests. Prospectors and early tour operators controlled much of Grand Canyon at the time, and one of the few ways to access the inner canyon was on the Bright Angel Trail controlled and tolled by Ralph Cameron. The National Park Service tried to get control of the Bright Angel Trail for five years, Cameron refused. The National Park Service officials decided rather than dealing with Mr. Cameron they would build their own trail to the Colorado River, the South Kaibab Trail. Latter they built the North Kaibab, the first trans-canyon trail leaving from the Grand Canyon Village area.
Mileages are as follows (one-way):
- Cedar Ridge - 1.5 miles
- The Tipoff (Tonto Trail junction) - 4.4 miles
- Indian Garden (via Tonto Trail) - 8.8 miles
- Indian Garden (via River Trail and Bright Angel Trail ) - 12 miles
- Colorado River (River Trail) - 6.2 miles
- Bright Angel Campground - 6.4 miles
- Phantom Ranch - 6.9 miles
- North Rim (via North Kaibab) - 20.9 miles
- Rim - 7200'
- Cedar Ridge - 5200', 2000' below rim
- Colorado River - 2420', 4780' below rim
Pros and Cons of Hiking/ Backpacking the South Kaibab Trail
- Well developed and maintained trail with bathroom facilities conveniently located along the trail.
- Developed Campgrounds
- Well traveled trail with more park rangers and emergency crew than other remote trails
- Hike can be mule supported
- Phantom Ranch has meals and beverages that can be enjoyed..... even alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine
- Great family hike
- Good beginner hike
- For those not interested in camping, cabins and dormitories are available.
- Can be part of a Rim to Rim Hike
- When Backpacking or hiking Grand Canyon with All-Star Grand Canyon Tours, you have the best guides in the Four Corners Region.
- Can be crowded
- Campgrounds can be loud
- No water along trail
- Very little shade
- Mule traffic