South Kaibab and Bright Angel Loop
Level 3: Immersive - Appropriate for athletic families with older kids (teens and above), as well as backpackers with some experience and stamina. Level 3 trips will typically be longer mileage, thus covering more of the Canyon landscape and giving the guest a broader overall experience. These trips will involve mostly well-maintained, but also some unmaintained trails.X
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Total Distance with loaded backpack: 16.5 miles (26.6 km). Elevation loss / gain: -4,780’ / +4,380’ (-1,457 m / +1,336 m)
Day 1: South Rim to Bright Angel campground, via South Kaibab trail. 7.0 miles (11.3 km), -4,780’ (-1,457 m), Difficult. Backpackers begin their trip with a drive from Flagstaff to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. The South Kaibab trail is unique in terms of its intensive construction, ridge-top views, and passage through rare Grand Canyon Supergroup rock layers. Lunch will be enjoyed along the trail. After the demanding hike to the bottom of the Canyon, guests can soak in Bright Angel Creek, visit the banks of the Colorado River, or enjoy a cold drink at the famous Phantom Ranch. En route: no water available; enclosed composting toilets available at Cedar Ridge and the Tipoff. At camp: potable tap water and restrooms available.
Day 2: Bright Angel campground to Indian Garden campground, via River trail and Bright Angel trail. 4.7 miles (7.6 km), +1,320’ (+403 m), Strenuous. After a great breakfast, backpackers will pack up and re-cross the River, then begin the day's hike. Backpackers will travel along riverside sand dunes and up unique corkscrew switchbacks to a hanging valley oasis at Indian Garden. This campground offers day hike opportunities, as well as simple, relaxing shade, picnic tables and lush greenery. Ask your guide for more information. En route: water available in Pipe Creek and Garden Creek below Indian Garden, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; enclosed composting toilets available at River Resthouse. At camp: potable tap water and enclosed composting toilets available.
Day 3: Indian Garden campground to Grand Canyon Village, via Bright Angel trail. 4.8 miles (7.7 km), +3,060’ (+933 m), Strenuous. On the last day, backpackers encounter a challenging steady uphill hike out to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. This upper section of the Bright Angel trail treats hikers to outstanding geological vistas and ancient pictographs. At the top, our backpacking groups relax near the trailhead and savor their accomplishments over a sandwich and cold refreshment. En route: potable tap water (seasonal) and enclosed composting toilets available at Three Mile Resthouse and Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse.