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Grand Canyon National Park - OutdoorPlaces.Com
Destinations > Grand Canyon NP > South Rim > 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 

Corridor Trails, South Rim

 

 
Unlike the North Rim, there are a number of trails that zigzag down into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim.  The Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab Trail, and the un-maintained Grandview Trail all go to the Colorado River, about 5,000 feet below.  The un-maintained Hermits Rest Trail connects to a series of trails that will lead you to the bottom of the Canyon.  Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is serious business.  Extreme heat and terrain make for difficult hiking conditions.  Every year there are senseless tragedies at Grand Canyon mostly due to ill-prepared hikers.

You must be in very good physical condition to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back.  It is a 16 to 28 mile round trip (depending on the route and side trips you take) that can not be completed in a day.  As you descent 1,000 feet in altitude, the air temperature will go up from 3 to 6 degrees.  That means if it is 85 at the Bright Angel Trailhead and could be as hot as 115 degrees on the canyon floor.  When the editors of OutdoorPlaces.Com were at the Grand Canyon this year, there were two fatalities, one heat related and one a tragic fall from one of the observation points on the South Rim.

You should start your descent as early in the day as possible.  Arizona does not follow daylight savings time, so sunrise in late June can come as early as 5:10 AM.  Sometimes trail access is restricted due to extreme heat at the bottom of the canyon.  You can call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1 to get the latest trail conditions.  You should not hike during the heat of the day (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM).  Make sure to carry plenty of water, and a full complement of gear, even if you plan to stay at the Phantom Ranch at the base of the canyon.

Backcountry permits and a reservation at the Phantom Ranch if you plan to stay there are required for hikers going to the bottom of the canyon.  Backcountry Permits need to be obtained well in advance to your hike, at least six months before is ideal.  You can write to the Backcountry Office, PO BOX 129, Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023 to request your permit.  You can fill out an online form to print and send to the above address or fax to (520) 638-2125.  You can also call (520) 638-7875 to speak with some one in the Backcountry Permit office directly, keeping in mind that they will not be able to take your application over the phone.  If you complete the online form you will have to print it out and mail or fax it. The National Park Service has no provisions to apply online for a backcountry permit.  Click here to fill out the form  If you have an advanced reservation at the Phantom Ranch,, you do not need to apply for a backcountry permit.

Hikers wishing to go on a waiting list for permits can apply in person at the Backcountry Office located by the Maswik Transportation Center, just west of the Historic District.  Office hours are from 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon, and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  There are no guarantees you will get a slot to hike down if you are on the wait list. 

You can take the South Kaibab Loop Shuttle Bus to reach the South Kaibab Trailhead.  You can take the West Rim Loop Shuttle Bus to get to the Hermits Rest Trailhead.  The Grandview Trailhead is located on the East Rim Drive, about nine miles east of the Grand Canyon Visitors Center.  There is a parking lot where you can leave your vehicle and hike down.

View Of The Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States, Copyright 1999, OutdoorPlaces.Com, All Rights ReservedUltimately you are responsible for your own safety when hiking into the canyon.  You should never hike the inner canyon alone.  Make sure to take a map, a navigation device and know how to use them.  GPS receivers can have problems in some areas in the canyon so be sure to take a compass.  Carry at least one gallon of water and know your limitations  Hikers that are deemed to have put themselves or others at risk, or are ill-equipped can be arrested and/or fined.  People requiring a rescue effort can be billed for the associated rescue costs.  The National Park Service responds to approximately 400 medical emergencies in the Grand Canyon each year.

Bright Angel Trail

Trailhead Location & Access:  West Rim Shuttle Bus Interchange, close to Kolb Studio
Type:  overnight
Length:  7.7 miles to Canyon floor, 9.3 miles to Bright Angel Camp one way
Hiking Time:  4 to 5 hours down, 8 to 9 hours up - do not attempt in one day
Difficulty
:  strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 4,400 feet in altitude in 7.7 miles to the Colorado River.  Take the suspension bridge across to the Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch on the North Rim side of the river.  Day hikers may want to go to the 1-1/2 Mile Resthouse, a 3 mile round trip that takes 2-1/2 to 4 hours complete with 1,140 feet of vertical change, or the 3 Mile Resthouse, a 6 mile round trip that takes 4 to 6 hours to complete with 1,940 feet of vertical change.  Water can be obtained from May through September at the 1-1/2 Mile Resthouse and the 3 Mile Resthouse.  Toilets and an emergency phone are available at the 1-1/2 Mile Resthouse.

Indian Garden about 3,000 feet descent in altitude in 4.6 miles to Ranger Station at 2/3 mark to the canyon floor.  Water, toilets, emergency phone, a ranger station, campsites, and picnic tables can be found here.

Bright Angel Camp about 4,400 feet descent in altitude in 9.3 miles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Drinking water, toilets, a ranger station, picnic tables, campsites and  an emergency phone are available.

Phantom Ranch about 4,300 feet descent in altitude in 9.6 miles to Phantom Ranch.  Water, toilets, food, lodging, and emergency phone are available.  There is no camping or ranger station.  Reservations are required.  You can call 303-297-2757 to make your reservations with the Phantom Ranch.  They should be made at least six months in advance.

Before hiking the Bright Angel Trail you should check with park rangers for specific conditions or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

South Kaibab Trail

Trailhead Location & Access:  The South Kaibab Trailhead is located about 1/4 of a mile south of Yaki Point.  You can take the Kaibab Loop Shuttle Bus to the trailhead.  Motor vehicles are not allowed.  The bus runs from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, every 1/2 hour.
Type:  overnight
Length:  6 miles to Canyon floor, 6.4 miles to Bright Angel Campground, and 6.9 miles to the Phantom Ranch one way
Hiking Time:  3 to 4 hours down, 6 to 8 hours up not recommended to hike up - do not attempt a round trip in one day, take Bright Angel Trail for return
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 4,700 feet in altitude in 6.0 miles to the Colorado River.  Take the suspension bridge across to the Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch on the North Rim side of the river.  Day hikers may want to go to Cedar Ridge, a 3 mile round trip that takes 2-1/2 to 4 hours complete with 940 feet of vertical change.  Water can only be obtained at the trailhead.  There are toilet facilities at Cedar Ridge and the Tonto Trail Junction 3,260 vertical feet down and 4.6 miles on your hike.  An emergency phone is also located at the Tonto Trail Junction.

Bright Angel Camp about 4,700 feet descent in altitude in 6.4 miles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Drinking water, toilets, a ranger station, picnic tables, campsites and  an emergency phone are available.

Phantom Ranch about 4,600 feet descent in altitude in 6.9 miles to bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Water, toilets, food, lodging, and emergency phone are available.  There is no camping or ranger station.  Reservations are required.  You can call 303-297-2757 to make your reservations with the Phantom Ranch.  They should be made at least six months in advance.

Before hiking the South Kaibab Trail you should check with park rangers for specific conditions or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.  Round trips on the South Kaibab Trail, or using the trail on a through hike from the North Rim is not recommended.