South Kaibab Trail

The Mother of killer trails

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Day hike or backpack
If you’re backpacking to the river, take this steep 7-mile trail down and the less steep but longer Bright Angel Trail up. If you want stunning views and a true canyon experience, day hike below the rim on this steep but family-friendly, well-maintained trail.

The South Kaibab trail follows ridgelines while Bright Angel traverses fault-line canyon bottoms. Don’t try to count the switchbacks and forget about shade, but the ridgeline descent gives the most spectacular panoramas in the park. In mid-summer, avoid hiking below Skeleton Point between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when temps in the inner canyon soar beyond 100 F. Backpackers should start before dawn and plan 5-6 hours to the river.

For day hikers, roundtrip to Ooh Aah Point (1.8 miles, 590 ft. drop) takes 1-2 hours and to Cedar Ridge (3 miles roundtrip, 1,120 ft. drop) 2-4 hours. Day hikers are advised against going past Skeleton Point, 6 miles round-trip, 2,040-ft. drop. The Hikers’ Express shuttle from Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Office reaches the trailhead near Yaki Point at 5, 6, and 7 a.m. in the summer. The Kaibab East Shuttle from the Visitor Center also stops at the trailhead.

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