**note: due to the massive amount of pictures during this trail, I will split the pictures into two pairs: one depicting the first half of the trail and one showing the second half of the trail, which you will see in the middle of the page.**
Overview - Date/Time: March 30, 2017/ ~10:00am - Weather Conditions: Clear skies, windy as you ascend - Time Duration: 6 hours - Distance: 6 miles and 1500 ft elevation change Difficulty: (pretty) strenuous
This hike will challenge you physically, as you descend 1500 feet down to the end of this trail only to find yourself fighting to catch a breath as you go up the steep incline. However, the difficulty is matched by the grand views of the canyon, which get even better as you go further into the canyon. Be sure to bring lots of water and snacks to replenish your energy and don’t hesitate to take lots of breaks as well. As you go through the trail, the canyon opens itself up more and more to you and you will be able to see parts of the Grand Canyon that you can’t see just by staying up on the cliffside where you started, making the steep inclines and strong winds bearable.
Immediately as you approach the start of the trail, you look down to see the windy stair like path, accompanied by a nice view of the canyon in the distance. As you go down the trail, take notice of the walls towering over you: they will become noticeably gargantuan the further you go down. After 30 minutes of walking down, you will reach your first significant rest stop/photo opp. called the “Ooh Ahh Point.” As the name suggests, the view from this point should give you a sense of amazement as you take first wide view of the Grand Canyon. Be careful as you go up the boulders to take your pictures, as the winds on this trail are pretty strong and one misstep can lead to one nasty fall.
Be aware of any mules that come up the trail as well. Try to find a place to step out of the trail and let the mules pass by. They will stink as they pass by.
You will hit the half way point when you reach the rest point Cedar Ridge, which is a flat area with a bathroom and plenty of sitting spots. From this point, you will see a small mountain with a red peak above the bottom of the canyon as you look down the trail. That will be your end point of South Kaibab Trail, and as you can guess as you look: it is pretty far down. Although the distance is 1.5 miles from Cedar Ridge to Skeleton Point (the name of the last stop,) there is elevation change which adds to the distance as well as windy curves, adding more steps to your hike that will make it seem way longer than 1.5 miles.
Continue down the trail, and once you find yourself in a wide, flat plain, you are almost at your destination. Take a look back from where you walked and pat yourself on the back as you glance upwards up the canyon wall that you scaled down. The view here is amazing and you can see a new side to the Grand Canyon, full of green forestry and various geological patterns.
At the end of the plains you will hit your final destination: Skeleton Point. The area first looks like a place where pack mules go to rest, as you will see a steel bar to the left as you enter and lots of poop. Walk past the flat platform and go downwards to a sort of cliff where you can go sit and see the inner sanctum of the canyon, as well as your first look of the Colorado River that runs through Grand Canyon. You can also see a sort of gorge in the distance as well as more parts of the Grand Canyon that you did not see before. This the perfect opportunity to replenish your energy and take nice pictures. Just remember that you have only finished half of the hike. Now you have to climb upwards to the starting point.
Although the upwards climb is probably going to be the hardest incline hike you will ever experience, you will be treated to a new scenic view as you hike up. While you were looking down at the vast canyon as you walked down, you get to see just how big the canyon walls are up close as you go up, giving you plenty of new photo opportunities and moments to take in the view. Again, take as many stops as you need to. You will eventually reach the top so don’t push yourself too much.
South Kaibab Trail has been one of our most challenging hikes to date, however it was also one of the most rewarding experiences. The majority of hikers who visited this trail as well as Bright Angel Trail will more of less suggest South Kaibab Trail because of it’s grand and diverse views of the landscape. I would not suggest taking Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail on the same day, as the former is just as hard as the latter. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time, I would highly suggest taking this trail, as you will see a closer view of the Grand Canyon, as well as discover new sights that you can never see from looking at magazines or photos online.
One final note: be prepared ahead of time. Other than food and water, also take into account the weather, because there are chances of rain, hail, and even thunderstorms. On the day we took this trail, we were lucky enough to reach the end of our trail as rain started to pour, and eventually thunder clouds rolled over the Grand Canyon. If there is thunder at the Grand Canyon as well as high winds, take shelter as often as possible and stick to the walls of the canyon. And if you are on top of the canyon while this is happening, take shelter in one of the buildings for protection; a car is not as safe if you are outside in the middle of a thunderstorm.