Unlike the Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab has scant shade and no water. But what it lacks in hiker luxuries it makes up for in sweeping panoramas. The park’s other “corridor” trail generally follows a drainage that is recessed into the South Rim, but much of the South Kaibab follows an exposed ridge. The upshot of this is that views are unobstructed by nearby canyon walls. These are some of the best views in Grand Canyon — it’s an ideal place to learn about the canyon’s fascinating history, geology, and ecology.
The trailhead is located near Yaki Point on the South Rim, and begins with a set of tightly spaced switchbacks called “The Chimney”. The trail then traverses beneath the rim at a gentle grade, emerging at Ooh-Ah Point. This legendary overlook offers astounding views in every direction.
After descending through the Coconino Sandstone, the trail takes hikers to Cedar Ridge. Nearby O’Neill Butte provides a sense scale at this popular rest stop and turnaround point. If you’ve been hydrating properly, the Cedar Ridge restrooms are a welcome amenity on this busy trail.
Although the South Kaibab Trail is a popular destination for hikers, it generally sees less traffic than the Bright Angel Trail. In part this is due to its location. The Bright Angel Trailhead is centrally located in Grand Canyon Village, surrounded by visitor lodging, restaurants, and parking. South Kaibab Trailhead is several miles away from these facilities, and restricted parking means that hikers typically get there on one of the park shuttle buses. An early start helps us beat the crowds and avoid the worst of the summer heat.
It’s no exaggeration to say that South Kaibab Trail is one of the best hikes in the world — it’s a Canyonology Treks favorite. Send us an email.
South Kaibab Photo gallery