South Kaibab Trail approx. 13 km down hill on well groomed but steep trail (with no time for warm up and it is not often you start out a hike all down hill, so don't over do it and ruin the trip). There is no water on this trail therefore you must carry it with you,they recommend 4 litres per person. Stop often and enjoy the views they are continually changing.
We stayed at Bright Angel Campground just off Colorado River with good facilities, drinking water and a cookhouse that you can book your meals (must reserve). Next Morning we headed out on Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens Camp approx 4 hours along Colorado River and up through Ravine to Camp. There are facilities and drinking water at Indian Gardens.
The next day head up Bright Angel Trail to Canyon South Rim approx. 5 hours and about 3300 feet of elevation gain so take your time and use the rest stop eat and drink lots. Well groomed Trail many, many switch backs. On both trails you will be sharing the trails with the Mule Teams so be prepared to make room.
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Posted By: vpigeon
- Sat Jan 19 22:37:30 UTC 2019
UpsideBright Angel trail also has drinking water at the Indian Garden campsite, approx 1/2 up (or down).
Phantom Ranch has only "outhouses", but there are flush toilets nearby, just across the small bridge over Clear Creek as you head out towards the Silver Suspension bridge on your way out to Bright Angel trail.
Posted By: vpigeon
- Sat Jan 19 22:30:17 UTC 2019
Upside A life's adventure, sleeping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Did this from the south rim on Jan 16-17, 2019 (cannot do it from the north rim in the winter, as there is no access to the north rim in the winter, and also no services on the north rim). DownsideLong hikes down and up, some slush and mud on both trails (South Kaibab (SK) down, Bright Angel (BA) up) CommentAs I say, a bucket list hike.
Did this on Jan 16 and 17, 2019, in the winter. Contrary to same time in 2018, there was snow on the south rim, and for 2-3 kms down and up, at the top. Weather gets warmer and better as you descend.
All experts say to hike down SK and up BA, as SK is steeper, shorter (13 kms) and has no shade and no water. This would certainly apply in summer, as it gets very hot. BA is longer (18 kms) softer grade (except top 4-5 kms which are relentlessly upwards), but much more pleasant for the views and features (2 creeks, campsite, outhouses, etc...).
Took us 4.5 hours down SK, 6 hrs up BA, but I think the reverse times would apply approximately equally (ie, 4.5 down BA, and 6 up SK).
In the summer, you should NOT attempt 31 kms round trip, way too hot. In the winter, you would probably run out of sunlight before getting back up to the top.
Phantom Ranch is wonderful, we slept in 10-bed dorms, OK for 1-2 nights. They also have cabins, but very hard to reserve, 15 months in advance. The meals (dinner and breakfast) were excellent, the packed lunch for the hike back up was a rip off at over $22 US (basically sealed foods, and 1 apple). Just bring more food with you for the hike out. They do sell wine and beer, coffee, lemonade, soft drinks.
Not much to do down there, you can hike/walk north on the North Kaibab trail until it starts to climb up to the north rim. Or you can do a lot of yoga or read good books (they have a few books there, might want to bring one. Make sure it's a light weight print.)
Slept at Bright Angel Lodge the night before ($75 / room for 2), took the free Hikers' Express (8 or 9 am) on morning of Jan 16, took us (and approx. 25 others) to the SK trailhead at east end, and our car was still at BA lodge PL when we arrived there approx 2 pm on Jan 17.
Normally, you have to book 15 mos in advance for accommodation at Phantom Ranch. Starting Jan 2, 2019, I clicked the Cancellation button on GC parks website 1-2 times /day, and struck paydirt on Jan 4. Just persist, you`ll probably get in on someone else`s cancellation. Cost for 1 night, 2 people, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 1 (wasted) packed lunch was approx $260 USD.
Posted By: tpiercey
- Fri Mar 26 01:06:07 UTC 2010
UpsideThis is a really great trail and it has everything you want in a hike, the distance, the views, the elevation change, the history, and the great park maintenance. DownsideMost wildlife is hibernating in early March; but, I don't like snakes anyway. CommentI hiked the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim to the Bright Angel Camp ground and back on 08Mar2010 and 09Mar2010. This hike was my first overnight camping experience and it was I am glad to stay safe and highly enjoyable. I drove down to the South Rim Grand Canyon park entrance from Las Vegas. This part of the trip took 4.5 hours (plus I lost an hour for the time zone change) and it was snowing heavily for the last hour of the trip. I tried to get an earlier start but unfortunately I started the hike at 3:00 PM. A park ranger warned me that I would not make the camp by sundown but it was okay with me and so it was okay with him. The first 1.5 hours of the hike was in about 4 inches of snow, cloudy and foggy. I fell several times and I did not think to get crampons or even a trekking pole. I made the best effort to fall away from the cliff edge as not to fall off the side. I could not see across the rim the whole way down to Indian Garden. On the way down I met a man from Japan who was very nice but spoke little English. He also had no pack and started the hike impromptu and turned back about 3 hours before sundown. I also met an older gray haired man with a beard that looked about 70+ years old holding a staff twice his height. This gave me reassurance that I was probably in good enough shape for the hike. It turns out I was, but I was still exhausted by the end. By night fall I had made it just past an area that I was told was called the devil's corkscrew because of the many switchbacks up the canyon side. At this point I took out my flashlight, ate some dinner (mainly jerky), and continued on. I was about 3 miles from the camp and I knew I was also 3 miles from any other human in any direction. It was so dark you couldn't see your own hand dark out there (no stars or moon because of the cloud cover). I had to walk through about 3 streams because I couldn't see stepping stones properly (no water proofing in my boots), but I finally made it to a sign that said bright angel campground and pointed to a steel suspension bridge about 200 ft long and about 50 ft over the rushing Colorado River. This at night was terrifying for me but I survived, pitched a tent and called it a night. I made it to camp around 10:00PM which is not a bad time for 9.8 miles some in snow and some in dark. The next day I slept in and got started at about 10:30 AM. I took a load of pictures and saw some deer, birds, squirrels, and the famous mules. It was about 70 degrees and sunny on the bottom and it was a beautiful day. I was able to make it out of the canyon about 30 minutes before sundown and was grateful not to have to night hike again. This was an amazing experience and I would recommend to anyone. Also hiking it in March was great because the 100 plus temperature were not a factor. Also the crowds that the Grand Canyons sees was not a problem either.