Posted by: baworldtraveler | March 27, 2011

The Grand Canyon: Down South Kaibab, Overnight Phantom Ranch, Up Bright Angel

It took 3-6 million years for the Colorado River to form the Grand Canyon, 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and in places about a mile deep. Although millions of people visit the Grand Canyon, most view it rim-side, a few venture into the canyon for a richer experience.

If you are interested and physically able to hike into the canyon, make sure you do your research so you are prepared. A popular itinerary is to hike down the South Kaibab Trail, stay overnight at the bottom of the canyon and hike back up the Bright Angel Trail. This is because the South Kaibab Trail is more steep and lacks a place to fill your water, so it makes sense to hike down this trail. The Bright Angel Trail is longer, but less steep, and has a place where you can refill your water bottles so it is the trail you hike up. The last mile of the Bright Angel can be a killer. The slope is not steep but has a continual incline that doesn’t level off. At this point in the trail, the best advice is to do like the donkeys do – just plod along putting one foot in front of the other!

If you are hiking into the canyon, dress properly (good hiking boots), remember to pay attention to your surrounding to minimize any accidents. Be sure to drink water often to avoid de-hydration. Pack as lightly as possible. You will be thankful for every ounce you avoid having to carry back out of the canyon. Most importantly, book a reservation rim-side for the night before you hike and the night you return from the bottom….

Phantom Ranch is a great place to stay so you don’t have to carry camping equipment…. but be sure to make sure you can reserve the meals you need on the same day(s) that you book your overnight stay. There are only a certain number of meals available and sometimes campers reserve meal so there may be occasions where you can reserve your accommodation but not be able to reserve the meals you need.

Watch the video I found on YouTube that follows and get a good sense of descending into the canyon via the South Kaibab Trail and hiking along the base of the canyon around Phantom Ranch. You will see a few scenes of the long, uphill hike up the Bright Angel Trail. You also get some nice views of snow at the top of the canyon.




  1. Looks beautiful, haven’t made it to the Grand Canyon yet, but I will.

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