This 13.7-mile route starts at South Kaibab Trailhead on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and immediately descends into the belly of the Grand Canyon on South Kaibab Trail. Along the way, the route passes O’Neill Butte, Skeleton Point, and breathtaking views of the surrounding canyons. At the bottom, cross Black Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Colorado River, and head southwest for 0.3 mile before turning left and re-crossing the Colorado River on Silver Bridge. From here, the route follows Bright Angel Trail along Garden Creek to Indian Gardens, a small oasis on the canyon floor. The final 2.5 miles follow zigzagging switchbacks back up the canyon wall to the South Rim and the Bright Angel Trailhead.
CAUTION: Summer temperatures can soar into the 100s so always carry water (rangers recommend 2 gallons per day), and start early to beat the midday heat. Also, don’t forget it is much easier to descend into the canyon than climb back up. Expect to spend at least double the time climbing than descending.
PERMITS: If camping, backcountry permits are $10, plus $5 per person per day. Download application at nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm; then fax to (928) 638-2125.
MORE INFO: Grand Canyon National Park, (928) 638-7888; nps.gov/grca
-Mapped by Trung Q. Le
TO TRAILHEAD: Start: From S. Lake Powell Blvd. and US 89 in Page, AZ, head southwest on US 89. In 81.5 miles, turn right onto AZ 64. In 53 miles, turn right onto S. Entrance Rd. In 2.7 miles, turn left onto Village Loop Dr. In 0.2 mile, bear left at Village Loop Dr. In 0.2 mile, turn right to stay on Village Loop Dr. In 100 feet, turn left to stay on Village Loop Dr. Go 500 feet and park in Lot E at the South Rim Backcountry Information Center. Take a free shuttle bus to the trailhead (check times at Ranger Station).
End: From S. Lake Powell Blvd. and US 89 in Page, AZ, head southwest on US 89. In 81.5 miles, turn right onto AZ 64. In 53 miles, turn right onto S. Entrance Rd. In 2.7 miles, continue straight on Village Loop Rd. Follow 0.3 mile to parking on right.