We are on the homestretch of the A to Z this week with only eight letters to go. As in hiking, this final stretch is going to be challenging since I no longer have posts written ahead and am getting tired (and would rather enjoy spring outside than do writing inside). It feels like uphill all the way…
The South Kaibab Trail is the one my hike will start on – they call it a corridor trail, meaning that it is one of two or three that is regularly patrolled and maintained. It is part of the Arizona Trail system going all the way from Mexico to Utah.
After our first day of having our gear checked over and learning about the area we will walk through, I’m guessing we will meet early at Bright Angel Lodge and take the first shuttle bus of the day to the trailhead. It’s a ways away from Grand Canyon Village and there is no parking there for private vehicles. We will start our descent of 4,700 feet over the next seven miles. We will meet mules and other hikers on the trail. There are a couple restrooms on the way, but no water sources until we reach the bottom of the canyon. About the only shade will be from the canyon walls. The grade will be as steep as 22% at the final section and there will be many switchbacks. Doesn’t that sound like fun? But wait, it’s worth it.
There just aren’t a lot of ways to go down these amazing cliffs. The South Kaibab was supposedly built to foil Cameron who had started charging $1 per person to use the Bright Angel Trail. It is steeper and shorter but has some of the most amazing views available.
- One of them is .9 miles on the way and is called Ooh-Aah Point, because that is what most people say when they get there. I’m going to try to say something more original. It’s a good distance for a casual day hike.
- Next is Cedar Ridge at 1.5 miles, another good point for day hikers to turn around.
- Followed by Skeleton Point at 3 miles, where there is reportedly a 360 degree view of the canyon, and the first view of the river.
- Followed by Tip Off at 4.6 miles where the steepest section of switchbacks starts, taking us down to the Black Suspension Bridge, Bright Angel Camp and Phantom Ranch.
Although it is described as knee jarring, it is all downhill, right? I think I can do it.