|Morning on the South Kaibab Trail|
We woke up at 5:30 a.m., packed up our things and got in the car to drive to the Grand Canyon. We were staying in Williams and our drive to the canyon was about 1 hour. At the canyon we parked and got on the shuttle bus that would take us to the South Kaibab Trail. Our plan was to hike down this trail, have lunch at Phantom Ranch and then hike back to the rim on the Bright Angel Trail. We did this route because we knew that the Bright Angel Trail had a water supply on it at Indian Garden. Our hike ended at around 5:00 p.m. at the rim.
We took one day pack filled with both of our needs for the day and then we alternated carrying it. Our pack had 3 bottles of water (32 oz each). We had food for lunch and snacks. Take sunscreen. We both wore hats. Just in case it got late and dark on our way out, I packed a flashlight and a headlamp (we didn't need these though).
|Switchbacks on South Kaibab Trail|
Phantom Ranch has a restaurant and picnic tables outside and tables inside to sit at. You can purchase lemonade for $4.75 a glass with refills being $1. There are other beverages and snacks you can purchase there too. When we were there it was lunch time and the place was filled with hikers eating and lounging. The picnic tables were filled and we sat on the grass and enjoyed a little rest. There are bathrooms here as well.
|Hiking to Indian Garden|
The last 4 miles up on the Bright Angel Trail are the hardest. We were hiking at a rate of about 2 miles per hour and gaining approx 700 feet of elevation each mile. I believe that the Bright Angel is an easier hike out than the South Kaibab though -- according to my calculations, on that trail you would have 5 miles of 700 feet gains and 2 miles of 500 feet gains. Of course, my data from the South Kaibab is based on our descent and we were moving a bit faster going down. But I do believe the South Kaibab would be steeper and a harder hike, even though it is 2 miles shorter than the Bright Angel.
Hiking into the canyon is a great way to experience the grandeur of the canyon. You don't have to hike to the Colorado to get this -- just hike down a mile or two -- or as many as you think you can safely hike out.
Map: National Geographic Grand Canyon Map