Hermit-Tonto-Kaibab Loop: Bright Angel Campground to South Rim

Grand Canyon National Park

The final day of the loop ascends the beautiful South Kaibab Trail to the South Rim.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
11 km
Ascent
1.5 km
Descent
86 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
738 m
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
24˚
VIEW ON MAP
Hermit-Tonto-Kaibab Loop: Bright Angel Campground to South Rim Map

Description

Despite being the last day of the loop, this route may feature the best views of the entire trip! The route departs from the Bright Angel Campground and follows the famed South Kaibab Trail the entire way up to the South Rim—the final destination.

The South Kaibab Trail is quite steep but features incredible views of the canyon. Step for step, this trail rivals any other in the canyon. The changing views are simply incredible. They open up as you keep making your way up; after each long stretch of uphill, you will get to see how far you have come.

Departing Bright Angel Campground, you'll cross the Colorado River on a well-built bridge. It is always a cool experience to cross the mighty Colorado. The uphill begins here and does not stop until the finish, so brace yourself! Just make sure to take the trail slow and steady. The panoramic views will make you want to keep stopping anyways.

The Tipoff viewpoint is a few miles from the Colorado and features tremendous views. A bit up the way, O'Neill Butte is another glorious spot.

You will likely come across a group of pack mules along the South Kaibab, as this is the main route they take to get down to Phantom Ranch. If you so wish, you can have a mule carry you down the trail, but then you miss out on the experience of hiking it yourself. Nevertheless, it is cool to see the mules making their way into the canyon.

The South Kaibab is similar to the Bright Angel Trail as they both go from the bottom of the canyon to the South Rim. Both are great options, but the South Kaibab has slightly better views and typically has fewer people. Note that it is a bit steeper than the Bright Angel Trail. You can access both of these trails from the Bright Angel Campground/Phantom Ranch area, which is convenient.

The final stretch of trail may be the steepest yet, but the adrenaline to get to the top will help you push through. Nonchalant day hikers will marvel at you when you tell them you came all the way from the bottom!

Arriving atop the South Rim is a special feeling. You have now completed one of the finest multi-day routes in the Grand Canyon. By descending the Hermit Trail, traversing along the Tonto Trail, and then experiencing the North and South Kaibab Trails, this route features everything the Canyon has to offer!

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area