Wednesday, June 10, 2009

South Kaibab Trail (Grand Canyon NP) (6/10/09)

Route Name: South Kaibab Trail
Location: Grand Canyon National Park
Start Elevation: 7,190 ft.
Skeleton Point Elevation: 5164 ft.
Elevation Gain/Loss 2,026 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 6.28 mi.

Trip Report

I awoke up this morning about 5:30am and hopped the shuttle to Yaki Point right around 6am. The shuttle from the campground takes you to the Information Center where you catch a different shuttle to Yaki Point for the South Kaibab Trail. It took the better part of 45 minutes to get to the trailhead. Along the way I saw some elk near the Yavapai Lodge and deer eating breakfast at the Information Center.

I left the South Kaibab trailhead at 6:42am. It was nice cool air and shade for the first part of the hike. Met a few hikers along the trail as I sped down pretty quickly. I made a 5 minute stop at Ooh Aah point. Took an amazing panorama (my favorite of the trip) from this point.

From Ooh Aah Point

It was 7:18am when I made it to Cedar Ridge (1.5 miles in) where I took another stop at their bathrooms. From Cedar Ridge the sun finally came out in full force which gave more great pictures and the temp barely broke over 80 degrees. The trail from Cedar Ridge takes you to the east side of O'Neill Butte and eventually to Skeleton Point (3 miles in). I spent about 25 minutes at this stop which is the first place where you can see the Colorado River. I took plenty of pictures here and talked to Sarah on the phone back at camp.

From Skeleton Point

From there the trail descends down some steep switchbacks and meanders its way another 3 miles to the river, so very tempting to go the distance but I didn't for lack of time. On the way back up the canyon I made it back to Cedar Ridge at 8:53am where I stopped another 20 minutes for pictures and to walk to the end of Cedar Ridge. Made it back to the trailhead at 9:52am. All in all it was about 1:07 down (minus the major stops) and 1:14 up (minus major stops). Fantastic hike. One of my favorite points about this hike was the uniqueness of it for me. Firstly, unlike all the mountains I've climbed, this was a descent-first hike with the ascent coming later. Can be dangerous this way if one wears themselves out or loses track of time on the easy descent. Secondly, just being able to go below rim at the Grand Canyon and take in these amazing sights is an out of this world experience. I'm dying to go back and do the hike from rim-to-rim someday soon.


Here are a pair of videos I took along this hike. The video helps take in the amazing scenery that still-photos, even panoramas, just cannot do justice. Both videos are on YouTube. The first video is from Ooh Aah Point. The second is from Skeleton Point.


Here is the KML track file I took for the hike down to Skeleton Point:

My Track


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