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Best Hikes Grand Canyon South Rim: 17 Easy, Moderate and Hard Trails

Best Hikes Grand Canyon South Rim: 17 Easy, Moderate and Hard Trails

Are you planning a visit to Grand Canyon and want to know which trails to hike? Well, we’re going to show you 17 scenic hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim including easy, moderate, hard and very hard trails so you can pick out exactly which hike you want to take on each day.

We will of course discuss the most popular trails Bright Angel and South Kaibab. But hiking at Grand Canyon South Rim doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hike down to the Colorado River and back in a day. There are trails here for all skill levels, so everyone can enjoy the beauty of this magical landscape.

We’ve hiked many of the most famous national park trails and a handful of those true bucket list hikes, but we can honestly say one of the most memorable hikes we have ever experienced was at Grand Canyon National Park.

Let’s descend into the 17 best easy, moderate and hard hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim!

*Please note this post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.*

What Can You Expect From The Best Hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim?

Grand Canyon National Park is one of very few places in the world that is guaranteed to cause your jaw to drop the very first time you see it in person. But what about hiking along or down into the gigantic hole in the Earth?

Most of the best hikes at Grand Canyon start and end at the very edge of the Rim. You will either be hiking along the edge of South Rim or descending into the canyon for every trail inside the park.

Whether you stay on the Rim, hike 1 mile down or all the way to the Colorado River, you are going to be staggered by the unimaginable scale of this unique and truly awesome landscape.

You can expect sand and small rocks underfoot throughout your hike into the canyon. Trails will be busy in Summer and much quieter in Winter.

How We Are Ordering The Best Hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is split by the Colorado River into two major sections, the North Rim and South Rim.

Ninety percent of people who visit the Grand Canyon will only visit the South Rim, so this guide will focus only on the best hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim.

Starting with Hermit’s Rest in the West and stretching as far as Grandview Point on Desert View Drive to the East, all of the trailheads we have included can be found along this 19 mile section of the canyon.

Technically, there are various backcountry hikes at Grand Canyon but we are only including the most popular and heavily trafficked traditional hiking trails in this guide.

Our logical way of listing hikes is simply by trail difficulty. We will break down this list of best hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim by easy, moderate, hard and very hard ratings.

Important Apps for Hiking Grand Canyon South Rim

Before we discuss any hiking trails, we felt it was important to go over some hiking precautions.

Whether hiking on a well maintained and heavily populated trail or hiking in the desolate backcountry, it is essential to understand your surroundings before setting off on your hike into Grand Canyon South Rim.

We use two of the most popular hiking apps on the market to do this:

  • AllTrails
  • GAIA GPS

Both apps offer similar features and will allow you to download maps to your phone for offline use. But each app is a little different so will go over the benefits to both.

AllTrails

AllTrails uses a database of trail maps and has a large amount of active users. These users add pictures and review trails often.

What makes this app great is the reviews about each hiking trail. Hikers who have recently completed a trail will comment on conditions, problems or sometimes someone is just looking for a hiking buddy.

AllTrails is a fantastic resource if you want to know what to expect before you hike. While AllTrails offers a pro membership for $2.50 per month, $69.99 for three years, or $100 a lifetime, we only use the basic free membership.

Be aware maps on this app are crowdsourced meaning trails are uploaded by users. For this reason, we have found AllTrails to not always be accurate. We only use this app for recent reviews so we can prepare for trail conditions.

GAIA GPS

GAIA GPS has become a hiking app we can not live without. What sets GAIA apart for us is the technical detail. We have used these offline maps for hundreds of hiking trails and have never missed a turn.

This app will record, track, save and share the time and distance of your trip. It will also tell you altitude, current speed, average speed, moving speed, max speed, and pace.

Membership runs $20/year while a premium membership will cost you $40/year.

If you plan to hike in remote places, GAIA will be your best choice. Use our exclusive GAIA GPS 20% discount to get instant access to this awesome hiking navigation app today.

The two most popular hiking trails along South Rim are Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. Both trails descend to the Colorado River where they connect with Phantom Ranch and North Kaibab Trail.

There are a number of natural turnaround points along both trails and most visitors to Grand Canyon South Rim will choose to hike one of these trails to one of its obvious stops.

Important: The NPS recommends against day hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back to South Rim. But they are aiming that at the average hiker and they do have to rescue a lot of hikers every year.

The reality is, if you are a very strong and experienced hiker, you can day hike to the Colorado River and back out. Remember, you can book a campground spot at Bright Angel or a bed at Phantom Ranch if you want to spend a night on the canyon floor.

If you want to take on the Rim to Rim trail, you will have to descend or ascend via one of these two trails. Let’s take a look at both popular trails leading from South Rim to the Colorado River.

Stunning sunrise beams hiking down south kaibab trail one of the best day hikes at grand canyon south rim

Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail begins west of Grand Canyon Village near Bright Angel Lodge. This 9.8 mile (one-way) trail drops 4,340 ft from Rim to Phantom Ranch.

The majority of the elevation change will occur within the first four miles through multiple series’ of switchbacks. From South Rim, there is a Resthouse at both the 1.5 mile and 3.0 mile marker. Both are common turnaround points.

This is one of the safest hiking trails at Grand Canyon with regular shade, restrooms, emergency phones and potable water available mid-May to mid-Oct.

Many hikers will take this trail to one of the Resthouses or continue further to Indian Campground and/or to Plateau Point. After Indian Garden it’s a straight shot to the river.

South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail begins east of Grand Canyon Village near Yaki Point. This 7.3 mile (one-way) trail plummets 4,700 ft from Rim to Phantom Ranch.

Shorter trail with more elevation loss makes South Kaibab the steeper trail down to the Colorado River. That means a steeper ascent back to the Rim.

From South Rim, Ooh Aah Point and Cedar Ridge are popular stopping points. There is a restroom available at Cedar Ridge but no water is available anywhere on this trail. Hikers can continue South Kaibab to Skeleton Point or the Tipoff where this trail intersects with Tonto Trail.

Bright Angel Campground as well as Phantom Ranch are accessed by following North Kaibab Trail along the river after crossing Black Bridge at the bottom of South Kaibab.

Do you need help planning your visit to Grand Canyon South Rim?

Our popular 30+ Page Grand Canyon South Rim Guidebook and Itinerary covers every aspect of planning a trip to Yosemite including hikes, hotels, restaurants, getting around, things to do and so much more!

Best Easy Hikes At Grand Canyon South Rim

Now that we have covered what you can expect from day hiking in the Grand Canyon, we are going to go over each hiking trail in order based on difficulty.

Let’s start with the easy hiking trails first and we will advance to the harder hikes later in this guide.

The good news is all the trails can be accessed right off the main road. So getting to the trailheads won’t be as difficult when compared to other National Parks.

Pick and choose trails depending on your time frame and skill level. Remember, most trails leading into the canyon are out and back, which means you can turn around at any point.

Looking down Bright Angel trail at plateau point on a cold and cloudy afternoon in arizona

1. Grand Canyon South Rim Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 12.7mi
  • Type of Trail: Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Perfect For: Everyone including wheelchairs, strollers and dogs on leash
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This aptly named hike is the easiest and most popular trail found at Grand Canyon South Rim. It stretches almost 13 miles from Hermit’s Rest to South Kaibab trailhead.

It is completely flat and you can hike as many small sections as you want, before jumping on a shuttle to do the rest. Shuttle stops are located at several points along this well maintained paved trail with plenty of shade.

Distances between shuttles stops range from 0.3 to 1.8 miles. So hike until you get tired then just hop on another shuttle to the next amazing Grand Canyon viewpoint.

Check the NPS map for each shuttle stop on the Rim Trail.

2. Shoshone Point Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 2.1 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 154 ft
  • Perfect For: Kid friendly and stroller accessible
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This is one of the best hikes at Grand Canyon if you want to get away from the crowds. The parking lot for this trailhead is unmarked and it is very easily missed, which means not many people know the hike exists.

If you are coming from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, this small lot will be the first left after you pass Yaki Point Road, just over a mile further down Desert View Drive. Parking is limited and arriving early in the day is recommended.

This trail is a great option if you want those stunning canyon views without actually hiking down into the canyon. The hike itself is through a gorgeous ponderosa pine forest ending in a picnic spot with a lone rock standing to attention.

3. Mather Campground Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 2.3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 121 ft
  • Perfect For: Dogs on a leash, road biking, camping access
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If you are looking for another easy and paved flat trail, this one is for you. Good for scooters, bikes and strollers, this trail offers a casual walk through Mather Campground.

Dogs can use this trail but must be kept on a leash. There are no canyon views from this trail but you might see Elk depending on the time of year.

Where are those morgans at ooh ahh point one of the easy day hikes at grand canyon south rim

4. South Kaibab to Ooh Aah Point

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 790 ft
  • Perfect For: Beginners, hikers short on time, beautiful views
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South Kaibab is one of the most popular hikes along Grand Canyon South Rim. Ooh Aah Point is the first point of interest on this well defined trail. This section of the trail can get busy but it opens up incredible views.

You will encounter some switchbacks early on so be prepared to come back up. We loved this point as a sunrise spot because the canyon begins to open up to the East right as you reach Ooh Ahh Point.

Just a reminder, there is minimal shade and no water located anywhere along South Kaibab Trail so be sure to bring enough with you.

5. South Kaibab Trail To Cedar Ridge

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,120 ft
  • Perfect For: Beginner hikers, casual hikers, beautiful views
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Cedar Ridge is the next major landmark along South Kaibab Trail if you continue past Ooh Ahh Point. There are restrooms located here but no water.

You will find an amazing vantage point at Cedar Ridge as it provides 360 views of the canyon and Rim. This is a great stopping point for beginner hikers or hikers who are short on time. Plan on 2 to 4 hours to complete this trail.

6. Bright Angel To 1.5 Mile Resthouse

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 3.0 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,120 ft
  • Perfect For: Beginners, hikers short on time, beautiful views
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Bright Angel Trail is the most popular hiking route along Grand Canyon’s South Rim. This trail is a better option in warm and sunny weather as it offers more shade when compared to South Kaibab.

The 1.5 mile Resthouse is a good spot to grab a break on a longer hike down, but it is also the perfect turn around spot for first time canyon hikers. After the first switchback, the trail will begin to get steeper.

There are two short tunnels located along this section which are a fun photo spot. The first tunnel can be found at the 0.18mi marker and the second tunnel can be found at the 0.75 mi marker.

Restrooms and an emergency phone are located here. Potable water is also available from mid-May to mid-October.

Stone path trail with huge rock formations in arizona

Best Moderate Hikes At Grand Canyon South Rim

Next we are going to move on to the best moderate level hiking trails at Grand Canyon South Rim. These trails are ramping up the difficulty slightly but you will be rewarded with better canyon and Rim views.

Either option will make for an excellent day hike into the Grand Canyon. Remember the general rule of thumb, it will take twice as long to hike up than it takes to hike down.

7. Bright Angel To 3 Mile Resthouse

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 6.0 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,120 ft
  • Perfect For: Beginner hikers, casual hikers, beautiful views
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3 Mile Resthouse is the next obvious turnaround point along Bright Angel Trail if you continued past 1.5 Mile Resthouse. By now the trail will have gotten steeper with multiple switchbacks as you zig zag your way down into the canyon.

Much like 1.5 Mile Resthouse, you will find an emergency phone, restrooms and seasonal water available. But there’s not much else here and it is a bit of an anticlimax if you were hoping for expansive canyon views. You would be better heading further down to Indian Garden, which we will cover later.

With that said, you will be able to see a path leading to Plateau Point which is a very obvious spur trail leading away from Indian Garden and out onto a flat shelf-like floor.

8. South Kaibab Trail To Skeleton Point

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,040 ft
  • Perfect For: Intermediate hikers, river views
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Skeleton Point is the third natural stopping point along the South Kaibab trail. This is also where you can just about grab a view of the Colorado River. There is no water or restroom at this point.

The NPS recommends to not go past this point as a day hike, especially in summer. Temperatures at the bottom of the canyon can be much higher compared to the Rim giving you a false sense of security.

We would suggest that Skeleton Point is a better turnaround point when compared to the 3 mile resthouse on Bright Angel. If you only have time for a 6 mile hike, choose South Kaibab trail and turn back here.

You’ll get a much more varied and diverse selection canyon and trail views to Skeleton Point. Just be aware that it is a steeper trail so the 3 miles back up will be challenging.

9. Dripping Springs Via Hermit Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 6.0 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,135 ft
  • Perfect For: Intermediate hikers, getting away from the crowd
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We will cover Hermit Trail in detail below, but this 6 mile out and back hike covers the top section of Hermit Trail and leads to a shaded alcove spring. The trail is steep in the beginning for the first few miles with multiple switchbacks until you reach the Coconino sandstone layer.

The trail will continue through the gorge until Boucher Trail Junction and through a dry wash section until you get to Dripping Springs. Several hikers have found fossilized traces of lizards and other reptiles, so go and see if you can find some yourself!

Day hiking south kaibab and bright angel two most popular hikes at grand canyon south rim

Best Hard Hikes At Grand Canyon South Rim

It’s no secret the Grand Canyon can be a harsh and extreme landscape. If you plan to take on one of these harder hikes, be sure to carry enough food and water. Set off early in the morning to give yourself plenty of daylight.

According to the NPS website, over 250 people are rescued from the canyon each year. Don’t be a statistic! It’s more important than ever to remember that a 3 hour descent could be a 6 ascent, so watch your time carefully.

10. Bright Angel To Indian Garden

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 9.0 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 3,040 ft
  • Perfect For: Experienced hikers, camping, plenty of shade, water
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Indian Garden is an oasis that offers plenty of shade from the large amount of vegetation and Cottonwood trees growing in the area. It’s a little bit like a tiny village surrounded by trees inside the Grand Canyon, who knew?!

This point is borderline moderate and hard, depending on your hiking ability. It represents a hard hike for the average hiker, or a good day out for a strong hiker.

You will find day use areas, restrooms, water stations, a campground and a ranger station at Indian Garden. The hike to Indian Garden from 3 Mile Resthouse will flatten out as it crosses the shale dominated Tonto Platform.

11. Bright Angel Trail To Plateau Point

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 12.2 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 3,080 ft
  • Perfect For: Excellent views, experienced hikers
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After hiking from Bright Angel to Indian Garden, if you feel you still have energy left in the tank but not enough to get down to the river, Plateau Point Trail is the perfect option. It also is ideal for any campers staying at Indian Garden.

The elevation change from Indian Garden to Plateau Point is only 40ft. The flat trail leads to an awesome overlook of the Colorado River.

If you are a quick hiker, you could easily cover the 3 mile round trip distance from Indian Garden to Plateau Point and take home some amazing photos from the edge of the plateau.

12. South Kaibab To Tonto Trail To Bright Angel Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 13.2 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: 3,458 ft
  • Perfect For: Experienced hikers, awesome plateau, river views
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The Tonto Trail is an inner canyon route along a plateau that runs parallel to the Colorado River. The entire 95 mile Tonto Trail connects several of the trails descending from the Rim to the River such as South Kaibab and Bright Angel.

It is common for hikers to cut onto the Tonto Trail if they do not wish to hike Rim to River. This is the ideal shortcut option if you’re running out of time and want to hike both South Kaibab and Bright Angel.

From the Tipoff point on South Kaibab Trail (a further 1.5 miles past Skeleton Point), you can access Tonto Trail and follow it parallel to the river until it connects with Bright Angel Trail right around Indian Campground.

Series of amazing switchbacks on a trail in arizona on a sunny day

13. Hermit Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 17.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 5,059 ft
  • Perfect For: Experiences hikers, river views, camping, natural water sources
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If you are looking for a longer trail with far fewer hikers and no mules, this hike could be your best bet. It’s interesting to note this trail served a luxury camp along Hermit Creek in the early 20th century.

Today, sections of the Hermit Trail are rocky and eroded but will lead to natural water sources. The upper section of the trail is very steep, dropping almost 2,000 ft within the first few miles.

Points of interest along the trail include Walden trail Junction, Dripping Springs Trail Junction, Santa Maria Spring, Cathedral Stairs, Tonto Trail Junction, Hermit Creek and Hermit Rapids.

All water sources along this trail require water purification. Keep in mind water may be dry depending on the time of year. Bring enough water for your hike and do not rely on the natural water sources.

14. Grandview Point To Horseshoe Mesa Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 5.7 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,509 ft
  • Perfect For: Experienced hikers, getting away from the crowd
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Built in 1893 and originally known as the Berry Trail, the Grandview Trail was meant to connect the Rim with copper mines on Horseshoe Mesa. This trail begins at Grandview Point, about 12 miles east of Grand Canyon Village.

What makes this trail unique is that it doesn’t follow cracks or fault lines like many of the other Grand Canyon trails. Cobblestone ramps were used to build up the trail on steep sections so miners had the most direct route up and down the canyon.

Please note all historic mines located along this route are closed and please leave any artifacts you may find. Grandview Point is not an actively maintained trail so be extremely careful with your footing and always pay attention.

Grandview Point Trail is only 5.7 miles roundtrip to Horseshoe Mesa but it is very steep, it is not maintained and there’s a lot of elevation loss/gain over a short distance.

Many backcountry hikers will begin and end here. There is also backcountry camping available at Cottonwood Creek campsite. This trail will be much quieter than both South Kaibab and Bright Angel.

15. South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Very Hard
  • Trail Distance: 19.2 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: 4,340 ft
  • Perfect For: Experienced hikers, sweeping canyon views
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We have to start by saying the NPS does not recommend this as a day hike but it is the most popular hike at Grand Canyon for experienced hikers.

We ourselves hiked this amazing route in December 2021 and it surpassed our high expectations. But please only attempt this popular hike if you are a strong and experienced hiker, and you prepare correctly.

You can read our full hiking walkthrough from South Kaibab to Bright Angel with plenty of photos so you can really see the trail.

The entire trail down and back up is very well-maintained and easy to follow but the distance can be challenging, even for stronger hikers. You can hike down either trail and back up either trail.

Most hike down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel. You’ll reach the river in less time on South Kaibab and then have a more gradual climb back up Bright Angel.

Overnight options include Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch which sit right next to the Colorado River. Keep in mind reservations are required for either option.

Phantom Ranch operates on a lottery system while Bright Angel Campground requires a backcountry permit.

The views along this trail are exceptional. You get the best of both trails and we can say from experience this has been one of our most rewarding hikes to date.

Indian garden yellow leaves and cactus plants in rock formations in arizona

16. Rim to Rim: North Kaibab To South Kaibab

  • Trail Difficulty: Very Hard
  • Trail Distance: 20.4 miles point to point
  • Type of Trail: Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: 5,269 ft
  • Perfect For: Very strong hikers, camping, river views
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This is the true ‘Rim to Rim’ Grand Canyon hike. It can also be hiked in reverse order, South Kaibab to North Kaibab or with Bright Angel Trail instead of South Kaibab. So you really have options depending on your preferences.

There are pros and cons to hiking this trail in either direction. We have not hiked this trail yet, but if we had to choose a direction we would hike North to South.

Why?

North Kaibab Trailhead sits at a higher elevation, which means you will have an easier descent into the canyon instead of ascending the extra 1000 ft elevation at the end when you are tired.

We are looking forward to the day we can take on this bucket list hike. If you have hiked this trail, let us know in the comments below!

It is important to know South Rim is open year round but North Rim closes for Winter. If you were planning to visit Grand Canyon in the winter months, South Rim is your only option.

Services on the North Rim generally close around mid-October and won’t reopen until Spring. You can however take on the Rim to Rim to Rim hike in Winter.

This would be a mammoth hike from South Rim to North Rim and back to South Rim. You can stay in campgrounds along the route, including camping at North Rim. Just remember the roads are closed at North Rim in Winter.

17. Tonto Trail

  • Trail Difficulty: Very Hard
  • Trail Distance: 95 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: Varies
  • Perfect For: Experienced hikers, camping, river views
  • Recent CommentsAll Trails

The Tonto Trail is an inner canyon trail running 95 miles in length from the Garnet Canyon to the Red Canyon. Few hikers use the entire trail and rather use it to connect various rim to rim trails.

This is a wilderness trail with several points of interest including Hermit Creek to Bright Angel at Indian Garden (12 miles), Bright Angel to South Kaibab (4.5 miles) and South Kaibab to Grandview Trail at Horseshoe Mesa (21.3 miles).

Because this trail connects all major South Rim trails, there are many variations you can hike and one size does not fit all. Use this trail if you want to shorten a Rim to River hike or get a different view by paralleling the Colorado River.

While there are water sources located throughout this trail, all water must be treated and purified before drinking. Do not solely depend on these water sources.

We have never heard of anyone who has hiked the entire 95 mile Tonto Trail but it would certainly be one to remember!

Grand Canyon South Rim Hikers Express Shuttle To South Kaibab Trail

If you want to hike any of South Kaibab Trail, you are going to need to either park one mile away from the trailhead on Desert View Drive and walk, or take the orange Kaibab shuttle to the start of the hike.

We used the hikers express shuttle to get us to the South Kaibab trailhead when we hiked down South Kaibab and back up Bright Angel in one day. This is the name given to the first few shuttles to leave Grand Canyon village and transport hikers to South Kaibab trail in the morning.

Please note this is a one way route that does not return hikers to the Visitor Center. Departure times vary depending on season. Check times for the Grand Canyon South Rim Hikers Express Shuttle here.

Note: We did notice times might not always be correct on the NPS website. For example, it states the hikers express shuttle began at 8am in December when we hiked, but we were able to catch one at 7am.

A ranger told us the first shuttle was at 7am and this gave us another hour of daylight to complete our long hike. Verify times with a ranger before your hike if possible.

Regular shuttles carry hikers to and from South Kaibab frequently throughout the rest of the day.

Hiker with camera at skeleton point on south kaibab trail one of the best day hikes in grand canyon south rim

Quick Tips for Hiking Grand Canyon South Rim

Do not underestimate the harsh elements and unpredictable weather conditions when hiking the best trails at Grand Canyon South Rim. A hike can turn life threatening if you do not prepare properly.

The NPS does a great job of updating both road and weather conditions for Grand Canyon National Park. You can watch webcams, find radar information and even satellite images for your visit.

To ensure a safe trip, it is best to plan ahead and prepare for your hike. Keep these tips in mind:

  • The best times to visit Grand Canyon are spring, fall and winter. In summer, the temperature can be very dangerous for hiking which lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Summer thunderstorms will also bring lightning. If you hear thunder, it is best to get indoors if possible.
  • The temperature will rise as you hike into the canyon. A good rule of thumb is an increase of 5.5°F for every 1,000 ft that you descend in the canyon.
  • Carry plenty of water and never depend on water sources. Always have a way to filter and purify water incase you run out. We always carry a LifeStraw on every hike.
  • Keep track of your time, especially if hiking in the winter when daylight hours are shortest.
  • Always carry a head torch in case you end up hiking in the dark. Do not rely solely on your phone flashlight.
  • As a general rule of thumb, you should plan for it to take twice as long to climb out of the canyon as it does to hike down.

Bike Routes In Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim also offers biking routes. There are three bike specific greenways located directly along the rim which can make for a great afternoon activity.

A quick overview on these routes includes:

  • Red Bike Route: 5.5 miles, Hopi Point to Hermit’s Rest
  • Yellow Bike Route: 10.5 miles, Visitor Center to Hermit’s Rest
  • Orange Bike Route: 2.9 miles, Yaki Point to South Kaibab trailhead

Bikes are not allowed on the rim trail or any of the inner canyon trails. For more information about bike rentals, visit Bright Angel Bicycles.

Here are the South Rim bike routes with information.

Grand Canyon National Park Passes, Fees and Entrances

You will enter Grand Canyon National Park through ranger stations and pay entrance fees in order to reach any of the best hikes in the park. Passes include entry into both the North and South Rim.

Entrance to the park costs any of the following:

  • $35 for a 7 day Vehicle Permit– This includes a private, non-commercial vehicle for up to 15 passengers
  • $30 for a Motorcycle Pass – Including one single, private, non-commercial motorcycle
  • $20 for an Individual permit – Includes anyone entering by foot, bicycle, park shuttle bus, and private rafting trip
  • $80 for an annual US national parks pass – Best for those who visit national parks often

If you are planning to visit several National Parks, consider buying an annual US national park pass. At $80 you will instantly save money if you plan to visit just a few parks.

Read our guide to the America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass for more information and to see if it is worth buying one for yourself.

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Need Help Planning A Trip To Grand Canyon South Rim?

Grand Canyon is one of the most visited National Parks in the US. It is one of very few landscapes that will genuinely blow you away and we know how important it is to get your trip off to the best possible start by planning in advance.

We have been lucky enough to visit Grand Canyon South Rim twice, at different times of year and with different goals.

  • First to sightsee, shoot sunrises and sunsets, and see the canyon from every single viewpoint on the Rim.
  • Second to day hike Rim to River, South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel in one day.

If you’re planning a trip to Grand Canyon South Rim and need a hand with planning where to stay, where to eat, how to get there and use the shuttles, which hikes to do, which overlooks to visit, where to watch sunrise or sunset and any other question you have about your trip, our 30+ page South Rim guidebook with example itineraries is perfect to download to your phone or print a hard copy.

Click below to see the details and have a great time at South Rim!

We hope this comprehensive hiking guide helps you conquer some of the best hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim!

Have you been to Grand Canyon? Which is your favorite hiking trail?

Please let us know if you have any questions or need help planning your hike by commenting below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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