What is the best day hike in the Grand Canyon? Well, the best hike is South Kaibab Trail on the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon. It is a heated debate whether South Kaibab Trail is better or Bright Angel Trail but South Kaibab is the winner. It is also a little more difficult making it even less busy than Bright Angel Trail.
South Kaibab Trail offers the most scenic views and the most picturesque sites along the way. It is more open into the valley where you are able to see out into the Canyon significantly more than Bright Angel Trail.
It is more steep than Bright Angel Trail but what is great about all of the trails is that you can turn around whenever you’d like. South Kaibab Trail also offers multiple turnaround points depending how far you want to go.
You are able to turn around after 0.9 miles at Ooh-Aah Point, 1.5 miles at Cedar Ridge or 3 miles to skeleton point. For those doing more than a day hike you of course can also head all the way to the river bottom at 6.5 miles down.
South Kaibab Trail
1,100 - 4,200 feet
1.8 - 12.6 miles
The best day hike at the Grand Canyon South Kaibab offers the best views of any day hike in the Grand Canyon. It offers sweeping sites of the canyon and you’ll be in awe of the beauty the entire way down.
You can start from the visitor center and walk from there adding a couple of extra miles, take the free shuttle to the trailhead or park along Desert View Drive closer to the trailhead and walk .5 miles along the Rim Trail to the trailhead.
From there you start the steep descent down with the unique and pretty switchbacks diving into the canyon. The hike is steeper and harder than Bright Angel Trail but the extra effort is worth the views.
You will hike down into the canyon and go as far as you’d like but definitely try to at least make it the .9 miles to Ooh-Aah Point. The 1.8 mile round trip is worth it and offers some great views.
For those with more energy I definitely suggest going to Cedar Ridge as the walk down with the switchbacks in the distance is one of my favorite pictures out of any of them.
Just passed Cedar Ridge there is also a great little peninsula to take some incredible pictures and one of the best views on the hike. For those wanted to push themselves you can keep going and hike 6 miles in total by going to Skeleton Point and back.
From there the last stop is the river bed and that is 6.3 miles down. Hiking the the river is not suggested for a day hike. The rangers suggest Skeleton Point being the further you go if doing a day hike. From there you can even see the river!
- Due to this hike being more difficult it is less packed than Bright Angel Trail
- You are hiking in the Grand Canyon
- Choose your own length
- Incredible views the whole way down
- Amazing workout
- The Grand Canyon in general can be extremely overcrowded
- Can be really hard in the Summer
- Bring extra water & snacks
- You can do portions of this hike & Bright Angel all in one day if you hustle and take the shuttles
- Watch out for the pack mules
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