South Kaibab trail

Most Views - South Kaibab trail


If you’re looking for a hike with the most VPM (Views Per Mile) on a well-traveled corridor trail, look no further than the South Kaibab trail! Load up the panoramic lens on your camera and get ready for some of the most extensive visuals found below the rim. This is due to the fact that it follows a high ridgeline into the canyon while most others dive into side drainages that usually cut off the wide shots that most are looking for at The Canyon. This exposure also allows for a wintertime experience as all but the very first section see all day sunlight, keeping the snow and ice at bay. Of course this also means that it can get brutal during the mid-day in summer months, with maybe two or three decent shade trees and no real break from the Arizona sun. Along this beautiful Park maintained trail, you will visit stops aptly named Ooh-Aah point, Cedar Ridge, and the Tipoff!

The Park Service built the South Kaibab directly due to the fact that Ralph Cameron would not give up his claim to the Bright Angel Trail, which he charged a fee to travel. This is one of the two main Corridor trails on the South rim and offers the chance to travel down to the river and Phantom Ranch. It was extensively engineered and is very well maintained having soft sand and a four foot average width. In fact, it is the go to trail for those crazy enough to hike barefoot! I suggest a dayhike to Cedar Ridge as the steepness can be misleading on the way down and any treks further down may cause many frowns on the way back up.

  • Getting there: Access to the South Kaibab is by shuttle bus only. You can pick up the orange Kaibab/Rim route shuttle in The Village.
  • The Hike: Trailhead to Ooh Aah Point = 0.9 miles one-way.
    1. Trailhead to Cedar Ridge = 1.5 miles one-way
  • Elevation loss/gain = 1100 feet to Cedar Ridge
  • Camping: None along the trail
  • Water: BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)

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A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at