Grand Canyon National Park (near south Visitor Center), Arizona
Grand Canyon, Colorado River
About 6 miles round trip
There are entrance fees into the national park
Bring 2-3 liters of water
Spring, fall. If you hike this in summer it will be very hot
Open year round
Lots of sun exposure. Shade is minimal.
Very worn, dirt trail. Easy to see the entire way.
Yes. At the trailhead and at Cedar Ridge (see GPS coordinates)
Yes. Just west of here.
Allowed by backcountry permit only. Camping and lodging is located nearby at the visitor center area and also in Tusayan.
Bring meals and snacks. You really want to be prepared for this hike.
Bring sturdy hiking shoes
backpack for food and water
Trailhead: 36.05339, -112.08358
Ooh Ahh Point: 36.06145, -112.08687
Outhouse: 36.06402, -112.08923
Cedar Ridge: 36.06455, -112.09015
Skeleton Point: 36.08166, -112.0904
Hiking from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Skeleton Point is a great way to experience the canyon. You will see the many different rock layers of the canyon and lots of diversity in the trees and plants. If you are planning on hiking from the rim to the Colorado River in one day, it is not recommended – due to trail length and high temperatures.
If you are fully prepared you can actually hike from the south rim to the North Rim Visitor Center on this trail but plan on taking a few days.
Let the fun begin!
I want to start off with a warning. Please bring extra water and food on this hike and don’t push yourself too hard. When we hiked this trail in November it was still on the verge of being too hot.
The trail to Skeleton Point is a complete decline, meaning, there are very little flat areas. You will of course, have to come back up the same trail. It is maintained very well so you won’t have any problem with the hundreds of steps the Park Service built. I really enjoyed doing this one and plan on doing it again when I come back! If you are looking for access to the Colorado River this is one of the ways you can do it.
At the trailhead you will find restrooms, a drinking “fountain” and even a stable with burros,. Fill up your water bottles with spring water here and head on out to the trailhead.
From the drinking fountain follow the trail to the canyon rim. You will begin the first set of switchbacks.
Once you get through these switchbacks at the beginning, the trail will stretch out a little until the next set of switchbacks.
Keep going down until the first major stop along the trail: Ooh Aah Point.
Ooh Ahh Point is about .70 miles from the trailhead.
As we hiked deeper into the canyon it was absolutely amazing to see the immense straight rock walls. I really enjoyed seeing the individual rock layers of the canyon.
We saw two burro trains coming up the trail. If you see any burro or horse on the trail you must give them the right-of-way. These burros pack supplies to and from some of the points below. This particular one was from Phantom Ranch on the other side of the Colorado River.
Ooh Ahh Point is a great overlook where you can see the trail extend farther down the canyon. We witnessed lots of people come to this point and turn around. I would recommend you keep going though! (Unless you feel like going back). The next major point is Cedar Ridge.
Cedar Ridge is at roughly mile 1.27 from the trailhead.
The trail widens out here and we got lost for a little bit. We didn’t quite see where the cairns were going so we just followed the hikers in front of us and ended up getting lost with them instead. Cedar Ridge seemed to be the lunch stop for most hikers as we found probably 50 people hanging out in the shade eating. When we realized we weren’t really on any trail we hiked back to the outhouse and eventually found the cairns nearby to continue our journey down to Skeleton Point.
Skeleton Point is located at about mile 3 from the trailhead.
Skeleton Point had few visitors. I saw a small youth group and that was about it. You can see the Colorado River from Skeleton Point; it is one of the only places from Grand Canyon trails you can view the river is what I was told. It was strange to begin hiking with hundreds of people then end up here with less than ten. It was a long hike to Skeleton Point and in hot months I would consider not hiking to this point unless I was really prepared.
Head back the same way.
I really enjoyed this hike because of the views and perspective it offered of the Grand Canyon. This is a very popular trail and I can imagine in warmer months it would be even busier. Please be prepared and bring extra water and food. I recommend doing this hike if you have 3-6 hours!