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South Kaibab to Skeleton Point Trail – Grand Canyon National Park
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Overview
Location

Grand Canyon National Park (near south Visitor Center), Arizona

Sights

Grand Canyon, Colorado River

Distance

About 6 miles round trip

Parking Lot Elevation

7,377 ft

Summit Elevation

5,182 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

2,195 ft

Time Required

4-6 hours

Pets

Not allowed

Fees

There are entrance fees into the national park

Water Info

Bring 2-3 liters of water

Best Season

Spring, fall. If you hike this in summer it will be very hot

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Lots of sun exposure. Shade is minimal.

Trail Condition

Very worn, dirt trail. Easy to see the entire way.

Restrooms

Yes. At the trailhead and at Cedar Ridge (see GPS coordinates)

Visitor Center

Yes. Just west of here.

Camping

Allowed by backcountry permit only. Camping and lodging is located nearby at the visitor center area and also in Tusayan.

Food

Bring meals and snacks. You really want to be prepared for this hike.

Equipment

Bring sturdy hiking shoes
hat
sunglasses
backpack for food and water
walking stick
camera

Family Friendly?

Yes

GPS Coordinates:

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

Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

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.

Fill up your water containers here with spring water

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.

Restrooms at 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.

Colorado River

The Return:

Head back the same way.

Personal Thoughts:

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! Trek Planner Logo

Ratings (out of 10)
Trek Planner Rating
User Rating
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Difficulty
5.0
Technicality
3.5
Enjoyment
6.3
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

6.6
Trek Planner Rating
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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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