Grand Canyon Part I : Rim to River & Back (Bottoms Up)

May 6th & 11th

South Kaibab & Bright Angel trails : 17.5 miles (4,475 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- On Sunday, May 6th, I headed to the canyon for a run to the river and back up.  I jumped on the 5AM hiker shuttle bus from the Backcountry Information Canter to the South Kaibab trailhead.
- It was a beautiful morning for a run and after I made my way through the switchbacks and past other early morning hikers I picked up the pace at Cedar Ridge, unfortunately soon after this I caught up to the mules which kind of surprised me as I thought they went down much earlier than this, maybe because it was a Sunday, maybe they start a little later on the weekends.
- I didn't know the proper protocol on coming up behind a mule train, I've ran into them plenty of times on their way up and I just step off to the side, but I was worried about spooking them and upsetting the rider leading them down the canyon so I just backed off and took a fifteen minute break before continuing my run, catching up to the mule train, then repeating this process.  I had to do this three times, which was fine, as I got to take in the canyon views as the sun took over the canyon in the early morning.
- Once I hit the river I quick hiked back up the the south rim via the Bright Angel Trail, only stopping at Indian Garden for a short ten minute break.
- I made it to the top just after 10AM, it was a perfect way to spend the morning, and I got out of there before the tourists took over the rim!

- On Thursday, May 11th, I headed back to the canyon, this time with Whitney and Diaz.  We boarded the 6AM hiker shuttle and did the same route I did, with a short side trip to Phantom Ranch.  This would be Diaz's first time hiking in the Grand Canyon so I was excited for him.
- The weather was perfect, mid 80's at the bottom and high 60's at the top!  We had a great hike down to Phantom Ranch making a few stops along the way to take in the phenomenal views.
- We stopped in at the Phantom Ranch Canteen and had some snacks and mailed out postcards to our family before our hike back up in the sun.
- Even though it wasn't hot by Grand Canyon standards, the dry heat of the desert still was doing its best to slow us down as we made our way through the Devil's Corkscrew on the way to Indian Garden.
- Above Indian Garden the sun was still strong but as we gained elevation the temps cooled and by the time we passed the mile and a half rest stop it was very comfortable hiking weather.
- When we reached the top, we headed back to the Jeep and relaxed, cooked some food, and had a celebratory beer.  Diaz had a great experience hiking the canyon and I'm glad he was finally able to make it out!

Go to love it, and it's no joke, but I do wonder the percentage of non knowledgeable hikers that venture below the rim that ignore this and run into trouble. This sign is definitely more effective than the old one! (click here)

 Just after dawn at OOH AHH Point :)

Heading down Cedar Ridge

Cedar Ridge

Watching the mule train head down the switchbacks beneath Skeleton Point 

 Sun overtaking the canyon

Zoom in off the Colorado River

Black Bridge

Silver Bridge

Boat Beach and the Colorado River

Looking up to the South Rim from Indian Garden

Plateau Point and the Grand Canyon from the South Rim

Whitney takes in the views from OOH AHH Point

O'Neill Butte

The switchbacks below Skeleton Point

Looking back up at Skeleton Point

Mule Train!

One of my favorite spots along the South Kaibab Trail

Colorado River

Looking back towards Black Bridge from Silver Bridge with Zoroaster Temple looming high above

Silver Bridge

Looking across the canyon towards the north rim off in the distance

Mule Train #2!

Devil's Switchbacks

View from the top :)


  1. This brings back memories from post-PCT. All those vistas look so so familiar including the signs not to go down & back in the same day as you will probably die....apparently. Great stuff. Weta.

    1. Hi Weta! The signs are pretty funny, hopefully some of the tourists hikers take the time to read them so they don't end up barfing all over themselves! Hope you are getting in some great hikes yourself!