Destination – Colorado River, Grand Canyon (South Rim) Date - 5 April, 2005
Route – Yaki Point (South Kaibab Trail) - Phantom Ranch - Bright Angel Lodge (Bright Angel Trail)
Time taken – 7hrs 30 min (including breaks)
Distance – 27Km (16.8 miles) approx.
Altitude variation – 1419m▼ / 1292m ▲ Map -
Camera - Canon PowerShot A95
Perhaps the most visited National Park in America, Grand Canyon offers an incredible view of the
nature's geologic record, beautifully exposed in the canyon walls. The immense chasm carved over
millennia by the Colorado River has not only created the depths but sculpted the grandeur of colorful
landscapes rich in flora and fauna.
The best way to experience the richness of the Grand Canyon is a day hike clubbing two trails together
on the South Rim, The South Kaibab & The Bright Angel, starting from Yaki Point trailing down to the
bottom of the canyon and ascending back up to the Bright Angel Lodge dealing with a distance of
approx. 27Km (16.8 miles) and an elevation differential of more than 8,000 feet from start to finish.
To discourage casual hiking, both trails have been punctuated by the
warning signs not to attempt hiking from the canyon rim to the river
and back in one day. So toss your self and decide!
South Kaibab Trail (down to the bottom of the canyon) -
I started my hike with the crack of sunrise softly falling on the deep canyon. The trail begins south of
Yaki Point on Yaki Point road. Access to the trail head is by free shuttle bus only which runs frequently
(15 - 30 min.) from Canyon View Information Plaza. For most of its 11.40Km (7.1miles) downward
journey, the path follows a ridge making the views along the canyon extensive.
The path began with a sharp but steady descent
along the ridge until I arrived at Cedar Ridge, the
first resting point along the trail. The trail continued
fairly straight from here and went around O'Neill
Butte (a rocky top on left) trailing down to Skeleton
Point. Being along the ridge, the path allowed
magnificent views of the Canyon.
A "theatrical" display of sun and shade on the
east side of the canyon.
The early morning sun exposing the sheer
grandeur of the western side of the canyon.
After negotiating roughly 3Km of steep trail, I
arrived at Tipoff point which was just above the
rim of inner canyon gorge. Descending further,
the muddy red-brown Colorado carving through
the canyon (right) was an amazing erosional
The name Colorado is derived from Spanish for
reddish, reflecting the heavy sediment loads the
river once transported.
The canyon was blooming with colours....yellow sunflowers (left) were abound with occasional
claret cup cactus (on right) to fill the wild canyon bouquet!
At the end of the trail there was a short tunnel
which lead me through the Kaibab suspension
bridge, also called the black bridge, one of the
two bridges which crosses the river, the other
being on Bright Angel trail.
Walking along the river towards Phantom Ranch, lie
the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloans) ruins. Ruins of
adobe houses in the Canyon show that Pueblo
Indians lived in this area as early as the 1200's.
Bright Angel Trail (up to the rim of the canyon) -
After the tea break at Phantom Ranch, a small guest house nestling beside Bright Angel Creek on the
floor of the Canyon, I was on the second leg of my hiking on Bright Angel Trail, a popular, dusty but well
maintained path ascending along a side canyon for 15.5Km (9.7 miles). Being on a side canyon, the
views along the trail were more restricted than South Kaibab.
After a short walk from Phantom Ranch, the path trailed through the Bright Angel suspension bridge,
also called the silver bridge.
Looking back towards the creek, both the
suspension bridges (Bright Angel bridge in the
foreground) were in view.
Flower-ridden path and gurgling stream along the trail kept the rising temperature in the
gorge fairly cool!
After negotiating an ascent of 8Km (5 miles) from
Phantom Ranch I arrived at Indian Garden, a
beautiful oasis amidst the dry and arid plateau. The
place is lined with trees and bushes and also
provide drinking water hole.
A mule train (on right) departing from Indian
Garden towards the river.
The remaining 7.6Km (4.6miles) from Indian
Garden until the rim was a steep thoroughfare,
the trail proceeded into the head of the canyon
until it seemed almost directly below the rim. It
then began a long series of switchbacks as it
climbed the increasingly steep wall below the rim.
View from the top of the rim (6785 feet) on Bright Angel
Trail showing different plateaus of the canyon, a small
green patch trailing in the middle is the Indian Garden.