Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Via South Kaibab-Bright Angel Trail Part 1

hiker at grand canyon south kaibab trail
Hiker at South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
Mileage: 16 - 17+ miles, depending on your wandering in the trails and at the bottom of the river gorge
Elevation Change: 5000 ft descent/ascent
Best Time to Hike: During cooler months, late October - early April
Best Route: South Kaibab trail- river-Bright Angel trail

Some common questions asked in this hike:
1. What is the best route?
There are several reasons why we picked the South Kaibab - river- Bright Angel trail route.

First, having hiked previously Hemit's trail, Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail, we were most impressed with the scenic views at every turn at South Kaibab. Among the three trails we had experienced, South Kaibab is Grand Canyon's best.
South Kaibab is often described as the most rewarding hike in terms of scenic views. 

Second, South Kaibab is steeper, dryer and more exposed than Bright Angel's trail. There is no water source at all in South Kaibab trail, and you do not want to be climbing up in the intense heat on a steeper route and with almost little water already.

zigzagging trail at South Kaibab
For both hiking and photographing stand point, South Kaibab is the trail to start with because you start hiking in early morning sunlight where the sun lit softly the rocks illuminating them more dramatically. It is also cooler for an exposed hike. Because you are going down, you are not exerting so much energy despite the trail is steeper. 
Oh- Ah Point, South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
Third, when you are climbing back up, it is already mid-day, where the temperature has soared up, especially you are in the inner gorge. Climbing back up via Bright Angel's Trail has three main benefits:

i. Bright Angel Trail is more shaded. Of course, there are exposed portions, but it is alternating with shaded trail because there is more vegetation in this trail.
Red Bud Tree Blossoms @ Indian Garden, Bright Angel Trail
These shaded portions of the trail are very helpful when you needed it most. On your way back up to the  rim, the temperature has already soared up not only because it is already mid-day, but also because you are down the canyon! The temperature drops drastically as you go down the canyon.

ii. You will have some streams for water source when you need to cool down, or you are running out of water supply. At Indian Garden, there is a spring fountain where you can refill your water. 
one of the waterfalls @ Bright Angel Trail

iii. As mentioned already above, Bright Angel Trail is less steep than South Kaibab trail, the combination of having partial shade and friendlier slope means a lot when you are starting to get tired.

--------will continue this post with the other questions in part 2 of Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Via South Kaibab-Bright Angel Trail ---------------

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  1. Wow..these photos are just fantastic, and you're an amazing woman for hiking, and exploring this earth like this.

    Did I mention that your photos always give me such a joyous feeling?

  2. great capture of beautiful sights! it's awesome to think that you've done some hiking in those places, amazing!

  3. Fascinating photos. Wish kaya ko pa rin mag-hiking.

  4. breathtaking.. closer look of the famed Grand Canyon, thanks for sharing :)

  5. stunning shots... you amazingly good at photography po. as i've said on my previous comments i'm absolutely a big fan of your photographs... props! :)

  6. that's awesome..I think we haven't been to this part of the canyon...we went to the west part where the hualapai reservation is located.

  7. spectacular,Betchai, Love those images of Grand Canyon.

  8. Wow so pretty I know how beautiful grand canyon is because we went there twice. I want to visit again ehhehe.

  9. wow! all your shots are so gorgeous! it makes me wanna go there now. thanks for sharing!

  10. THe views are all stunning, breath taking the place is so huge now i am afraid to get lost there.

  11. breathtaking! so love the view...
    hope makaiita din ako ng blossom...pretty!