The Tower at Desert ViewSouth Rim Grand Canyon Backpacking

Introduction to the Grand Canyon on South Rim Trails

A hike of five days and four nights in the Inner Canyon. Hike the main South Rim trails with side trips off the beaten path. Experience a secluded creek on the Tonto Plateau. See a series of waterfalls in a deep and private canyon just a step off your main trails. For a trip down into the Grand Canyon, this trip is Moderate.

This trip includes involves four nights and five days in the inner canyon at developed campgrounds. There is a possibility of sending some gear up by mule. If you decide that you have carried too much stuff into the Canyon, it is sometimes possible to purchase a mule duffel 30 pounds maximum to carry that extra gear to the top for you.

Contact: gksprinkle (at) canyoncalls (dot) com for more information on this and other Grand Canyon trips.

Please click on thumbnails to see a larger image.

Recommended Daily Trip Schedule

[Orientation on south Kaibab]DAY ONE: Plan to spend a day getting used to the altitude and seeing the views from the top of the South Rim. A shorter hike on one of the other trails in the area like Hermit trail to Waldron basin or Grandview Trail to Coconino Saddle will get you excited about your backpack into the Canyon.


[Sunset at Plateau Point]DAY TWO: Arrive at the Bright Angel trailhead at dawn and hike to Indian Garden. You will hike 4.5 miles while descending 3600 feet. You will set up camp, check out gear, and bandage your feet if necessary. After a rest, you can take your dinner out to Plateau Point, 1.5 miles of fairly flat ground, to watch the sunset before returning to camp for a well deserved rest.


[Bright Angel Creek]DAY THREE: Hike 4.2 miles across the Tonto Plateau, ascending 400 feet, and then down the scenic South Kaibab trail, approximately 1400 feet over 2 miles, to Bright Angel campground at the river. You will leave the crowds behind as you explore the Plateau, finding the secret of its secluded creeks. You will reach the river in time to hear ranger talks, see sunset from the River Trail, and rest your feet in the cool water of Bright Angel Creek.

[Mouth of Phantom Creek][Phantom Creek Waterfall]

DAY FOUR: Hike about 1 mile outside Phantom Ranch to the mouth of Phantom Creek and 1 to 3 miles up the creek passed waterfalls, alcoves, and nature's waterslides. This beautiful day hike area is close-in, yet private. Deep, narrow Phantom Canyon boosts a clear, bubbly creek, quiet alcoves, abundant wildlife, and cool breezes. This is NOT a hike during the monsoon season when rain is likely. Phantom creek drains a huge area and can flash flood moving boulders that can weigh up to a ton and ripping and tearing a human body. Plan to spend the afternoon listening to Ranger Talks and having good times in the Phantom Ranch Canteen.


[Toes in the Colorado]DAY FIVE:Walk up Bright Angel Trail back to Indian Gardens. You will hike 5 miles while ascending 1300 feet. Stick your toe in the Colorado River and play in Pipe and Garden Creeks. See numerous waterfalls and the remains of mining activity in the Canyon. Enjoy a second sunset at Plateau Point.


[Bright Angel Trailhead]DAY SIX:Return to the top, 4.5 miles and 3600 feet, and enjoy the thrill of being among the elite who have hiked to the bottom and back up. Stay another night and see sunset from one of the beautiful points on the South. Or, plan additional days enjoying the canyon area before returning home sore, but with unforgettable memories of this fantastic and unique natural wonder of the world.



Special Considerations

Every hike in the Grand Canyon requires good conditioning and stamina. You are hiking down and back up almost a mile in elevation change. You must be in good physical condition, no knee problems, no heart or circulation problems.

On this trip you will hike in creeks and around creek boulders as well as directly in creek beds with pools up to five feet deep. Hiking boots you don't care about getting wet or enclosed water shoes are strongly advised for hiking in creeks as you will do some scrabbling over rocks. Sandals will leave your feet too vulnerable. Closable plastic bags that fit inside your day pack are recommended for your gear. Although you will begin your hike in the light on some days you may get up and prepare for your hike before dawn. I strongly recommend that you bring a head lamp and extra batteries. Also most people find that a walking stick greatly helps them hike in the canyon.

Last Updated November 27, 2003
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