The South Kaibab Trail

As we left for the trailhead, it was snowing lightly with temperatures near freezing.  The forecast was for periods of rain or snow so it looked like we may be in for a cold wet hike.  Shortly after starting down the trail however, the precipitation stopped, skies cleared somewhat, and it remained dry for the remainder of the day.  As expected, temperatures rose throughout the day and reached the mid 60s by the time we arrived at the Colorado River.  The hike to Phantom Ranch is about seven miles with an elevation drop of about 4800 feet.

Be sure to click on these thumbnail photos for larger versions.

1. Switchbacks near the start of the trail.

2. O'Neill Butte.

3. Jeff took this photo of me, standing in awe looking at the immense canyon before me.  The South Kaibab trail follows a ridge that offers incredible views along the way.  The Colorado River lies at the bottom of the inner gorge, which is the deepest cut in this photo.

4. Hikers along the trail at Cedar Ridge.

5. Workers repairing a section of trail.

6. Zoroaster Temple.

7. A raven perched in a tree in a flat area just below Cedar Ridge.  This is a good spot to take a snack break.

8. Looking northeast toward the Clear Creek drainage.

9. Switchbacks on the trail below Skeleton Point.

10. The view from the Tonto Platform.

11. That's Jeff and me at the Tonto trail sign.

12. We've reached the Tipoff, which marks the beginning of the final descent into the inner canyon.  That's Jeff at lower right.

13. The Colorado River and the Phantom Ranch area.

14. This huge boulder was about to fall onto the trail so I held it up so that the other hikers could safely pass by. 

15. If you look closely at this photo you can see hikers.  Notice the sheer cliffs nearby.

16. The 400 foot long Black Bridge used by hikers and pack-mules to cross the Colorado River.  You pass through a tunnel shown in this photo to reach the near end of the bridge.

17. Jeff on the bridge.