100 Classic Hikes Arizona
by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2015 Scott S. Warren/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Didn't do very much of this trail because we had 2 grumpy kids in tow, but they loved the start--beautiful views down into the valley and a cool arch right off the bat. As others have mentioned there's a lot of mule poop on the trail. It was chilly when we were there but I can see that getting pretty stinky on a hot, summer day. :)
Hiked Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch then back up S. Kaibab Trail. Absolutely beautiful!
Awesome experience. The 1st 2 weeks of October, everyone is doing rim to rim. About 10 hours South to North on the Kaibab Trails. 10 hours back going North Kaibab to Bright Angel
Hiked from the South Rim trailhead to Indian Gardens and back two days after Christmas with my girlfriend. Stunning hike from the ice and snow into the desert and back. I thought this trail was relatively well maintained, and that the switchbacks made it an easy climb. The only downside was the large number of tourists, but it is the Grand Canyon. My girlfriend thought it was a little harder than I did, but she still thought it was doable. Full disclosure here...both of us are in good shape and regularly hike/run/bike hills in the 2,000-3,000 foot range. The views of the canyon in winter are amazing and cannot be understated. Some of the best views are from Indian Garden looking up the trail, as well as the "standard tourist" views from the rim looking out over the Canyon. All very stunning. It took us about 6 hours to go down and back. Started down at 10:30 am, had lunch at Indian Garden and started up at 1:30 pm. We were at the rim around 4:30 pm. We could have made Plateau Point had we left at 8:00 or 8:30 am. The mules...I cannot say how many times I saw mule @$!*% on the trail and was happy it wasn't 100 degrees and stinking to high heaven. The ice on the upper portions of the trail made it easier than hiking in the summer I think, alhough in-step crampons and walking sticks helped too. Dressed in layers and had no problem with changing temps. Hydration as well was not an issue as it was 30-60 degrees and we each had 2-3 liters of water/powerade during the hike. I would absolutely recommend this trail, just be prepared...for the elements and the climbing, but also the large number of tourists on the rim and the upper couple of miles of the trail.
Great views from the Bright Angel trail. Unfortunately, they have horse & pack animals that also use some trails in the Grand Canyon. These animals move quite slowly, and they literally crap up the trail. If you enjoy the smell of urine & dung (ubiqitous on this trail in the summer), then you might enjoy hiking through this stuff, I didn't. Since I have hiked the rim-to-rim-to-rim in under 16 hours, I like to move out, and dawdling is not my style.
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