South Bass Trail

Grand Canyon, Arizona

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2 Reviews
5 out of 5
A memorable rim-to-river backpack of three to four days, tracing a historic trail from the westernmost South Rim trailhead in the park.

South Bass Trail Professional Review and Guide

"A memorable rim-to-river backpack of three to four days, tracing a historic trail from the westernmost South Rim trailhead in the park."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Grand Canyon
Distance: 16
Elevation Gain: 4,442 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: Best: Apr through June; Sept through Oct. *Rain and snow make the trailhead access road periodically impassable.
Trailhead Elevation: 6,652 feet
Top Elevation: 2,210 feet
Local Contacts: Grand Canyon National Park
Local Maps: USGS quads: Explorers Monument and Havasupai Point; Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to South Bass Trail

Recent Trail Reviews


Trails, There is an error on the South Bass Trail Guide by Ron Adkison with Falcon Guide. The main error is in getting to the trail head. Mr. Adkison describes the wrong road. The correct description should say: Hikers approaching Grand Canyo from the south via Highway 64 need not enter the Park at the South Entrance Station. Drive up the hill on Highway 64 at the north end of town passing the the roads signed for North Long Loop and the Tusayan Ranger Station. Forest Road 328 signed Moqui Drive is the next left and will take you 30 miles back to the trail head with signs and mile posts along the way. The road Mr. Adkison describes is not Forest Road 328. It is North Long Loop and it takes you back to the south end of Tusayan. I just hiked this on Saturday. It's a great hike. But, it was tough getting to the trailhead when I was following the wrong road. Thanks, Pete


The South Bass Trail is truly amazing. Rated by Backpacker Magazine as one of the Best Day Hikes in America, we had to see for ourselves. Avid backpackers, we were anxious to see if we could stand up to the test-we passed with flying colors. It takes about 2-2.5 hours to make the trek from off the main road leading to the Grand Canyon onto the state service roads and through the Indian reservation to the trail head. The ride can get pretty bumpy at times and I would recommend a 4WD with pretty high clearance. Towards the end of the road the ruts are between 1 and 2 feet deep, so steer clear of them and don't attempt to drive it in the rain! The view from the rim is breathless. We were lucky to hit it on a very clear day too, so we had lots of visibility. We set up camp and enjoyed a night on the rim and we were on the trail the next morning by 6:15 a.m. We set a pretty good pace and were at the bottom sitting on the beach of the Colorado River by 11:30 with about 30 minutes total of breaks on the way down. The way down is pretty gradual, however, it is not very well maintained (but it's great!). Expect small rocks and gravel to navigate over. The trail is well marked by cairns, you just have to keep and eye out for them in some spots. There is NO water on this trail at all, so bring lots (at least a gallon per person) and cache some on the way down for the trip back up. The only hard part of the trail is the last few hundred yards down to the beach. It is strewn with boulders and very steep. Manageable, just take your time. We spent 1.5 hours at the bottom and relaxed and had lunch and then were back at the top again by 6 pm. A round trip day hike of 11 hours and 45 minutes. We never felt rushed or hurried, etc., we set a nice steady pace and enjoyed it immensely. The views are beautiful and the feat of conquering the canyon in one day is incredible. Enjoy!

Trail Photos

Activity Feed

May 2018