Hiking the canyon was a must for us, despite the near freezing temperatures. Cory really wanted to do a full hike to the bottom and back, but once we arrived in the canyon, signs and brochures were everywhere warning against doing just that! We saw several hikers with these chains on their boots… Uh oh!
So, we revised our hiking plans and instead chose a hike that was a moderate level, and boasted the best views of the canyon. Even the shuttle driver (the Grand Canyon has a great system of shuttles to get you around the village and the different visitor’s centers and trailheads) said it was one of his favorites. We were preceded by rangers on mules!
South Kaibab Trailhead will actually take you all the way to the bottom of canyon, and there were quite a few people on our trail doing just that. They were all camping below, and either returning the next day or taking a different route. Since we had friends arriving the following day, and snow was predicted, we decided we’d stick with a few hours’ hike, instead of overnight!
I’ve got a lot of pictures, so click to read through.
We showed up to the trailhead dressed in layers. I felt like a marshmallow – I had two pairs of socks, leggings, jeans, a tank top, a t-shirt, a flannel, and a Northface fleece, along with a scarf, mitten, and headwarmer. And I was glad for every bit of it!
The trail is really fantastic. It’s a rather steep initial descent into the canyon, with plenty of switchbacks, but evens out quickly. The toughest part was navigating the snow, and consequent mud. Not much fun to hike through! Can’t beat the view – snow on the red rocks. Breaking up a rock that had fallen in the path – Cory wanted to join in!
Ooh Aah is about one mile in, I believe, and is a pretty easy hike that results in a great view of the canyon (hence the name). We noticed, on our way back, a fair amount of people hike down just to this point.
We gained a few degrees of temperature as we dropped further down, and the snow and mud disappeared. The drop off was pretty steep on the sides! This is my best “Don’t fall off” walk. Just to show we made progress – the very tip top point is Ooh Aah!
Our turn back was Skeleton Point, three miles down into the canyon. We ate lunch there, and had a fantastic view of the Colorado River. Riverside lunch at bird’s eye view This guy was getting a little too close to my trail mix! Back on the trail Sure, he looks like a cute little fella, but he’s got a nasty side. Snack stop includes a bit of vertigo.
The return wasn’t too bad – a little strenuous in some parts and definitely rest-heavy on the last few switchbacks. We decided Grand Canyon hikes don’t offer the reward mountain hikes do – the easy downhill return!
Happy trails! Any fun hikes you’ve been on lately?
Writing, eating, loving, laughing, and enjoying where life takes me.
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