register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Skeleton Point, AZ

31 45 0
Guide 45 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
3.9 of 5 by 15
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,100 feet
Elevation Gain -2,139 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,179 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.4
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
25  2019-05-15
GC: South Rim 2 North Rim
21  2019-03-08
Bright Angel - Tonto - South Kaibab
14  2016-10-29
Cheops Plateau
23  2016-10-21
Grand Canyon - Inner Gorge - AZT #38
14  2015-05-02
Brahma Temple
29  2014-11-27
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
30  2014-05-18
Phantom Canyon - Lower
30  2014-05-17
Phantom Canyon - Lower
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Dschur
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 0
Photos 532
Trips 51 map ( 299 miles )
Age 58 Female Gender
Location Payson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:37pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Backbone of S. Kaibab trail
by Dschur

Likely In-Season!
This is part of the S. Kaibab Trail. It is a good day hike to Skeleton Point. There is an excellent view of the Colorado River and a hitching rail where the mules rest. This trail is used less than Bright Angel Trail for mules so isn't as bad. It is steeper and has no water along the trail. There is a restroom at Cedar Ridge. The trail winds down from the top with very steep switch backs in the first 0.5 miles or so.

Then it goes out along a steep dropping canyon. There are many fossil footprints in the sandstones before Cedar Ridge in the big rocks along the trail after Ohh Ahh point. These are mammal like reptiles. Then the trail goes down from Cedar Ridge. In this area there are also some plant fossils around the rest area. The trail goes off from Cedar Ridge all the way across the flat area and keep to the right after the restroom.

It then goes past O'Neill Butte and there is some nice views of Plateau Point in the east. We have done some nice full moon hikes on this trail in the early summer. Since it doesn't go down in the canyon like Bright Angel does the moon can light up the trail and no flashlights are needed. Then along trail from Cedar Ridge to Skeleton Point there are many flat rocks along the area with all kinds of fossil tracks of mammal like reptiles and spiders.

The view from Skeleton Point is awesome and on a clear and not hazy or smoky day in the canyon can be quite colorful. You can see all the layers of the canyon from the Kaibab limestone on the top to the Vishnu schist in the bottom of the canyon with the Colorado River. In the winter time there is many times where crampons are needed as the trail can be quite slick with ice and snow. It is a steep trail and has very little shade so is not suggested to do in the summer time.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-02-16 Dschur
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 23 deeper Triplog Reviews
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Rim to Rim to Rim
SK to skeleton PT, down old Miners to the Tonto platform, down the kickass tapeats break to the river trail, across black bridge to Phantom, lemonade, down to the silver bridge, up and over "the kiva route" to the lower section of Utah Flats Route, back to Phantom, more lemonade, up NK to the rim, 4 hour nap, down NK to Cottonwood, 2 hour nap, no lemonade :( , down to Ribbon Falls, back to Phantom Ranch, still no lemonade!! It's dark, they're closed...on we March... Cross silver bridge, up old corkscrew, cross new BA at granite pools, up old BA to the Tonto, sneak into Indian Gardens, nap 2 hours? near Creek, up BA to Kolb Seep, left trail on "Kolb Route", intersect Upper Old BA aka Cameron Route, emerge just east of upper tunnel, quazi nap right there, crawl to original Trailhead beside Kolb Studio... No margaritas... Taxi took forever to get us home.

Sleeping for the next three weeks...except work at 8am tomorrow.... Meeehhhhhh
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
I headed up to the Canyon for a little bit of a gut check. I wanted to finish what Karl and I had started Thanksgiving of last year, which had really only amounted to a quick recon of the route through the red wall on the way to Brahma. I was able to get a pretty good idea of the rest of the route through Joe and Dave1.

I drove up Friday evening. There was a self-pay machine on the way into the park, but I was not sure if they were suggesting to pay or actually insisting, so I continued through the entrance and pretended that I did not know how the machine worked. I camped at the first dispersed site along the forest road that takes you to Grandview tower and the rim S. rim section of the AZT.

Keeping with the apparent rules of Brahma, which I gathered from reading other HAZ members trip logs, I got very little sleep the night before. However, I was able to double Dave's suggestion of two hours of sleep and got a restless four hours.

Even at 5:30 in the morning, foot traffic was a little heavy along the upper stretches of S.K. Nevertheless, the relentless downhill went by very quickly, as it always does. In fact, the first half of my morning went by very quickly and I made relatively good time. I was staring at Mr. T, getting ready to start my ascent through the red wall less than five hours after starting the trail.

I had already did the red wall section with Karl back in November, so there were no surprises and it went quickly and smooth. The ascent up through the shelves of Hermit shale went equally as smooth, in fact, for myself the red wall and Hermit shale stretches really make the hike, a little climbing but nothing overwhelming and kind of fun. Upon reaching the top of the shale, I got to enjoy one of my favorite stretches and the first of two long stretches of scree slopes that one must traverse to reach the Zoro-Brahma saddle and the starting off point for the final climb through the Coconino to reach the summit of Brahma. Actually, there were probably zero parts of this portion of the hike that I liked and the traverse is physically and mentally taxing to say the least.

I learned several things on this day. Firstly, I have no problem with climbing, scrambling and a little exposure. Secondly, I hate navigating scree slopes! Scree with unforgiving exposures is nearly my kryptonite. I find it to be scary to navigate, slow going and too tedious and annoying for my level of patience and demeanor.

If one examines my route, its easy to recognize I took a different approach up Brahma than the established route. A part of this was be design, however, most of this was a product of getting off track and choosing to improvise instead of returning to the established route. There are several failed attempts on my route where I stubbornly tried to climb up from a more southeasterly corner. Another lesson learned yesterday, improvising and being stubborn rarely pays off in the Canyon, as it will always wins those battles. Nevertheless, I reached the summit and enjoyed perhaps the best 15 minutes or so of outdoor experiences I have had to date.

The views were amazing and some ominous clouds mixed in with a couple heart-stopping claps of thunder made for a unique summit experience. I realize there are tougher spots to reach in the national park, however, I felt an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction standing on top of Brahma with the summit to myself. Similarly, there was an emotional aspect to the experience as well. I could not help but notice that JJ had left a happy Father's day message behind in the register and this held some certain relevance with me.

I had told a few close friends that I was doing the hike/climb as a small tribute to the man who made me who I am today. He would have turned 56 on the 30th of April had he still been alive today and I can't think of a better way to celebrate life than to spend a day cheating death.

The trip down was not the easy part. I ran out of water while making the traverse over to the Zoro-Brahma saddle and was really only able to squeeze about a three oz sip out of the bottom of my bladder after that. Similarly, because I was hiking a little fast and somewhat dwelling on my water situation, I walked three-tenths of a mile past my static lines to drop back down through the top layers of Hermit shale. Again my stubbornness led me to try and fix the navigation error on the fly, but there are no alternate routes and after yelling at myself inside my head I turned around and retraced my steps back to the first difficult roped down climb. I don't want to make excuses, but I think I was also making a few poor choices, because I was a little warm, kind of exhausted and I knew I had at least three hours to look forward to of no water (ended up being closer to five hours. Consequently, I may have been acting with a little haste and not thinking clearly. Nothing gets one's heart pumping like being alone on top of the Hermit shale out of water and unable to locate the lines needed to down climb.

The rest of the climb down and the trip back to the Clear Creek Trail went very slow, my actions were very deliberate because of fatigue and my rapidly declining stores of energy. The worst part of no water was not being able to eat, as my mouth was too parched to eat, or probably speak at that point. With only three miles to go, I broke down and drank some water out of the bedrock in Sumner Wash. I did not have my filter so I used my long sleeve undershirt as a pre-filter, filled a Gatorade bottle and alternated taking very small sips and rinsing out my mouth as I made my way back to Phantom.

There is no dodging S.K. so I just sucked it up and embraced the seemingly endless and very slow going climb into the night's sky. I passed a trail runner near the top and he asked, "Did you do a rim to rim to rim today?" I said "no," but thought to myself after doing Brahma what an insulting question, rim to rim to rim please, that's for the tourist.
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
It was another memorable trip into my beloved Grand Canyon! Lee, Karl and I spent four days backpacking along the Clear Creek Trail. We had nice weather overall and made good use of our time.

Day 1 - November 27, 2014
The three of left Phoenix around 6am and drove up to the south rim. We dumped Lee’s car at the South Kaibab parking area and headed down the SK Trail starting around 10am. We made good time and cruised down to the Tipoff. At that point Lee and I decided to hike the Miner’s Route. Karl was feeling under the weather and would meet us at Phantom Ranch.

This was my second time on the Miner’s Route and it was quite a ride. The footing is very loose and off camber and a full pack doesn’t make things easier. We were able to slowly follow the route as it zigzagged down and both of us had no issues. We arrived on the River Trail and it was smooth sailing to Phantom Ranch.

We met Karl at the canteen and the three of us loaded up on water and then started up the Clear Creek Trail prepared for a dry camp. The trail gains over a thousand feet in the first two miles as you hike beneath the Tapeats and the Great Unconformity. We arrived at the two mile point and found some campers there so we continued the half mile to Sumner Wash and found plenty of good camping there. We set up camp and settled in for the evening. The sun set around 5:20pm and it was dark by 6pm. It got very cold and I was a little worried for the rest of the trip. We all headed for our tents before 8pm. Luckily this night was by far the coldest of the three nights.

Day 2 – November 28, 2014
We woke on Friday morning and took our time breaking down camp. Lee and Karl had plans to hit Brahma but Karl wasn’t feeling up to it due to being under the weather. The three of headed east on the Clear Creek Trail and dropped down to Clear Creek where we selected the main site nestled under a cluster of Cottonwoods. This is a sweet site and the creek is close by. A pit toilet is also available. There are lots of good camping sites in this area.

It was about noon by the time we had camp set up. Karl wanted to relax in camp while Lee and I headed up stream in search of ruins and Cheyava Falls. We both knew the falls would be dry (they flow in the spring) but wanted the adventure. We made decent time as we scanned the area for ruins. We found the main site roughly a mile north of camp. I didn’t realize it was a full complex with 21 rooms. There is also a register. Take a fresh notebook if you go because the current one is just about full. It dates back to 1999.

After the ruins we continued up Clear Creek and followed an established route to Cheyava Falls. We had to cross the creek a few times but never had to get our feet wet. It’s likely there is a stronger flow in the spring so be prepared to get your feet wet. We made good time and then could see the falls and yes they were bone dry. We got a little closer but were running low on time. I wanted to be back to camp by 5pm to avoid darkness. Lee did some quick exploring while I filtered water. We started our return around 3pm and cruised back to the camp. I didn’t realize how much elevation we gained until we headed down canyon.

We got back to camp and settled in for another evening. We were expecting it to be bitter cold but were pleasantly surprised to find mild temps. We set up the party lights in the Cottonwood trees and our neighbors were jealous. Funny thing the next morning one of our neighbors walked up and asked if we were camping at Deer Creek a month ago. She recognized the party lights. Sure enough yes that was us. We had a good laugh at what a small world it is.

Day 3 – November 29, 2014
Karl was feeling better and Lee was getting an itch for Brahma. They quickly packed up camp and headed back to our first night’s camp. I stayed behind. I wanted to do some exploring down canyon. I would meet them later.

I got my day pack together and told them my plan and I was off down canyon. I followed Clear Creek south and came to the intersection with an east arm. I scoped this out on maps ahead of time and wanted to take a look. I hiked in about a mile. The creek bed is dry through here and walls are really high. There is a mixture of Shinumo Quartzite and Bass Limestone among other formations. I want to return here when I have more time. I returned to main intersection and then headed a bit down Clear Creek. This is another amazing drainage and I want to return with more time to go all the way to the Colorado River.

After my brief hike downstream I returned to camp under the Cottonwoods and relaxed for an hour or so. During this time I ate and filtered more water. I wanted to be prepared for another dry camp at Sumner Wash. I left camp around noon and cruised the six plus miles back to our first night’s camp. Karl and Lee’s tents were set up. They were exploring the Redwall break and would return within an hour or two.

We settled in for our last evening as we ate dinner and then lay on our backs and did some star gazing. It was clear skies tonight but the moon was out and was very bright at roughly 60% full. I got lucky and saw a few satellites and a pair of shooting stars.

Day 4 – November 30, 2014
We woke fairly early and had camp broken down by 7am. We hit the trail soon after and cruised back to Phantom Ranch. My pack was noticeably lighter. I weighed it at the ranch and it was 27.5 lbs. It weighed 42 lbs on Thursday after I loaded up on water.

The hike up South Kaibab was the typical grind but it flew by. The skies were overcast and the temps were cool. We topped out around noon and then loaded up and headed back to Phoenix. Another wonderful trip complete!

This was a really fun trip and great company. I would definitely return to Clear Creek with more time to spend exploring. I would love to see Cheyava Falls gushing. That would be a sight to behold! Thanks Lee for picking up the permits and driving.
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
A pretty standard intro to the Grand Canyon courtesy of 9L. My previous experiences in the canyon had only been your standard rim to rim to rim marathons and a few other longer day hikes. We left Happy Valley road exit around 5:50 which sealed a very late canyon start time on what would eventually shape out to be a pretty warm day but a great day overall and eventually an excellent first trip to the canyon.

We were boots on ground at South Kaibab TH after 9:30 and making our way to the rim and down by about 9:45 in the morning. The hike down was quick and a little warm, but pretty standard. John gave a detailed description of each layer of earth, pointed out a few lesser known routes and introduced me to terms, like, red walls, the whites, and all the colorful names attached to all those temples and massive rock features, like, Isis, Zoraster, Brhma and Cheops. Seeing some of those land forms that a select few crazy HAZers have been scaling lately, really put into perspective the magnitude of those hikes.

Phantom Ranch, was well Phantom Ranch the usual assortment of legitimate hikers and backpackers mixed among those who had hiked down with a bottle of Aquafina to their well stocked cabins for the weekend, and the steady stream of rim runners of course. We took an extended break at the ranch and then made our way up the spur/use trail leading to Utah Flats.

Utah Flats was very warm, in fact, someone at ranch claimed 107 degrees, but I cant confirm. I was by no means falling out at this point, but I was certainly pretty fatigued as we snaked our way along the top of the Phantom Canyon drainage, until the point where we would drop in.

After finally reaching Phantom Canyon, the day got exponentially better. There were no people, we had a pristine spot, there was time for rest and relaxation and John was able to address some "safety concerns" we had had earlier in the day.

I know to the canyon enthusiast and hardened veterans our day two itinerary was nothing earth shattering. However, I can honestly say it was one of my more fulfilling hikes in a long time, and for me really nothing short of spectacular. Phantom Canyon was a blast, the pools of water started off freezing, but were welcomed by the end, we were able to keep all essential items dry, the canyon was beautiful and although short, it really proved to be a quite the gem overall.

I am not going to lie, I had a lot of anxiety for some reason about the climb out after our little canyoneering experience, however, it proved to be pretty tame. We hit up a section of the Old Bright Angel and John took me to a couple of ruin sites along the way, was very happy to mark my first two ruin's sites in the canyon. We left Indian Garden(s) near 2:30 and had to make sure we did not take too much time the rest of the way, as our last stop on trip would be and introduction to the B.C.O before closing time at five.

We ended up doing the final 4.5 miles in about two hours on the dot and were easily able to make it to the B.C.O where I obtained my first back country permit for the Grand Canyon, Nothing too crazy, just a little five day jaunt through some outer corridor areas during the first week of June, which I am already looking very forward to.

Interesting Side Notes:

John holds his camera three feet above his head even when he is going through ankle deep water, he says to minimize splash damage.

All the people are kind of annoying on the Bright Angel, however, I found feeding off the misery of others as they crawled out was great motivation and even fueled me to a certain degree.

Finally, there is no greater satisfaction then passing (with full pack) a group of famed ultra runners completing, but certainly struggling to complete a mere rim to rim.

Disclaimer: AEG needs some work, waiting on John's finally tally, my G.P.S. decided to bounce off a couple points in northern Utah I think.

Warning: I don't want to hear one pumpkin comment from Chumley about the length of my photo-set, it was an awesome trip and my first time over night in canyon so its allowed!
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Lee was interested in doing an overnighter in the Canyon and I was down. I recently saw the Phantom Canyon trip report from Dave and Toddak and figured it would make a perfect overnight option for us. I picked up the permits before my Tanner Trip a couple of weeks ago. We worked out the details and were on our way.

We left Phoenix on Saturday morning around 5:50am and drove up to the Canyon. We left a vehicle near the BA Trailhead and took a taxi ($12 plus tip) over to SK. We started down around 10am and cruised down taking very short breaks mostly to take pics and soak in the views. We arrived at Phantom Ranch and took a break where we hydrated and ate some food. From there we grinded up the Utah Flats Route starting around 1:40pm. It was hot! This was my first time on the route and it went really well. There is a full blown trail going up all the way to the top of Piano Alley. The trail disappears for a minute once things level off but we picked it back up again shortly afterward and followed that all the way down into Phantom Canyon.

We arrived in Phantom Canyon around 4:15pm to find the area deserted. The camp we used is right at the bottom of the trail. We settled in and got camp set up. Lee was using a tent and I was using my bivy. Afterward we took a quick walk over to the rope drop. It’s right around the corner from our camp. It looked fine and I looked forward to going down the next morning. From there we hiked about a mile up Upper Phantom Canyon. This is a really beautiful area and is very lush. I’d like to return another time with more time to explore the area. I really want to see Haunted Canyon and other areas. We returned to camp and filtered water with my sawyer mini and then had dinner. We both turned in fairly early. The long hike & heat really took a toll on us.

Sunday morning came and we both woke fairly early…6:30ish. We took our time in camp and got all of our gear situated. We had three dry bags. One large bag we borrowed from Chumley (Thanks Chums!) and two smaller bags. Lee took the large bag and I took the two smaller bags. We divided up our gear and then got packed. From there we walked over to the rope and got ourselves situated. Lee went down first while I took pics. After he was down I lowered our packs one at a time and included both of our cameras. Lee took pics as I descended. Going down the rope was very straightforward and a good rush!

Once in the creek bottom we started heading down canyon. We were greeted by two very short swims immediately after the rope drop in. The water was very chilly when we first jumped in. It was roughly 8am and it woke me up immediately! After that the canyon opens up and we proceeded down the creek. Most of the going is very easy. There were a few more swims as we descended. They were very short averaging 10-20 ft across. Nothing is overwhelming and we were having the time of our lives. About half way down canyon we noticed fresh footprints and then saw wet rock. A few minutes later we caught up to a group of three. They dropped in about halfway off some sketchy route that started from the “Antler Room”. I’ll have to see if I can find any info on this route. We chatted with them for a bit and then continued down canyon. There were a few more short swims along the way. Some can be bypassed and others are mandatory. I would guess we did six mandatory swims. They were all very short and easy. As we neared the end we ran into another group who were making a day hike up from Phantom Ranch. Finally near the end we ran into ranger Christie from the BCO. We recognized each other from my numerous trips to the BCO. It was cool seeing someone I knew down here. A few short minutes after that we walked out on the North Kaibab trail. Hell of a morning!

After we were back on official trail we cruised on down to Phantom Ranch and took a long break at the Canteena. We unpacked all of our gear and got it resituated. I was surprised how dry the contents of our packs were. I guess the short swims didn’t give the water enough time to really soak in. The dry bags really helped as well. After our long break, we started the hike up BA. Along the way we took a detour up Old BA where I showed Lee the ruins. We then cut over to the ruins below Plateau Point. From there it was the grind up BA. We were back on the rim around 4:20 and then over to the BCO. After that we made the ride back to Phoenix but made a quick stop at NiMarco’s in Flag for pizza and the golden bbq wings. Damn those wings are yum!

This was another solid trip into the Canyon! I loved Phantom Canyon and would definitely “hike” the route again. Thanks Lee for driving and good times backpacking with you!
Skeleton Point
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
GCNP Ribbon Utah Battleship
Day 1 - 15.7 miles - After a breezy 44 degree night under the stars outside Tusayan, I entered the park early enough for it to be free and soon headed down the South Kaibab. Taking a break out on the Cedar Ridge end point, I let the Canyon sink into my brain for a bit before heading down to Phantom Ranch for lunch under a shaded picnic table. From there I continued up North Kaibab to Ribbon Falls, only to find it temporarily closed for a Zuni ceremony. I had to wait just around the bend from the falls with a guy named Randy from Macon, Georgia, who had been there 29 years ago with his brother. We lay on our backs in the shade, listening to the songs reverberate off the natural amphitheater overhead for an hour before we were allowed to finally enter. 8) Their creation story describes the first people emerging from the cave at the base of moss covered travertine monolith, and I personally can't think of a better place to call sacred than where we stood. I ducked into the cave, climbing to the window and poking my head out, the cold water a curtain in front of my view of the canyon beyond. :y:
Cottonwood Camp was only another 1.5 miles, so I set up camp and had dinner, returning for a sunset walk to the falls for some moonlight/LED photography. I can't say the pictures turned out very well, my sensor and LED's are too small and the falls are too big, but it made for an interesting adventure.
Day 2 - 8.6 Miles - After a morning trip to the falls, I cruised down North Kaibab to Phantom for another wonderful lunch under the shady tree before watering up (170 ounces) for my first trip up Utah Flats. The first half was like climbing a sand dune with a heavy pack, and Piano Alley was like climbing up a huge pile of (you guessed it) pianos with that same heavy pack. I found a nice flat spot at the saddle just southwest of the red rock basin, set up camp and soon was wandering around checking out the area. The small knoll just northeast of Piano Alley commanded awesome views in every direction, and I hung out there for the sunset. :D
Day 3 - 10.5 Miles - I had planned to bag Cheops Pyramid at dawn, but...
1) From where I stood, the southern ramp looked gnarly. My awesome wife K and I recently celebrated 25 years, and I'd like to be around to go for Gold.
2) My left heel, already sporting a whopper moleskin, did not like the look of that long off-camber talus approach one bit.
3) Bagging Cheops would mean I would miss the Golden Hour of light at the Utah Flats red rock basin.

Suffice to say I had a blast meandering around the sculpted forms with my new camera before breaking camp and heading back down. Another lunch at Phantom, this time under the shade tree just east of the stables near the silver bridge. From there it was up the Bright Angel, where I chatted up a group of Mung people in custom black silk uniforms ( :-k ), as well as joining Tom (Illinois), and Jenna (Tennessee) for the walk up to Indian Gardens.
At camp I met future HAZ member Roger from Phoenix, who had also planned his trip around the full moon. He was up for the trip out to Plateau Point for the sunset/moonrise, so we headed out and had a great time. After the sun went down, we had the place to ourselves, the conversation and beverages flowed. (simply mix Vodka with Indian Gardens water, add Smuckers Natural Concord Grape Jelly, shake vigorously until dissolved, and enjoy. Pretty Smuckin' good). The full moon walk back was the perfect last night in the Canyon.
Day 4 - 7.5 Miles - Roger headed out for a 26 mile dayhike to Granite Rapids (yeah, he'll fit in here on HAZ just fine), and I bopped up to the 2 mile switchback to access the Battleship route for my first trip there. Once again, my pack, though getting lighter, still made this less fun than it could have been. I carried it as far as the chimney, hoping it would be safe from critters for a few minutes while I went up. The climb was great, solid rock, little exposure, and a great summit. After taking in the scenery, I headed down, finding my pack undisturbed , and returned to the Bright Angel. The rim arrived soon, and I celebrated another safe return with the two Pyramid brews I had in my truck (still cool!), sitting below the edge along the Rim Trail by the Worship Site. 8)
A perfect trip. As always I'm torn between wanting to return to the same amazing places, or exploring new ones. Cheops looks much easier when viewed from the south, and someday I'll return. A dayhike from Bright Angel camp seems like a better way to do it.
Till then, I'll hike around Phoenix, and have some great adventures. But in the back of my mind, the Canyon will always call to me, a timeless sacred place that my words, my pictures, my videos will do no justice.

P.S. Not that I don't try.
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Late night excursions led to 4 hours and a surprise happy hour at Phantom followed by a pre-sunrise climb out via miners and skeleton pt rt.

Lemmy lemonade and mango rum = amazing!

There were 4 of us from the rim, 2 guys had never taken the off trail chunks, they loved it. On our way back "upstairs" two guys from Phantom joined our crew.

We were out by 6am and I had just enough time to eat and shower before hopping on the Dixie to ride to work, I love my life!

My favorite part of this chaos was pointing out the unconformity in the rock layers just below the Tapeats break! :y:
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Another solo trek down to the river. Didn't stop by Phantom this time, didn't want to be late for dinner with the crew at El Tovar.

Saw 6 bighorns below the Tapeats break, running right along the route I was heading to. Such magnificent creatures!!!

Noticed a seep, spring type thing down in a drainage west of the break, I'll be taking a few coworkers out that way with me soon.

Skeleton Point Route was super washed out this time around, we got a bit of rain few weeks ago maybe that and the tiny bit of snow over the winter caused some extra erosion.

Getting warmer!!! :D in the upper 80s near the river! Whoo! Summer!
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Solo trek down BA turned into an extremely windy trip to the River and up lower Miner's.
It was SO windy I opted to skip upper route aka skeleton point route. The wind was gusting then howling and at a few spots, especially through the narrow Tapeats sections the wind would come screaming at me so hard I would be knocked to the ground!!
Spotted a bighorn just west of the lower miners Tapeats break!!! Sweet!

I headed up from miners toward the tonto through a gorgeous little BA shale mini drainage, lots of bighorn evidence there!!

Reached the tipoff in a minute and hauled up the red n whites, shivering in the icy wind the whole time. Darn winter weather!!

For my first and longest trip since moving back I'm very happy with myself. I has a blast and man it sure is great to be home!!
Skeleton Point
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Old BA & Miners Route & Skeleton Pt Rt
Second attempt at Miner's Route was successful!! :wlift: : rambo : :y:

First time I tried to go up Lower Miner's it was :pk: HOT and I was alone and not nearly as strong as I am currently. It seems I'm in the midst of some sort of hiking tear and I'm REALLY enjoying it!!

I grabbed my buddy Erin (I knew she could physically do this and with me in the lead I knew she'd be OK) and we hopped down BA ran in to TONS of Canyon friends, David Cassidy a hiker/guide friend of mine was finishing up a 9 person group of R2R-ers, Ranger Betsy on patrol, 3 guys from Florida heading up from IG, some random guy from Dallas heading down to find his mom, a sweet couple from Cali who we rented sleeping bags to at work, another random guy from O-H-I-O ](*,), and Mule Rancher Derryl,

Once we hit Indian Garden we realized that Mule Rancher Derryl was on his way down with a mule tour! Nooooo! Erin and I took off down the trail until we reached the Tonto where we heard Derryl say "If you look to your right you'll see my friend Haley heading across the Tonto Trail we probably won't see her again for a few days" :lol:

We trotted along at great speed along the Tonto until I realized I passed the "entrance" to the OLD BA trail, I just found it a few weeks ago with 9L so I wanted to take it! We made it down Old BA in what felt like seconds, but the mule group had caught up! I pointed out to Erin how the Old BA crosses and instantly heads down the OLD Devil's Corkscrew, you can't take the Old BA and NOT take the Old Corkscrew!!!
Again Mule Rancher Derryl said out loud "There she is again, Haley I wouldn't suggest going offtrail there" then he continued on to say "You'll see where they're walking is the Old trail that was used..." and then Erin and I were off on a scree filled adventure down the old corkscrew! : rambo : It's very easy to follow until the last 20 feet or so where it more or less vanishes, no matter, just go with it!

We continued down BA and hit the River trail where I pointed out our route to Erin then we ran off to Phantom for Lemonade ( :DANCE: ) and to introduce Erin to my trail crew friends and some friends that work at the Canteen, along the way a group asked us our itinerary so we told them...the word "Badass" was haphazardly tossed around multiple times, if only they knew what an understatement that feels like after having finished this fun little trek.

Ok so heading up the Miner's Route you will see a "route" of sorts...but really just go what feels right for you, I stuck to the Vishnu and Zoroaster "stairs" it was easy to dart up and not as "scree-ee" after a few minutes I realized I had officially climbed higher than my last trek, score! I waved Erin over my way and going was much easier for her, after that she dogged my steps and we had a grand old time.

There are two neat little saddles that are great to break at and enjoy the views, holy beans the entire Canyon SINGS to you from these vantage points!! I did step off the trail at one point, it went up a few feet further than I thought, it was so faint it was hard to follow it in some spots but I knew the way I was facing was wrong so we looked around, Erin called out "maybe it goes up?!" I looked ahead into the sun and spotted the trail uphill, duh Hippy!!

UP, UP, UP!!! My calves wouldn't be too happy with me if they hadn't been put through so much torture the past few months!
Eventually you reach a perfect saddle and the break in the Tapeats looms ahead, you reach it within minutes of leaving the saddle and from there just go up up up some more! The Miner's Cairn greets you at the top of the Tapeats and from there you just follow the uh..."trail" right into the Tonto...I have NEVER been so happy to run into the Tonto before!!

We followed the Tonto west until I found the "ridge" of Bright Angel Shale that heads up toward the break in the Red Wall known as Skeleton Point Route or Upper Miner's. 9L had suggested it would be easier to stick to the BA Shale ridge that goes up just to the right of the "wash" that runs down from the Break, we did just this, the going was not easy but not TOO hard, just hard on the lungs, phew!!

We spooked four pretty mule deer as we reached the Muav layer, I kept us on the big slabs of rock and the climb was much easier that way. Once we reached the bottom of the Redwall I kept heading up, it seemed logical at the time but once we reached the wall itself I KNEW something wasn't right, I had Erin wait by the wash while I inspected a climb to the right...this couldn't be right 9L would never doing something as ridiculous as this!!! And it didn't match everything I'd memorized...okay I'll try to the left, Erin came with me, we checked out another easy climb...I use the term easy very loosely... :scared:

I checked the third and last possibility from where we were and I just knew it wasn't right so I whipped out my phone and checked out the photos of the break that 9L had taken, those didn't help so I turned off airplane mode and made a quick call...from the middle of the Redwall!
Coverage was spotty and the call dropped within seconds, so I hit redial and ended up talking to Chumley...yea that was a big help :lol: Thanks for the laugh Uncle Chums! I managed to get ahold of John again and I quickly realized that Erin and I had climbed up into the Redwall prematurely! So we spent the next 15 minutes crawling, and I DO mean crawling! down the "wash" about 50 feet until I found this "VERY obvious" game trail...FYI all the monsoons we've had have washed away any trace of this "OBVIOUS" trail for the first 15 feet, before Erin and I climbed down we spotted it from above, once you know where it is it's pretty obvious...
I'd say just stay on top of the Muav Cliffed out layer, there's a "route" that leads from the wash directly to the break in the Redwall, after that it's cake! You climb up up up some more, walk over a TON of bones (named Fred of course) and 5 minutes after the bone yard you are slapped in the face with South Kaibab and it's tame, soft sand and walled in trail...

I've never been so happy to walk on South Kaibab! Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed all the offtrail, it as fantastic and fun and Erin was a champ and didn't even get scared or anything when I took us too high up! It was A BLAST!! Yes, these routes are strenuous but only because you climb SO many feet in such tiny sections, its STEEP but boy is it fun!!
Oh and of course all of the crazy exposure...but if you're not comfortable with that I don't know why you'd be off trail in the first place!! :A1:

I'm very happy that I finally got to do this, and I'm even happier that I got Erin to join me! She was very excited about the offtrail and hasn't stopped thanking me for taking her...

Well...what's next?! : rambo :

Map Drive
Info is below 'Directions to trail'

To South Kaibab Trailhead
From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

You can only reach the trailhead by free-shuttle or taxi. Parking is available at several lots. There is a lot a mile from the trailhead on the east drive. If you are there early you can use this lot (it fills up fast) and hike the two miles there and back.

Express hikers' shuttles directly from Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab trailhead depart daily at:
March 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
April 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.
May 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., and 7:00 a.m.

NPS Note: The South Kaibab Trail is located near Yaki Point. Due to the popularity of this area and extremely limited space, parking is not permitted at the trailhead. Hikers must use the park's free shuttle bus system to reach the trailhead. Every morning, several hiker express buses leave from the Bright Angel Lodge and then from the Backcountry Information Center (times vary depending on the month). Otherwise, hikers will need to take the village bus (Blue Line) to Canyon View Information Plaza and transfer to the Green Line. South Kaibab trailhead is the first stop on the Green Line.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 235 mi - about 3 hours 42 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 340 mi - about 5 hours 12 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 88.1 mi - about 1 hour 33 mins
help comment issue

end of page marker