Prepare for South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point
Do you want to hike in Grand Canyon National Park for some of the grandest views in the world? We will discuss all you need to know as you plan your hike on Kaibab Trail to Ooh Ahh Point.
We’ll discuss how to get to the trailhead but first some history about the trail and read until the end for the most important rules of the trail.
In conflict with the entrepreneurs operating trails into the canyon like Bright Angel Trail, the National Park Service built South Kaibab Trail in the 1920s to have their own trail down to the Colorado River and the North Kaibab Trail to create the first rim to rim option. The south Kaibab Trail is the shortest route to the Colorado river at 6.5 miles to achieve the almost mile elevation change. Keen eyes can still see holes in the rock where construction crews blasted rock to create the trail. The trail was designed by engineers for hikers and the trail has lesser grade than Bright Angel and is better designed for a four foot width along the complete route. The design of the trail also ensured full sun so that the trail could be used year-round. Mule trains run supplies down to Phantom Ranch and other facilities to support activity inside the canyon.
Knowing the trail was built with such care let's talk about how to get there. Stay until the end where you can find out the two most important rules for this trail.
The trail is located off South Kaibab Road. South Kaibab is only accessible in the Summer via shuttle. The area is accessed using Yaki Point Road off 64. We stayed in Trailer Village. So, we rode our bicycles on the bike trails from trailer village along the south rim to Kaibab Trail. Traveling the rim by bike is our preferred method. There are many canyon overlooks on the bike trail that are photo worthy. The trailhead usually has water seasonally May to October. At South Kaibab the trailhead is located up the hill behind the bathrooms next to the mule corral.
Up later we will discuss what you should pack.
Ooh Aah Point is a 1.8 mile round trip hike that takes about two hours to complete. The elevation change from the rim to Ooh Aah point is 790 feet. So this hike is a little easier to complete than Bright Angel Trail to the 1.5 mile rest house and the views are totally different. The trail works the canyon wall with many switchbacks as the trail descends down into the Canyon. The trail is similar in terrain with steps lightly sandy and stone footing. Between the trailhead and ooh aah point there are no markers so you will want to set your stopwatch and pay attention to how much time you are hiking. Our experience is for every hour hiking down plan on two hours to hike back out. So, if you have 1.5 hours plan on turning around 30 minutes after you leave the canyon rim.
The trailhead starts on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We had time and ability to hike to Ooh Ahh Point and back to the canyon rim. After Ooh Aah point the main feature of the trail is that it runs on a ridge line which provides 360-degree views of the canyon. A feature Bright Angel trail lacks.
Here is our packing list and don’t forget the two most important rules of the trail follow.
There is no water on the trail so make sure you pack 2 liters of water. We recommend the Teton Sports Oasis Hydration pack with a 2 liter bladder. Any hike into the canyon should have plenty of water. Even though this is a shorter hike we packed as if it would be a normal day hike. We packed protein bars, peanut butter crackers, salty snacks and treats like gummy worms for motivation. Other items in our pack include trail maps, compass, first aid kit, camera, and binoculars. We will put Amazon Affiliate Links in our description for your reference. We may earn a small commission if you purchase after clicking the link.
Now that you know what to pack here is the gear we recommend
Trekking Poles are helpful on this trail if you like to use them. We also recommend hiking shoes as the sandy stone can be slippery and its nice to have good traction. The hike is generally in full sun so Make sure you wear sunglasses and dress in layers for the temperature at the rim and what the temperature will be in the canyon, with little wind.
There are two rules to this trail. Rule 1 is to always yield to mules. Move to the uphill canyon wall side of the trail away from the edge. Follow the guides instructions and then return hiking after the mules have moved 50 feet beyond your location. Rule 2, if on the way down you come across hikers coming out of the canyon yield to them as well and let them pass without getting in their way. You will appreciate the same respect when hiking back up.