South Rim Trail: Visitor’s Center to South Kaibab Trail Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||2.8 miles (4.5 km)|
|Hike Time||1-1.5 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||180 feet (55m)|
|Highest Elevation||7,260 feet (2213m)|
|Fees & Permits||National Park Entry Fee|
|Park Website (?)||Grand Canyon National Park|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
Hiking in the Grand Canyon doesn’t have to be a leg-busting trek to the bottom. There’s a beautiful trail called the (South) Rim Trail that allows you to walk along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s a wide, easy, and flat trail where you can enjoy the views without breaking a sweat. This Rim Trail hike starts right at the Visitor’s Center and takes you eastward to the legendary South Kaibab Trailhead. You’ll be rewarded with dozens of vista points that don’t have the crowds. At the end, you can hop on a free shuttle bus back to the Visitor’s Center.
Want a similar hike that takes in more attractions? Try the Rim Trail hike to Bright Angel.
Don’t forget to check out my Grand Canyon hiking tips here!
Getting to the Trailhead
This hike conveniently starts right at the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center, the first stop for many folks coming to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. If you’ve been driving for a while and just want to stretch your legs and get away from the crowds, this hike is a great option.
Here is the Visitor Center address:
Grand Canyon Visitor Center, S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
There are multiple lots at the Visitor’s Center and there are always people coming and going, so if at first you don’t find a spot, keep driving around. The Visitor’s Center also a free offers shuttle bus service to all the attractions on the South Rim, so it’s a good place to use as a base.
Gear for the Hike
This is more of an easy walk than a hike, and you can get away with everyday clothing here. If you do have fitness or hiking clothes, it will make the hike more pleasant. There is no water on the hike, so bring 1L with you for the walk. You can fill up with water at the start and end of the hike.
Weather can be extreme at the Grand Canyon. In the winter there can be snow and ice, and in the summer the temperatures can be high. Wear the appropriate clothing for the conditions. If there are thunderstorms in the area it’s best not to do this hike.
The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women)
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
This is one of the only hiking trails in the Grand Canyon where you can bring leashed pets. Unfortunately they are not allowed on the shuttle bus, so if you do this hike with a pet, you’ll have to walk back.
The Rim Trail is a wide and well maintained (and often paved) walking path that stretches a total of 13 miles along the South Rim. This hike is entirely paved and only has some small, gradual ups and downs. There are no climbs or hard parts. It’s easy to follow and there are lots of signs, so it’s a great beginner’s hike. Even if you are an experienced hiker, the trail is spectacular as it follows the rim and offers lots of great viewpoints.
South Rim Trail: Visitor’s Center to South Kaibab Trail Hike Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Visitor’s Center to South Kaibab Trail Hike Directions
Please help! Support these free hiking guides by simply buying anything at Amazon or REI using the buttons below, at no cost to you.
Use extreme caution when near the edge. Don’t go off the trail right to the edge unless there is a railing. Don’t take selfies on the edge. You might think most deaths occur from hikers deep in the wilderness, but that’s not the case. More people die on the South Rim. In 2019 three people ignored warnings and fell from the edge of the canyon in one week. There’s nothing dangerous about this hike or visiting as long as you follow the rules. If you go off the trail and start taking selfies, who knows?
Mather Point is named after Steven Mather, a millionaire businessman, conservationist, friend of John Muir, and creator of the National Parks Service. If you’re interested in learning more about the Grand Canyon, Mather, and the National Parks in general, I highly recommend watching the Ken Burns National Parks documentary. It will add a deeper appreciation to your visit at the Grand Canyon and any National Park.
You can do the short hike down to Ooh Ahh Point if you have some energy. Or if you want to try something more ambitious and you’re prepared, try the hike to Cedar Ridge or Skeleton Point (where you can see the river).
Shuttle Bus Back to Visitor’s Center
To get back to the start, just hop on the Orange Line Shuttle Bus back to the Visitor’s Center. The bus is free and takes about 10 minutes. You can also take the bus to Yaki Point since you’re so close.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.