The South Bass trail is a remote and historic trail in Grand Canyon National Park that cuts from the South Rim of Grand Canyon to the Colorado River and lies about 25 miles (40.2 km) west of Grand Canyon Village and the Bright Angel Trail. This tour features Native American ruins, remains of old tourist camps and amazing views of the inner canyon in an area that few people reach when they visit the park. This is also a great way to get to camp on one of the many beaches of the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon with out seeing other hikers, or anyone for that matter – maybe a river trip or two.
Just want a 3 day adventure? Simply take off the first day of camping on the rim and plan to start the trek to the river the same day you drive to the trail head.
*Route Variation – The specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability.
Need more information about the trails? Click here for the official South Bass Trail description from Grand Canyon National Park.
For your drive to the South Bass Trailhead, you will need an off-road vehicle to travel 25 miles of rugged dirt roads. The drive is 6 hours from Phoenix and about 3.5 hours from Flagstaff. Once at the trailhead, set up camp for the night and explore the remains of William Wallace Bass’s 100-year-old camp on the rim. If time allows, head over to Ruby Point in the afternoon to soak in the view from one of the most scenic points on the rim.
Today, start your descent down the South Bass Trail. This trail is steep in sections but absolutely flat for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) along the Esplanade, which is a high plateau in the canyon. The hike to the Colorado River is 8 miles (12.9 km) with a drop in elevation of 4,440 ft (1,353m). On this night you will camp on the south-side beach of the Colorado River along Bass Rapids.
Today you will start your hike out of the canyon along the South Bass Trail to thr next camp at the Esplanade. The distance from the river to camp is about 5 miles (8km) with a 3,150 ft. (960m) elevation gain. Total hiking time is about 4 to 5 hours. Once on the Esplanade, take a cross country, off trail hike on the plateau out toward Spencer Terrace for some incredible views of the inner canyon. This is one of the few places you can hike off trail with relative eas
On this day, there is a short 2.8 mile (4.5km) hike back to the top with a 1,250 ft (380m) elevation gain. It usually takes about two hours to hike out from here.