South Kaibab Trail to Cremation Canyonprint
A Cremation Canyon backpacking trip gives you the best of two Grand Canyon worlds - the ever popular and busy Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground, but the chance to camp under the stars away from the crowds. The hike starts down the South Kaibab trail and then along the Tonto Trail a couple miles to set up camp for two nights - a great place to have some time to yourself. (Kaibab is pronounced KY-bab where KY rhymes with Eye and bab rhymes with cab - for those of you who are hooked on Phoenics). You will get a full day day hiking to the bottom and exploring some side canyons, hanging out on the beach of the Colorado River and having some refreshments at Phantom Ranch. This 2nd day ensures your entrance into the exclusive Mile Deep Club as well! On the last day, choose the short, steep hike via the South Kaibab Trail or the longer hike along the Tonto and Bright Angel Trails. This trip is a great alternative to Indian Garden - great canyon experience with fewer people. Want less time in the canyon? The Cremation Canyon trip can be done in 2 days as well!
Need some help planning your trip? With our outfitting services for your Grand Canyon backpacking trip, your experience will be more enjoyable as we will do the footwork for you. Click here for more information about JRI's outfitting services.
Need more information about the trail? Click here for the official South Kaibab Trail description from Grand Canyon National Park.
Upon arriving at the canyon, you will hike down the South Kaibab Trail to the Tonto Trail where you head east to a campsite for the next two nights in Cremation Canyon. You will drop about 3,400 ft. (1,036m) and cover about 6.5 miles (10.4km) before reaching your destination. The hike usually takes about 5-6 hours to complete.
Shed your big backpacks and take a day hike to the river and Phantom Ranch. The round trip hiking distance is 7 miles (11.2km) and you will spend significant time at the bottom of the canyon this day. Besides visiting Phantom Ranch, you will have time to get into the Colorado River and even hike part way up the Clear Creek Trail if time permits. The change in elevation from Cremation Canyon to the river is 1,400 ft. (427m).
Pack up and hike out, back along the South Kaibab Trail. Yes, it is the same trail, but no, it will not look the same. You will see so many things you never noticed as you were hiking down - mostly because your back was to it as you probably don't have eyes in the back of your head. The hike today is 6.5 miles with an overall elevation change of 3,400 ft.
Share your experience! Review this trip
My partner and I loved this trip. The guide (Liz!) was fantastic! Liz set a good pace and supported us the whole way down and back up. The campsite is secluded and beautiful, and the day trip (on day 2) down to Phantom Ranch was a lot of fun. Whilst there is no toilet at the campsite, the trip is scheduled such that you visit toilets along the South Kaibab Trail frequently enough so that this isn't an issue. Every meal feels like a feast and it was lovely to share it with the other people on our trip. We will definitely check out other trips offered by Just Roughin' It when we next visit the USA.
A Wonderful romp in the canyon! Our guide, Jeff, was amazingly patient, well versed in all things Grand Canyon and good with kids too. My nine year old son who had never experienced something this challenging still talks about how 'cool' Jeff was to him by encouraging him all the way. The hike itself was beautiful and breathtaking at times.
We had a great time and will definitely choose again soon.
Trip Cost Per Person
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- 65-75 liter multi-day backpack
- 2 person ultralight backpacking tent (1 tent per 2 people)
- Sleeping bag appropriate for the season you are hiking (20 F to 45 F synthetic bag)
- Therm-A-Rest Z-lite backpacking mat
- 1 pair trekking poles
- 1 backpacking stove and fuel (1 stove per 2 people)
- Backpacking meals (dinner and breakfast)
- Trip planning and logistics assistance
*Please note - Just Roughin' It is not a guide service for Grand Canyon National Park. Just Roughin' It is providing trip planning and outfitting service and will not be physically present during your hike. Hikers are required to know their fitness abilities and limitations on any backpacking route they choose to apply for directly from Grand Canyon National Park. Hikers will be required to sign a waiver when picking up the outfitter package.
Now’s the time to consider purchasing a travel protection plan to help protect your trip investment. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0152.
Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 W20