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  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Sunday, April 23, 2016
  • trip day 4 of 20
  • South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Ahh Point
  • 693-foot elevation change
  • 1.8 miles round-trip

Views of the Grand Canyon are, of course, spectacular from any angle. And there are plenty of places to view the canyon from the rim. However, the canyon views are even more majestic when seen from a hike below the rim.

One path leading down into the canyon is the South Kaibab trail which begins at the south rim and continues all the way to the Colorado River. We arrived at the trailhead via the orange route park shuttle. It’s also accessible from the rim trail about a mile from the Visitor Center.

Hiking the entire seven miles down to the river was never a consideration with our crew so we had two turn-around points in mind.

Cedar Ridge is commonly featured as the first turn-around point on the trail around 1.5 miles in with restrooms and plenty of room to rest, relax, and enjoy the views. The three-mile round trip to Cedar Ridge is typically our boys’ daily hiking limit so I knew this would be the farthest we could go.

The Ooh Ahh Point is only 0.9 miles down the trail. It’s a smaller landing than Cedar Ridge with no facilities but features the first open eastern views of the canyon on the trail, hence the common “ooh ahh” reaction. When we started the hike, I knew we’d go at least as far as the Ooh Ahh Point and would gauge the boys’ moods before deciding whether we’d continue to Cedar Ridge.

That decision was made very early on after completing a series of switchbacks at the beginning of the trail that dives sharply into the canyon. We quickly realized that making it all the way to Cedar Ridge with our boys was highly unlikely considering hiking back UP these switchbacks awaited us at the very end of the hike. To the Ooh Ahh Point we continued…

The remainder of the trail hugs the canyon wall consistently downward but not nearly as steep as the opening switchbacks. The trail is wide enough that we didn’t worry for our boys’ safety while hiking along the ledge. Keeping them on the canyon wall side of the trail was enough to soothe our nerves.

The Ooh Ahh Point awaits with glorious expanse and a small boulder field for resting. It doesn’t provide the ample space that Cedar Ridge does, but we were still easily able to find a spot to sit for a while, eat a snack, and the boys worked on several Junior Ranger booklet pages. When we felt we were ready to tackle the return, uphill trip, we continued on our way.

Trail conditions were perfect on this Spring day with cool air and blue skies. Handicapped by the slowest, five-year-old hiker with several pauses to rest along the way, the trail took two hours to complete.

You certainly won’t be alone hiking the South Kaibab Trail, but if you’re looking to escape the masses at the rim by hiking a relatively easy trail down into the canyon to a gorgeous viewpoint, hiking to the Ooh Ahh Point is a perfect choice!