South Kaibab Trail to Cremation
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Today's route stats:Distance: 5.0 miles Elevation Gain: 0 feet Elevation Loss: 3200 feet
This was going to be one of Brianna's first backpacking trips, and definitely the most difficult. She carried a small pack which included her sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes, and some snacks and water. I carried the rest. I wanted to make this trip as easy for her as possible, so I decided to take two days to hike to Phantom Ranch (and the Bright Angel Campground), stopping in the Cremation use are for the night. This required me to carry water for a dry camp.
We began this hike on the South Kaibab Trail and ended on the Bright Angel Trail. The South Kaibab is waterless the entire way, unlike the Bright Angel. But the views are much better, and I wanted as much variety as possible.
We parked our rental car at Maswik Lodge and took the shuttle bus to the trailhead. We took our time hiking down the trail, enjoying the awesome views. After turning off of the S. Kaibab trail towards Cremation Creek, we walked only about half a mile to a drainage the was adequate for camping. We hiked down the drainage a couple hundred yards to get away from the trail. I learned later that we were not in the Cremation Use zone, thus we were camping illegally. But we never saw anyone while we were out there.