There are many scenic overlooks in Grand Canyon National Park.
And Skeleton Point is one of those scenic overlooks in the Grand Canyon!
This is an overlook that you need to hike to get to.
You will hike the South Kaibab Trail to get to Skeleton Point.
But, it’s not JUST about the views AT Skeleton Point.
A hike to Skeleton Point is about the “journey”! You will be treated to many MANY amazing views of the Grand Canyon along the way!
As you are hiking to Skeleton Point, you will be to get a closer look at the iconic O’Neill Butte too.
And, you can make it a Grand Canyon sunrise hike to get an orange glow and morning shadows in the Grand Canyon!
There are a few different scenic viewpoint points on the South Kaibab Trail which also mark the common turnaround points.
Skeleton Point is the third main viewpoint you’ll come across.
Once you start hiking the South Kaibab Trail, you’ll first hike to Ooh Aah Point, and then you’ll hike to Cedar Ridge, and then you’ll continue hiking to Skeleton Point.
Officially, the National Park Service recommends that you NOT go as far as Skeleton Point if you are hiking in the summer. It is recommended that you go no further than Cedar Ridge because of the high temperatures in the canyon.
If you are hiking in the winter, spring, or fall, it’s recommended to hike no further than Skeleton Point as a day hike because of the strenuous nature of the hike. The South Kaibab Trail does continue beyond Skeleton Point. South Kaibab Trail is also a popular backpacking trail.
When hiking to Skeleton Point (and all Grand Canyon trails), be sure that you are prepared with hiking essentials! This can include making sure you’re carrying water and snacks, wearing shoes with some level of traction (like trail running shoes or hiking shoes), and hiking poles can be a good idea too in order to save your knees from the constant steep downhill.
You also want to be prepared for stair climbing, basically.
For the hike to Skeleton Point, you’ll be starting from the top and hiking into the canyon. This means that while the way down may feel easy since it’s all downhill, you’ll also need to hike back up.
There are some steep parts!
About the trail to Skeleton Point
According to the National Park Service:
The South Kaibab trailhead is at 7,260 feet (2,212 meters)
Skeleton Point is at an elevation of 5,200 feet (1,585 meters)
The hike to Skeleton Point is 3 miles one way, so 6 miles round trip
Allow 4-6 hours for the entire hike
Even if a 6 mile hike doesn’t sound like too much to you, consider that it can start to feel strenuous when you add in how steep the trail is.
Also… no matter where you are in the Grand Canyon, BE CAREFUL!
Pictures of what you’ll see hiking to Skeleton Point are below!
Some Grand Canyon views you’ll get with a hike to Skeleton Point!
I did this Skeleton Point hike in December 2019.
How to get to Skeleton Point
You can’t drive directly to Skeleton Point so that’s why hiking is the way to get there.
Since you’ll be taking the South Kaibab Trail to get to Skeleton Point, you’ll need to get to the South Kaibab trailhead.
You’re not supposed to park at the South Kaibab trailhead which means you need to take a shuttle to get there, even in winter. (There are some areas of the Grand Canyon that become accessible by car instead of shuttle in the winter season, but the South Kaibab Trail isn’t one of them.)
You can take the free Grand Canyon shuttle to the trailhead that generally runs every 15 minutes. You can park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
So once you’ve arrived at the trailhead…
Start the hike at the South Kaibab trailhead!
You will first pass Ooh Aah Point…
Then you will come to Cedar Ridge.
Cedar Ridge is your chance for a bathroom break! (This is the only bathroom on the South Kaibab Trail between the trailhead and Skeleton Point. It may or may not have toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You may want to bring your own!)
👆 South Kaibab Trail towards Skeleton Point, from Cedar Ridge.
Continuing to hike DOWN the trail to Skeleton Point with more scenic views of the Grand Canyon along the way
I started hiking from Cedar Ridge to Skeleton Point at around 8:20am. I arrived at Skeleton Point at around 9:50am. So hiking down this portion of the South Kaibab Trail took me around 1.5 hours.
I was around Skeleton Point for around 10 minutes, and then I started hiking back up to the South Kaibab trailhead at around 10am. I arrived back to Cedar Ridge around 11:05am. So hiking up took me around 1 hour.
This means that hiking the South Kaibab Trail beyond Cedar Ridge to Skeleton Point added around 2.5 to 3 hours to the South Kaibab Trail hike.
I was generally going at a leisurely pace. Your pace may vary!
Below will show you what you will see hiking from Cedar Point to Skeleton Point, as you are hiking down further into the canyon.
And then you’ll make it to the Skeleton Point scenic viewpoint of the Grand Canyon!
You can have a walk around Skeleton Point!
And that’s a bit of what you’ll see hiking to Skeleton Point from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!
So after you’ve made it to Skeleton Point, should you keep going on the South Kaibab Trail, or should you head back up?!
👆 South Kaibab Trail towards Tip Off Point, from Skeleton Point.
Officially, it’s recommended to go no further than Skeleton Point when doing a day hike in the Grand Canyon, especially in summer.
That said, there are people who go further, to the Colorado River and back as a day hike.
Another thing that’s done that’s the most strenuous of them all as a one day hike is going down the South Kaibab Trail to the river and then back up the Bright Angel Trail.
Depending on your fitness level and how many breaks you take at the various viewpoints, it can generally take anywhere from 6 hours to 10+ hours. Aside from the drastic elevation change (which means tons of uphill on the way back when you’re already tired making it feel extra strenuous), this is especially not recommended in the summer because temperatures in the canyon can reach 100F+.
If you’re still trying to figure out whether to hike all the way to Skeleton Point or to make it a shorter hike, have a look at hiking to the other viewpoints of the South Kaibab Trail!
Whether you’re hiking to Skeleton Point or another viewpoint, make sure to bring along water and snacks in your daypack, no matter the season – winter, spring, summer, or fall!
Make it an Arizona and Utah national parks road trip that includes the Grand Canyon!
- Hiking in Grand Canyon National Park
- Hiking in Zion National Park
- Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
HAPPY HIKING THE SOUTH KAIBAB TRAIL TO SKELETON POINT!
Have a look at some Grand Canyon experiences you are sure to remember!These are some epic Grand Canyon tours:
- Helicopter tour over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon desert view sunset tour
- Day trip from Sedona: Grand Canyon sunset tour with dinner