Thirdeyemom

Exploring the Grand Canyon: A Hike Down the Rim to Ooh Aah Point

On the last day of our October visit to the Grand Canyon, I decided it was time to take a hike down off the rim and explore. After a taste of hiking down the Bright Angel Trail, I agreed with everything I’d read. Getting below the rim was the way to truly see the magical colors, depth and splendors of the Grand Canyon.

Although we had seen some families with children hiking below the rim, I personally did not feel comfortable bringing my children. Not only was it incredibly steep, there was no protection. One slip and down you go. Thus, I decided to do a short 1.8 mile hike myself, on the South Kaibab trail to the OOH AHH Lookout Point.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

Start of the trailhead

My husband and kids dropped me off and away I went, elated to be doing one of the things I love most: Hike!  I had the next hour and a half to hike before they would come back to pick me up. I could hardly wait.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

Getting ready to go!

It was so beautiful that I kept stopping to take pictures. I realized I could never tire of this view especially because it was always changing due to the position of the sun and clouds. As the late afternoon sun began to lower into the horizon, new shadows began to form along the ridges and layers of the pink, purple and blue-hued canyon. It was amazing.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

The stunning view as I left the rim

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

The trail down….

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

One quick selfie before I left…

When I first saw the trail, I panicked a little bit. It looked so insanely steep. But it wasn’t as bad as it looked. I knew my hike would only give me a small taste of what it felt like to be inside the canyon and walking down its steep path. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hike the entire way down and back up. Yet I realized that someday I would love to do it.

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The path zigzags deep down into the canyon. The roundtrip down and up is 14 miles and must be done with an overnight at the bottom.

Once I started, I realized that the trail really wasn’t as bad as it looked. It was steep but manageable. Going down wasn’t too bad. But I knew that what goes down must come up! Going back up would be tough on the legs.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

Looking up to the start of the trail.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

I was shocked how quickly I found myself lowering into the canyon. I took the above shot only a few minutes or so down into my hike. Unfortunately all the other shots looking back up at the steep canyon walls were overexposed. But that didn’t matter because in my opinion the views looking the other way, deep inside the canyon, were better. This photo below is one of my favorites.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

It straightened out for a little while and I could relax a bit and enjoy the beauty.

I didn’t see many other hikers on the trail. I enjoyed the peace and solitude of the hike. Perhaps that is what I love the best about hiking. Being outside in nature, with beauty surrounding me and no noise. It gives me time to reflect and relish on one simple moment in time.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

In a little over a half an hour, I was almost there, to the Ooh Aah Lookout Point and my turning point. Would it be as spectacular as its name implied?

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

On the left side off the center of the picture you can see the red hued trail continuing down the canyon. It look terrifying to me! Thankfully I was turning around before it.

Then, I was there. The view took my breath away.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

I had to get a picture there.

I enjoyed taking a few photos of other hikers admiring the view. It put the whole place into perspective and reminded me of an advertisement in a hiking guide.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

These two people were a little too close to the edge in my humble opinion. It scared me!

I stood there for a few minutes and simply took it all in. The grandeur of it all. The wonder of Mother Nature. It was simply spectacular.

As I headed back up, I sped past other hikers feeling a “hiker’s high” of euphoria. What a day it had been. The Ooh Aah Point was definitely worth the sore muscles.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

The walk back up wasn’t as easy.

A few more steps and I’d arrive on top once again.

South Kaibab trail Grand Canyon Arizona

Almost there!

As I waited on a bench for my family to pick me up, I smiled. I made a promise that someday when the kids were a little bit older we’d have to come back.

41 comments

  1. Nicole, your adventure brought back memories of our trip (children were 10 1/2 and 6 1/2), which was part of a grand sabbatical across the country from coast to coast. The Northern Rim was one stop among the majestic grandeur during the Southwest portion of the trip.

    • Wow, how wonderful to take an across country trip with you kids! Do they live close by you know? We took family driving trips my entire childhood. I loved it and I know that is where I got my sense of adventure and love for travel. I miss living near my family now but am glad I have one of my own! 🙂 The Grand Canyon was really a wonderful trip!

  2. Nicole we have hiked a bit of this trail as well quite a few years ago. A ‘rest’ day on a climbing trip. 🙂 The pictures are breathtaking but it is your smile that steals the show this time. Yes when the kids are older what a great adventure you will have!

  3. Such a great photographic record of the day Nicole together with your lovely description of the hike. We visited the Canyon three years ago in January 2012; wish we had gone to Ooh Aah Point. Your photos bring it all back. Thanks 🙂

  4. Sas

    I didn’t get a chance to hike below the rim when I visited the Canyon, but I would love to go back some day and hike all the way to the bottom. Great photos 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Explore America with Kids and commented:
    I took my teenage son and preteen daughter to the canyon last year. I wound up becoming frustrated since I really wanted to walk down the one of the trails , but my teenage son was so scared (!) of going anywhere near the edge that we had to stay on the main path at the top of the rim. I love traveling with my kids, but I really want to go back sometime when I can hike down into the canyon! My preteen was not nervous at all! I know the canyon can be frightening when standing at the edge, and all the encouragement in the world couldn’t get my son to go down a hiking trail!

  6. One of my most favorite places in this country, the Grand Canyon. So glad you were able to get off the rim and experience this Nicole. I have no doubt you and your family will be back to do other hikes. Hubby had done the rim-to-rim hike a couple of times. I am betting you would love that one! 🙂

  7. Good call leaving the kids! I still remember the terrifying hike I went on there around 6 years old. I clung to the cliff wall and screamed with every slip on the gravelly path. I certainly wasn’t looking at the view but down at my sneakers! I would love to go back now as an adult (and leave my kiddo at home). Looks stunning!

    • That sounds horrifying! I would never want my kids to have that memory! Then again, my dad used to take me on all sorts of crazy hikes when I was a child and today I love to hike!

      • I still love to hike as well. Many more awesome memories to balance out that one scary one and my brother doesn’t seem to remember it the way I do – so I must have just been a bit too young.

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