Located in northern Arizona, Kaibab National Forest sandwiches the North Rim and South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is divided into 3 major districts: North Kaibab Ranger District (North), Tusayan Ranger District (South), and the Williams Ranger District (South, near Williams, AZ).
Elevations range from about 3,000 feet to 10,418 feet at the top of Kendrick Mountain. Beginning in low elevation grasslands and sagebrush, the forest steps up through forests of pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine to fir, spruce and aspen. Summer temperatures range from 50°F at night to 80-90° during the day. Summer thunderstorms can build up quickly, especially during July and August. Snow is common from December through March.
No one would blame you for driving through on your way to the Grand Canyon but skipping some of the trails listed below would be doing yourself a disservice. There are plenty of beautiful sights to see!
Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Kaibab National Forest
- Bill Hall Trail to Monument Point #95 (North Kaibab) – 1.5 miles out and back
- Short trail to Monument Point before it drops dramatically into the canyon below and into Grand Canyon NP. The views from Monument Point are spectacular or you can make this a longer near 30 mile backpacking trip by venturing into the canyon. Plan ahead and be prepared as the slopes are extremely steep!
- Bill Williams Mountain Trail #21 (Williams) – 7.3 miles out and back
- Beautiful forested hike to the top of Bill Williams Mountain. There is a dirt road that heads up to the summit that may be utilized if you want to plan it one-way. The views from the top are gorgeous and even more so from the lookout tower.
- Kendrick Mountain Trail #22 (Williams)*** – 9.4 miles out and back
- Gradually gaining nearly 3000’, this trail takes you to one of the highest points in northern Arizona where you can even see the Grand Canyon to the north.
- Keyhole Sink Trail #114 (Williams) – 1.3 miles out and back
- Easy trail through a ponderosa pine forest to a scenic box canyon with 1,000+ year old petroglyphs.
- Red Butte Trail (Tusayan) – 2.5 miles out and back
- Short but steep trail to the top of Red Butte – lava capped remnant of overlaying rock layers on the Coconino Plateau.
- Sycamore Rim Trail #45 (Williams)*** – 11 mile loop
- This trail forms a loop with several access points along it. The southern and eastern portions of the loop follow the rim of Sycamore Canyon. The northern and western sections travel through ponderosa pine forests. There are streams, cliffs, and deep canyons along the way including Sycamore Falls which is a popular rock climbing area.
***Most Recommended Hikes
Bonus: Kanab Creek
This is the quintessential backcountry Grand Canyon wilderness adventure. There are several access points to lower yourself into the canyon and hike through the creek. Length is determined on how far you can go; option to hike all the way to the Colorado River. There are too many incredible sites along the way to narrow it to just a few.
This is not for the average hiker but only for those with the endurance and knowledge required to tough it out in the toughest of terrains. If you can manage to make it there, soak it in and enjoy – you’re in rare company.