Kaibab-Bright Angel Loop

 
The classic first-time backpack trip in the Canyon, this loop is often done as an overnighter, but there's so much to explore that you could easily use up five days. The loop starts from the Kaibab Trailhead and returns to the Bright Angel Trailhead. Since both of these South Rim trailheads are served by free year-round shuttle buses, leave your car at the Back Country Office.
 
The South Kaibab Trail is the best way to start the loop, because the trail spends a lot of time on ridges and offers great views during the steady descent. Allow half a day for the hike to Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground.
 
 
You can use Bright Angel Campground (or Phantom Ranch, if you make reservations) as a base for exploration up the North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls and Phantom Canyon's impressive gorge. Because of flash flood danger, stay out of Phantom Canyon during stormy weather. Make time for a side hike up the Clear Creek Trail to the Tonto Plateau for stunning views of Granite Gorge.
 
Return to the South Rim via the Silver Bridge, River Trail, and Bright Angel Trail. Though longer than the South Kaibab Trail, this route has gentler grades and a variety of scenery. You could also camp at Indian Gardens, and spend some time doing a side hike out to Plateau Point. Other options for exploration include the Tonto Trail to the east and to the west.