Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon, Arizona

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19 Reviews
4 out of 5
In addition to offering the most convenient access to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Trail is also one of the most popular hiking routes in the park. Wide enough to allow safe passage for tourist-toting mules, this is a virtual highway among backcountry trails. Although the Bright Angel Trail ends at the Colorado River, this description continues on to the Silver Bridge and Phantom Ranch a short distance beyond.
100 Classic Hikes Arizona

DESCRIPTION FROM:

100 Classic Hikes Arizona

by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers Books)

In addition to offering the most convenient access to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Trail is also one of the most popular hiking routes in the park.

Wide enough to allow safe passage for tourist-toting mules, this is a virtual highway among backcountry trails. Although the Bright Angel Trail ends at the Colorado River, this description continues on to the Silver Bridge and Phantom Ranch a short distance beyond.

© 2015 Scott S. Warren/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Grand Canyon
Distance: 19.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 2 days
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Grand Canyon National Park
Local Maps: USGS Bright Angel, Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch
Topo Map: Bright Angel Trail Topographic Map
Guide Book: 100 Classic Hikes Arizona Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

10/6/2012

Awesome experience. The 1st 2 weeks of October, everyone is doing rim to rim. About 10 hours South to North on the Kaibab Trails. 10 hours back going North Kaibab to Bright Angel

12/28/2008

Hiked from the South Rim trailhead to Indian Gardens and back two days after Christmas with my girlfriend. Stunning hike from the ice and snow into the desert and back. I thought this trail was relatively well maintained, and that the switchbacks made it an easy climb. The only downside was the large number of tourists, but it is the Grand Canyon. My girlfriend thought it was a little harder than I did, but she still thought it was doable. Full disclosure here...both of us are in good shape and regularly hike/run/bike hills in the 2,000-3,000 foot range. The views of the canyon in winter are amazing and cannot be understated. Some of the best views are from Indian Garden looking up the trail, as well as the "standard tourist" views from the rim looking out over the Canyon. All very stunning. It took us about 6 hours to go down and back. Started down at 10:30 am, had lunch at Indian Garden and started up at 1:30 pm. We were at the rim around 4:30 pm. We could have made Plateau Point had we left at 8:00 or 8:30 am. The mules...I cannot say how many times I saw mule @$!*% on the trail and was happy it wasn't 100 degrees and stinking to high heaven. The ice on the upper portions of the trail made it easier than hiking in the summer I think, alhough in-step crampons and walking sticks helped too. Dressed in layers and had no problem with changing temps. Hydration as well was not an issue as it was 30-60 degrees and we each had 2-3 liters of water/powerade during the hike. I would absolutely recommend this trail, just be prepared...for the elements and the climbing, but also the large number of tourists on the rim and the upper couple of miles of the trail.

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