Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023

Distance7.8mi
Elevation Gain7,552ft
Trailhead Elevation3,659ft
Top6,847ft
Elevation Min/Max2443/6847ft
Elevation Start/End3659/3659ft

Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Coconino County, Arizona. It is within Grand Canyon National Park. It is 7.8 miles long and begins at 3,659 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 16.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 7,552 feet. The Kolb Studio Museum museum, the Indian Garden Ranger Station ranger station, 3 Mile Rest House, 1.5 Mile Rest House, and another drinking water, the Mary Jane Coulter Lookout viewpoint, the Kolb Studio public building, and the Indian Garden Campground camp site can be seen along the trail. There is also a spring along the trail. The trail ends near the Pipe Creek Beach and the Mules farmland. There is also a shelter near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Rim Trail, River Trail, Tonto Trail and Plateau Point Trail.

Bright Angel Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"A very scenic half-day out-and-back hike travels below the South Rim along the Grand Canyon’s most popular trail."

"A very scenic two- to four- day backpack along the Grand Canyon’s most popular trail."

Bright Angel Trail Reviews

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7/18/2018
Everything about the Grand Canyon is spectacular and this trail is no exception. This is a demanding trail to do the entire length but you can do smaller portions. Bring lots of water and sunscreen - there are water stations along the way but you should be well stocked with a camelback, etc. to be safe as it gets HOT. We started early in the morning to catch the sunrise and beat the heat and it was still tough. But the views are like nothing you can imagine - it's one thing to see a photo of the Grand Canyon and another to actually be there live and in person and experience it. I give this trail 5 stars but one negative is the trail has a lot of pack mules on it so that can slow you down, especially during crowded days.
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6/9/2018
I reserved a campsite in Indian Garden on the Bright Angel Trail well in advance. I hiked the Tonto Trail over to the Bright Angel , camped one night and went up to the rim the next day. Started at 5 AM to take advantage of shade. Very well graded trail. Lots of people but great views. Made it to the top at 7:50 AM.
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5/19/2018
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4/1/2018
Didn't do very much of this trail because we had 2 grumpy kids in tow, but they loved the start--beautiful views down into the valley and a cool arch right off the bat. As others have mentioned there's a lot of mule poop on the trail. It was chilly when we were there but I can see that getting pretty stinky on a hot, summer day. :)
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1/12/2018
Hiked Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch then back up S. Kaibab Trail. Absolutely beautiful!
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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
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6/6/2011
I completed this trail on the backend of a solo trip to the bottom of the canyon and back up. I used ths S. Kaibab Trail down, stayed at Bright Angel Campground for a night and hiked back out the Bright Angel trail the next day. I concur that the hike from the canyon floor is enjoyable up past Indian Gardens (which is a beautiful area by the way)...but about 1 mile up from Indian Gardens the elevation gain really begins to take its toll (at least it did for me). Despite this - and the increased tourist traffic in the last 3 miles (or first 3 miles) depending upon your perspective - it is a legendary trail that every outdoor loving person should do in their life.
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5/13/2011
Once you backpack past Indian Gardens, the crowd thins significantly and the hike is spectacular. This is a one day backpack to Bright Angel Campground. Planning on backpacking again in 2012. One must wear good hiking boots and fill up your water at Indian Gardens. Don't solo the GC cause 4 to 5 unprepared die in the CG each year.
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6/10/2010
Two day rim to rim hike with one night in Bright Angel Campground sounds almost boring but it was everything but...Got our permit as walk ins the day before, reserved our bagged lunches, and dinner at Phantom Ranch, and since we didn't care for being human mules, we had our camping stuff shuttled from the North Rim to the South Rim, where it got delivered to the Phantom Ranch Duffle service. (we also had our car driven to the South Rim by a responsible person from Jacob's Lake Inn). So, all we had to worry about on our backs was food and water for the trip. Getting an early start (6am)allowed us to stay cool for couple of hours before the midday heat. We skipped both waterfalls, as we were determined not to be stuck in The Box in the worst heat of the day - forecast called for 105 F! Eazy breaze made it possible for us to move fast, and we were eating lunch at Phantom Ranch by 1PM. Despite the soaring temperatures, Bright Angel Creek stayed cool around 45 degrees, so that's were we spent most of the afternoon. Next day, early start again (even though we were the last campers to leave around 6 am), we made the easy ascend throught the Devil's Corkscrew to Indian Garden in about 3 hrs. The last leg is always the hardest - almost 3000 feet in elevation change on about 4 miles. As if the heat, the elevatation and the mileage wasn't enough, the "turist hikers" heading down are in your way on every step. However, we still made it out of the canyon by 2PM with plenty of time to admire the views on the way out.
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10/14/2009
This is another beautifully constructed not-to-be-missed experiences in the Grand Canyon. The only reason it doesn't get 5-stars is that it competes against its Kaibab cousins. We took this trail upward from river to rim and it was a great experience. The river resthouse has a beautiful rock ledge and waterfall that makes a great stop for meals, pictures, and a rest. The lower switchbacks (below Indian Garden) are not that bad. Indian Garden, 3 mi Resthouse, and 1.5mi Resthouse all have water in the warmer months and make great checkpoints for catching your breath. We felt pretty good leaving Indian Garden but less than a mile later reached the "Cliffs of Insanity" which were easily the hardest part of our week. About 3000 vertical feet across 4 miles of constant, unrelenting switchbacks which, by the way, are a mile or more above sea level which really gets the lungs burning. We took about 2.5 hours to cover the last 3 miles with 38 pounds (each) on our backs. Still, the Bright Angel trail is an amazing, magical experience for hikers and Grand Canyon enthusiasts. Not to be missed.
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Trail Information

Grand Canyon National Park
Nearby City
Grand Canyon National Park
Parks
Difficult
Skill Level
USGS Grand Canyon; Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon National Park; Earthwalk Bright Angel Trail or Grand Canyon National Park
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018