SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Hiking Grand Canyon National Park
by Ben Adkison (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Ben Adkison/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My wife, my daughter (12 Years), and I hiked this trail and spent four days and three nights in the canyon. We hiked down from the top to Bright Angel Camp on the first day, stopping for lunch at Indian garden, then continuing to the bottom. This is the longest hike my wife and daughter have done with me so far. It took 8 Hours to hike in at a slow pace. I was proud of my daughter carrying her own 20 lb. pack, which included water and everything she needed. We stayed two days at the Bright Angel Camp and packed out half way to Indian Garden then the rest of the way to the rim in two separate days. 4.5 hours of hiking each day. The views were spectacular and this was a hike our family will always remember. I enjoyed Bright Angel Camp best due to the fact that the Creek is only 100 feet from camp and a nice place to cool off and relax. The Indian Garden Camp however is nicely shaded by the trees and makes a great site as well. The only down side was too many day hikers at the top down to Indian Garden. A lot less people were in the lower half of the canyon, and more enjoyable there. Also as mentioned by others the mules sometimes get in the way, but after all the trail was originally a mule trail. We got lucky and the weather was overcast and cooler than usually, a high of 90 on our last day at Bright Angel Camp. Normally this time of year it gets to 110. All and all it was a great experience.
Sign in/up to upload photos.