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Bright Angel Trail, AZPrint Full | Basic
Directions
Description 576 Triplogs 25 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 
Mine
0
Friends
0
 South Rim
Statistics
Difficulty 4.5    Route Finding
Distance One Way 7.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,860 feet
Elevation Gain -4,390 feet
Avg Time One Way 4-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.82
Interest Perennial Creek
HAZ Hikebot
Descriptions 12,260
Routes 10,381
Photos 17
Trips 1 map ( 0 miles )
Age 18
Location Arizona
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
48  2014-11-09
Hermit Trail
bballard
30  2014-10-16
Bright Angel to Indian Ga
tibber
65  2014-09-21 cw50must
19  2014-08-05
Plateau Point
azbackpackr
44  2014-06-07
Boucher to Bright Angel
friendofThunderg
12  2014-05-31
Rim to Rim
VolcanoCLMBR
30  2014-05-18
Phantom Canyon
friendofThunderg
30  2014-05-17
Phantom Canyon
John9L
16  2014-05-17
SK-BA-Tonto-Hermit Loop
slowandsteady
3  2014-04-26 Hippy
30  2014-04-20
Grand Canyon wander
Dave1
30  2014-04-13
Phantom Canyon
Dave1
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 19
Large Profile
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
Map - Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon NP
NPS Grand Canyon
Backpack - Connecting Only
Seasons - Spring to Late Autumn
Dogs not allowed
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.0  Plateau Point
0.0  Rim to Rim
0.0  Toroweap to Upper Hummingbird
0.1  Battleship - Grand Canyon
0.1  Rim Trail - Hermit's Rest to Village
0.1  Garden Creek
[ View More! ]
Culture
     Benchmark
     Glen Canyon Linear (Zoomorphic
     Grave - Identified
     Kayenta Anasazi Building - Unk
   Little Colorado Anasazi Dwelli
Space
Fauna
   Anise Swallowtail Butterfly
     Bighorn Sheep
     California Condor
     Chuckwalla
     Clark's Spiny Lizard
     Cliff Chipmunk
     Dark-eyed Junco
     Desert Spiny Lizard
     Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake
   Jumping Spider
     Merriam's Turkey
     Mule
     Mule Deer
     Red Spotted Toad
     Rock Squirrel
   Rufous Crowned Sparrow
 Scarlet Tanager
     Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterf
   Unidentified Frog
     Western Bluebird
   Western Gray Squirrel
     Western Tanager
     White-lined Sphinx Moth
     Wild Turkey
     Wildlife Handling and Feeding
   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Space
Flora
     Ailanthus
     Apache-Plume
     Arizona Thistle
     Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus
   Creeping Barberry*
     Desert Globemallow
     Engelmann Prickly Pear
     Fremont Cottonwood*
     Indian Paintbrush
 Longleaf phlox
     Mohave Prickly Pear
     Mojave prickly poppy
     Ponderosa Pine
     Prince's Plume
     Redbud Tree
     Sacred Datura
     Salt Cedar*
     Santa Rita Prickly Pear
     Soaptree Yucca
     Winding Mariposa Lily
Space
Geology
     Coconino Sandstone
     Kaibab Formation
     Redwall Limestone
     Supai Group
     Tapeats Sandstone
     Vishnu Schist
     Zoroaster Granite

Historic to a Fault
by HAZ Hikebot

Mobile Version
Overview: The Bright Angel Trail is considered the park's premier hiking trail. Well maintained, graded for stock, with regular drinking water and covered rest-houses, it is without question the safest trail in Grand Canyon National Park. There is a ranger station located at the trail's halfway point (Indian Garden) and one at the bottom of the canyon (Bright Angel Campground). Visitors hiking for the first time at Grand Canyon often use this trail in conjunction with the South Kaibab Trail. Particularly during hot weather, it makes sense to ascend via the Bright Angel Trail because of potable water, regular shade, emergency phones, and the ranger presence.

History: Following a natural break in the cliffs formed by the massive Bright Angel Fault, today's Bright Angel Trail approximates a route used for a millennia by the many Native American groups that have called the Grand Canyon home. Early western pioneers at the canyon first built a trail in 1891 to reach mining claims established below the rim at Indian Garden. Recognizing that the true worth of the claims would be measured in visitation by tourists, these pioneers immediately registered their trail as a toll road and extended the trail to the river. The mining claims and use of the trail as a toll road would be the source of much controversy, first in legal battles with railroad companies that wanted to control tourism and later with the federal government. The trail was turned over to the National Park Service in 1928. Though it has been rerouted and improved considerably over the years, present day visitors on the Bright Angel Trail can sense its rich history from ancient pictograph panels and historic structures, and by marveling at the trail's construction over some of the roughest terrain in North America.

Hike: While the South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge line, the Bright Angel Trail follows the head of a side canyon. Views on the Bright Angel Trail are framed by massive cliffs, and by virtue of being a shadier trail with natural water sources, there is more plant life and animal life along the Bright Angel Trail than on the South Kaibab Trail. These features make the Bright Angel Trail appealing to those interested in geology and in viewing wildlife.

The majority of this trail's elevation change takes place in the upper four miles of trail via a series of switchbacks that can seem endless. Be sure to utilize the resthouses and seasonal water sources along the way (there are composting toilets at Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse, but no toilets at Three-Mile Resthouse). Whether ascending or descending, it is worthwhile to take breaks regularly. Approaching Indian Garden, the trail flattens out considerably as it crosses the shaley and desolate Tonto Platform.

Indian Garden is an oasis in the canyon used by Native Americans up to modern times. Ralph Cameron, one of the early pioneers who built the Bright Angel Trail (and who would later become an Arizona senator), by 1903 had come to an agreement with the resident Havasupai allowing him to build a camp for tourists. He staked mining claims to secure the site, built tent cabins, and planted the enormous cottonwood trees still present today. Hikers camping at Indian Garden should consider the mile and a half side trip to Plateau Point.

Below Indian Garden, the trail follows a creek through a meandering gully of water-sculpted stone and shimmering cottonwood trees. The trail becomes steep once again where this gully empties into the broad, bowl-shaped Pipe Creek drainage. This section of trail, affectionately referred to as the Devil's Corkscrew, is brutally hot during the summer months and should therefore only be attempted during the early morning or late evening hours. There are no potable water sources between Indian Garden and Bright Angel Campground. A composting toilet is located near the River Resthouse.

From the Pipe Creek/River Resthouse area to Bright Angel Campground, the trail traverses exposed sand dunes for over a mile until reaching the silver bridge across the Colorado River. Again, during hot weather, these sand dunes become a dangerous slog.

Water Sources/Rest Stations: During summer months there is potable drinking water at Bright Angel Campground, Indian Garden Campground, Three-Mile Resthouse, and Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse. From mid-October to early May, water is only available at Bright Angel Campground and Indian Garden. There is never potable water available at the River Resthouse. Please note that, due to occasional pipeline breaks, potable water is not guaranteed: bringing an alternative form of water treatment, such as iodine tablets or a water filter, is essential.

Campsites: Along the Bright Angel Trail, the only campgrounds are at Indian Garden (CIG) and Bright Angel Campground (CBG). At-large camping is not permitted on Corridor Trails; visitors must camp in designated campgrounds.

Notes: Grand Canyon is, above all else, a place of extremes. Even though Bright Angel Trail has been constructed with visitor safety in mind, it is necessary to take appropriate precautions depending on seasonal variations in trail conditions. During winter months, the top 2 miles or so of this trail is particularly icy: Because the wintertime sun never reaches the trail, it will remain slick for weeks or even months after a snowstorm, so in-step crampons and hiking poles are recommended. From May to September, it is critical that hikers have the discipline to begin hiking well before dawn. Hikers should plan on reaching either their destination or a place where they might take a shaded siesta before 10 in the morning (average descent time from rim to river is between 4 and 6 hours). Similarly, when ascending from Bright Angel Campground during hot weather it is important to reach Indian Garden before 8 in the morning. It is best to hike during the fall or spring hiking seasons.

-

Grand Canyon NPS Reports Segments to Consider:
Rim (6860 ft) toMile-and-a-Half Resthouse (5729 ft)1.5 mi
Mile-and-a-Half (5729 ft) toThree-Mile Resthouse (4748 ft)1.5 mi
Three-Mile Resthouse (4748 ft) toIndian Garden (3800 ft)1.9 mi
Indian Garden (3800 ft) toRiver Resthouse (2480 ft)3.2 mi
River Resthouse (2480 ft) toBright Angel Campground (2480 ft)1.5 mi
Rim (6860 ft)to Bright Angel Campground (2480 ft)9.6 mi

One-Way Notice: This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.

Directions Preferred Months Mar Apr Sep Oct
Water / Source:At trailhead & seasonally along trail
Preferred StartEarly Cell Phone SignalNo Sunrise7:10am Sunset5:18pm
Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
Fees / Permit
NPS

Directions
Print Version
To Bright Angel Trailhead
From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

The Bright Angel trailhead is located just west of Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. It is within easy walking distance from Maswik Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, rim lodge parking areas and from Parking Lots E and D. Out of consideration for daytime park visitors, it is recommended that overnight hikers park at Parking Lot E (the Backcountry Information Center parking lot). Though this is not the closest parking area, it is the most secure and is also where the largest number of parking spaces are located.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 234 mi - about 3 hours 43 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 339 mi - about 5 hours 13 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 87.2 mi - about 1 hour 34 mins
Login for Mapped Driving Directions
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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