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Old Bright Angel Trail, AZPrint Full | Basic
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Description 10 Triplogs 2 Topics
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Mine
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Friends
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 North Rim
Statistics
Difficulty 4.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 5.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,495 feet
Elevation Gain -3,957 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 25.04
Interest Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
joe bartels
Descriptions 198
Routes 566
Photos 8,176
Trips 2,472 map ( 12,962 miles )
Age 44
Location Phoenix, AZ
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
38  2014-03-07
Old Bright Angel - Miner'
writelots
31  2012-11-26
Bright Angel Trail
Dave1
23  2012-09-03 writelots
60  2012-09-03 tibber
16  2011-10-01 Hansenaz
25  2011-09-17 azdesertfather
29  2009-09-17 joe bartels
Large Profile
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
NPS Grand Canyon
Backpack - No
Seasons - Spring to Autumn
Dogs not allowed
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
2.0  Ariel Point
2.0  Komo Point Trail
2.2  Kibbey Butte
2.6  Sullivan Peak
2.7  Bridle Trail
2.7  Ken Patrick Trail
[ View More! ]
Flora
     Gambel Oak*
     Machaeranthera
Space

World Class Hike
by joe bartels

Mobile Version
Overview: Originally posted as a loop, now the page data reflects one-way so you may create your own hike.

Loop Option: Ken Patrick Trail 3.65mi to Old BA and down 5.25mi, then back up North Kaibab 4.9mi. This is crossing over just before the heliport at the easiest point. It isn't much further to the bridge connecting the North Kaibab.
approx 12.75mi / 4045ft / 4800 AEG

Warning: This old route is not maintained. It may be extremely overgrown. Route finding may be tricky. Temps may vary from freezing to frying. Few hike this route.

History: Francois Emile Matthes created this route. He is most famous for surveying the area for the USGS in 1902. Upon completion of the North Kaibab Trail this route fell somewhat into disrepair.

Hike: From the North Kaibab Trailhead head out on the Ken Patrick Trail. This trail is maintained with a traildozer up until the Uncle Jim Trail. Then it turns into a single track continuing to 3.6mi where it meets the Old Bright Angel Trail. As of this writing it's signed and well maintained for the first mile or two. Others state it can get severely overgrown. With New Mexican Locust in the mix pants and a long sleeve shirt are recommended along with short sleeves and possibly shorts for the lower portions. Read the triplogs for the most current conditions.

The descent from the Ken Patrick Trail to Bright Angel Creek is about 3.5mi. The grade at 22% is actually slightly less arduous than the 23% hump back up the North Kaibab it's just not maintained here and feels steeper in sections. As mentioned the first ~2.0 miles are down through the woods. With an early morning start you'll be in the shade. You're trekking down the side of a ridge that makes up the northern tributary to Bright Angel Canyon. 2.0mi down or 5.6mi from the start you cross a seasonal creek. It was running well on my trip. The next ~1.5mi to BA Creek is beautiful desert. The views heading down the entire way are awesome. Keep an eye to your back if the seasonal creek was running there's a killer waterfall.

When you reach Bright Angel Creek you may have trouble finding the route after the creek. You may have to hump it up the southeast side to find the route. I didn't bother as the creek felt so inviting. This turned out to be a mistake. What felt good initially turned numbing for well over an hour and taxing with the current. I made two failed attempts to get out of the creek but couldn't find the trail. Then finally merged with the other side where it comes down close to the creek. This 0.7mi through the creek took almost two hours. It ranged from a foot to waist deep with a swift current. My Leki rippled like a rubber band from the force.

The southeast side trail isn't much of a trail but certainly ten times faster than the creek. It gets down to only inches wide on steep sections and occasionally washed out.

With the North Kaibab Trail in view you can cross in three worthy places. The first is just below the confluence with Roaring Springs and take the side trail up. The Old BA Trail actually does go past the heliport to the footbridge. I simply took an in between route where the Old BA and North Kaibab get close to the creek bottom. You only save a half mile or so.

On the North Kaibab it's almost 5 miles to the top and a relentless 3600 feet.

Overview: On my mid September hike, I started off at 34 degrees. It almost reached 90 degrees down by the heliport. I figured 6-7 hours. It took almost 9 hours as I missing the route out of Bright Angel Creek. Following the frigid creek really drained my energy. The upper reaches were phenomenal combined with the creeks and full loop. Up until now the Grand Canyon has been a yawner for myself. This was my eye opener. The section from Ken Patrick Trail down to Bright Angel Creek could only be defined as world class. The upper mile of the North Kaibab is as disgusting as hell but you take the good with the bad.

-

    Directions Preferred Months Sep Oct May
    Water / Source:Bright Angel Creek
    Preferred StartEarly Cell Phone Signal??? Sunrise7:17am Sunset5:14pm
    Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
    Fees / Permit
    NPS

    Directions
    Print Version
    To North Kaibab Trailhead
    The North Kaibab trailhead is located 41 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67 (1.5 miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge). A small parking area offers limited parking. Transportation is available from the Grand Canyon Lodge (twice each morning; check at the lodge for times and fares) or, for those staying at North Rim Campground, it is a half-mile walk to the trailhead. Hikers on a rim-to-rim hike and who have only one vehicle often use the private Trans-Canyon Shuttle (928-638-2820), which provides service between the North Rim (departs around 6 a.m.) and the South Rim (departs around 1 p.m.) daily from May 15 to October 15. North Rim park facilities (lodge, store, gas station) close on October 15, but Highway 67 remains open to vehicle traffic until winter conditions preclude access. Visitors should be prepared for road closure anytime after October 15, but often Highway 67 remains open into November. Once closed Highway 67 remains so until May 15. It is not possible to reach the trailhead by vehicle before May 15.

    Bright Angel Point Trailhead: This trailhead is somewhere around the Grand Canyon Lodge. Trail takes off southward. HAZ needs more information on the exact location. Looks like the a spur trail goes around the cabins to the parking lot too.

    Transept Trailhead: North Rim Campground near the General Store

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 354 mi - about 6 hours 25 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 459 mi - about 7 hours 55 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 208 mi - about 4 hours 18 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.
    page created by joe bartels on Sep 19 2009 5:11 pm

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