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Bright Angel Trail, AZ

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Guide 702 Triplogs  31 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
4.4 of 5 by 140
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 7.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,820 feet
Elevation Gain -4,390 feet
Avg Time One Way 4-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.82
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
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12  2019-08-11
South Kaibab Trail
17  2019-05-25
Rim to Rim
13  2019-05-25
Rim to Rim
1  2019-05-18
Grand Canyon Corridor Loop
46  2019-05-18
Rim to Rim
6  2019-05-16
GC: North Rim 2 South Rim
3  2019-04-28
South Kaibab Trail
15  2019-04-27
South Kaibab and Bright Angel Loop
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:16am - 6:27pm
Official Route
57 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
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Historic to a Fault
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-03-13 HAZ_Hikebot

Grand Canyon NPS Details
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 hiking 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.
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.

Most recent of 219 deeper Triplog Reviews
Bright Angel Trail
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Day 1: First in line for the hikers' express shuttle at the Bright Angel Lodge by 3:45 am! One other person ended up showing at that stop. :lol: Different experience from the past (maybe because it's August). On SK trail by 4:40 am. Sunrise, around an hour later, was indescribable. Got to Phantom Ranch around 9 am and took a quick snack break. First time up North Kaibab and we were immediately blown away with the extreme beauty when we entered "the box". It was warm but actually a pretty perfect temperature at that time. We took another break at one of the creek crossings to filter cold creek water and cool down. Met the 2nd park ranger of the day who was giving hikers heat-hiking advice. Those rangers must deal with a lot. :-k We continued on and hit the Ribbon Falls creek trail sign around 11:30 am. It was getting pretty darn hot at that point and Ribbon Falls was the PERFECT oasis to cool down at. The hike to the falls took us about a half-hour. The distance is super short but there are many trails and some are more reasonable than others to follow. Ribbon Falls is out of this world beautiful! We had the place completely to ourselves for two hours while we played in the little cave and relaxed behind the falls. With our water bladders filled and our body temps cooled, we decided to head out and break at each of the (approximately) mile and a half spaced campgrounds ahead. There were a couple other waterfalls we stopped at to make use of the cold water and one with a great freezing cold pool close to the Manzanita Ranger Station. Waived hello to Roaring Springs falls around 5 pm and kept plugging away up the ever increasing grade. From here the side canyon we were heading up, paralleling the rock outcropping the north rim lodge sits on, kept getting prettier and prettier. As the sun went down the colors reflected in the canyon seemed to continuously change. The final few miles of N Kaibab are RELENTLESS! :sweat: Holy moly! Darkness was lovely and I had little bat friends flitting around to keep me company as the vegetation turned to forest forest. I made it to the top around 8:30 pm thinking my two friends were close behind. It was freeeeezing at the top and I immediately put on every piece of clothing I had. My friends arrived about a half hour later and one was feeling pretty bad & ended up throwing up. Unfortunately she had stopped consuming electrolytes once the sun went behind the canyon walls and didn't think about how much she was still sweating. I convinced her to eat some of my saltstick chewables and we made it to the lodge. :y:

Day 2: Woke up in our adorable little cabin feeling surprisingly good! We spent the day leisurely walking around the north rim and of course hitting up the lodge for food food and more food. Loved all the delicious vegan options offered for all three meals at the lodge! :DANCE: Our one friend who experienced heat exhaustion the previous evening ended up securing a spot on the shuttle for the return trip the next day instead of hiking back with us. We were grateful she had that option at the last minute and happy she was feeling better.

Day 3: We got to the N Kaibab TH at 4 am and started our decent. It was cool but more pleasant than the evening of our arrival. We got to the bridge around 5:30 am and light was starting to really expose the canyon colors. Stopped briefly to appreciate the colors in the caves area but no breaks this time around. I'm not going to calves were tight and my knees were screaming pretty loudly during the entire decent. Up is definitely my preference! We entered "the box" around 10 am (an hour later than our way in) and felt the heavy humid air sucking the energy out of me fo sho. Got to Phantom Ranch around 11:30 am and bought some cups of ice to add to our bladders and took our first break. Stayed for about a half hour and headed out with the intention of stopping at each resthouse area to cool down. Next stop was the beautiful little beach near the Colorado River Resthouse. We met a large family who hiked down just for the day to cook out & hang. They had multiple grills, leftover onions, potatoes, etc. They had packed it in and they were packing it all out (as we all should but unfortunately people don't always). Impressive! Now for the final stretch. We stopped at Indian Gardens around 3 pm and filtered cold water for the last time and cooled down. Heading up Bright Angel...I will never get over that view with the light streaming in and illuminating the angel. No words. The Bright Angel switchbacks feel like cake compared to the North Kaibab switchbacks. Still, our bodies were pretty exhausted at this point and we were moving pretty slowly. It's fun encountering tourists who have only hiked down a mile and a half and don't seem to understand they are blocking the entire trail for exhausted hikers who can't deal with navigating them right now. :lol: My friend made it to the top just before me and was treated to the sight of two mountain goats standing on a rock with a ray of light shinning on them! I saw the picture but missed the goats. Still, I was extremely happy for her to have had such a special treat!
Bright Angel Trail
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South Kaibab and Bright Angel Loop
Nancy and I hiked down South Kaibab Saturday, stayed at Phantom Ranch that night, and hiked out on Bright Angel Sunday. Although we, especially Nancy about 12x, backpacked Havasupai many times, this was only Nancy's 3rd trip into the Canyon. We previously backpacked Hermit to Tonto to Indian Gardens to South Rim for 3 days about 30 years ago and hiked down Bright Angel to Boat Beach with son Max in 2005 for a 7-night rafting trip with AZRA. I've backpacked in the Grand Canyon NP many times with friends over the years. This trip log is significant as kind of a first for Nancy and a birthday hurrah for me. Nancy got a one-night Phantom Ranch reservation 3 weeks ago. She wanted to stay Phantom Ranch for years and I wanted a 79th birthday (5/22) present with Nancy.

Trip log: Drove up Friday and stayed at Maswick with dinner in El Tovar dining room. Early morning taxi to South Kaibab trailhead and hike down on Saturday. Stayed in dorms and steak dinner at Phantom Ranch Saturday (& Sunday breakfast). Hiked out Sunday on Bright Angel and enjoyed deviled eggs w/bacon & a drink in Bright Angel Lodge Bar that afternoon. Stayed at Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn in Tusayan Sunday night and had a superb Mexican dinner at Plaza Bonita. Drove home Monday. No injuries. Sore legs. Did Havasupai shuffle Sunday and Monday!

Maswick Lodge is excellent. Everything works. Vast parking and can leave the car there while hiking. Short walk to/from Bright Angel Trailhead and other lodges and restaurants on the South Rim.

El Tovar Dining is traditional. Our 5th or so dinner there. Miss the Ringtails on the beams. I say do it. But as with most classic NP restaurants, ain't what it used to be. Did have venison though!
South Kaibab Trail was hard. Wowza views but far too dangerous to look while walking. Nancy had knee therapy last summer including stem cells so used 2 poles and was very cautious. She could have drunk more water. I hike 2-3x per week in South Mountains with one pole and did same here. Glad we did it. Will not do it again. BTW, there are no poor views at the GC, just different ones.

Phantom Ranch was fine. I understand fewer than 1% of Grand Canyon visitors venture below the rim (Thank the Lord!) Must be a really tiny portion of the 1% who get to the River let alone sleep at Phantom Ranch. We thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of all the visitors and staff. What a superb bunch and vibrancy! And “Oh WoW!” there were half a dozen AZ Trail Riders carrying their bikes across the corridor trails on the AZ Trail! And I thought hiking was hard! Even met a small family from Nancy’s dad’s hometown and same high school in Ohio!

Phantom Ranch Meals were huge and good and great fellowship.

Phantom Ranch Dorms were amazing! First time I stayed in a dorm. Very comfortable (bunk) beds and bedding, a real toilet, hot water shower and wash basin, all inside each air-conditioned dorm. Knocked my socks off!

Ranger Programs – We didn’t attend any but I must say they have always been interesting to me and well worthwhile. We were just too beat and enjoying talking with other hikers about their experiences and origins Etc.

Bright Angel Trail is attractive because of Garden Creek and the upper canyon drainages. Gotta love the riparian areas’ contrast to dessert and ridgeline areas and trails (like South Kaibab). Surprised to learn there’s no water above Indian Garden. Fortunately, we had enough to get out safely. Nancy was much faster and better hydrated on the way out. I was the slow one going uphill.

Bright Angel Lodge Bar has always been my destination coming out on Bright Angel. Think about beer or pop, onion rings, and other hiker groups! No onion rings any more and only one other couple that we met on the trail. Still …… Tradition!

Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn in Tusayan was ridiculous. We will never stay there again. Bed had been slept in and covered up. Tub/shower is the 2nd most dangerous I have seen in all the hotels and motels I have stayed in over 5 decades. None-existent manager. Staff untrained in customer service. $280 for the room. All the signs of a captive market. Baaa.

Plaza Bonita Mexican restaurant in Tusayan was terrific! Take some time with the menu and talk to the server. This plain looking place that we almost skipped turned out to be the real thing. Excellent choices of some fine Mexican dishes (plus all the tourist food), a full bar, and attentive and swift service. We’ll be back!

Hope this lengthy review helps some make better choices.

BTW our weather was near perfect. Rain top-to-bottom was forecast for the day after we left! See photo set.

Flowers were starting up at this time.
Bright Angel Trail
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N to S Rim
Incredible experience. First time at canyon. Weather was good. Most memorable thing is climbing up out of south rim, and looking back to north rim. Looks impassable, yet I had just walked that entire way myself! At times looking up the canyon walls and not seeing how we could get out, as it appeared the way forward wasn't anything besides sheer cliffs. Looking forward to doing again.
Bright Angel Trail
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Spontaneous Rim to Rim trip with one night spent at Phantom Ranch.

This trip came together at the last possible minute. I was working on plans that ultimately fell through and had to look for a backup option. I had the Grand Canyon on my mind. The highs at Phantom were forecasted at 110 and I was questioning if this is a good idea. I thought about it and decided to go for it. I booked a seat on the 8am Trans Canyon Shuttle and drove to the south rim on Friday night and slept in my jeep. I woke on Saturday morning and headed over to the Bright Angel Lodge to check into the shuttle. Once there, I asked if there were any Phantom cancellations. They said yes, there are two private cabins and three bunks in the men’s dorm. I thought this sounded fun so I booked a bunk in the men’s dorm and paid for the 6:30pm dinner of Beef Stew. From there, I loaded up into the shuttle and made the long drive around the canyon.

The shuttle dropped me off at the North Kaibab Trailhead around 12:15pm and I got myself situated. I topped off my water and geared up and started in. Right away I could feel the heat. Direct sunlight was hot and shade was limited. I knew I had to be careful on the hike down. I continued on and the crowds thinned as I worked my way down. I kept a modest pace and took short breaks in the shade. I looked forward to the creek down below.

With some effort I passed Roaring Springs and I stopped for water just above Cottonwood. I soaked my bandana and poured water down my back. I feel good overall and I’m drinking plenty of water. I continued on and passed Cottonwood and I headed for Ribbon Falls where I took a short break by standing directly in the pour over. I was soaked head to toe and felt great! After I had my fill I continued south and had about two miles in constant sunlight. It beat down on me. I wore a long sleeve UPF shirt and I wore sunscreen and my bandana over my neck. All is well. I eventually hit The Box and had mostly shade the rest of the way. It was around 4:30pm and the sun was too low for this canyon. I cruised through this final stretch and arrived at Phantom Ranch around 5:30pm.

I checked in and headed into the men’s dorm. I have just under an hour to dinner so I took a shower and relaxed. The men’s dorm can sleep up to ten and includes a bathroom and a shower. The shower at Phantom Ranch was a first for me and was a real treat! It helped cool me off and brought me back to life. I eventually headed over to the canteena and was herded to a community table for dinner. This dinner is another first and was well worth the 36 bucks! There was plenty of food and the conversation was fun. I enjoyed myself! After dinner, I made the easy loop around the Silver Bridge & Black Bridge. I finished right as nightfall set in. I made a quick stop at the canteena where I paged through Death in the Grand Canyon. Someone has made minor changes & also added home towns for many people. It was interesting to see. From there, I went back to the dorm and turned in for the night.

I slept well all night with ear plugs I bought in the canteena. Guys were getting up at various times throughout the night but I didn’t hear a thing. I woke at 5:30am and was surprised to see I was the last one up. Most of the guys left and others were having breakfast. I geared up and topped off water and then started the hike out at 5:45am. The hike out went well. I set a moderate pace and took lots of short breaks in shade. I topped off my water at Indian Garden and took a short break. From there I climbed out. The sun was hot but tolerable. I topped out around 9:45am and headed back to Phoenix.

This was a hell of a hike and I’m glad I took the time and spent the money to make it happen. The spontaneity was the best part. The heat was brutal but tolerable. The key is avoiding direct sunlight whenever possible. And I'm calling this a backpack.

Bright Angel Trail
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Rim to Rim to Rim
For whatever reason, I had been craving another R2R2R since my last one in October and I finally got it out of my system yesterday. Perhaps against my better judgement, I decided to start the run at midnight. After forgetting my hat in the car and making the cab driver loop back to get it (by the way, the recent construction in Canyon village sucks), I didn't officially get started down S. Kaibab until 12:22 am. I knew the next few hours were going to test my nerves, and they did just that! Running in the dark is a challenge in and of itself, but doing so with a gaping hole next to you and bats swarming around your head really ups the ante. By the time I started my climb up N. Kaibab trail, I was more comfortable with the dark and was kind of enjoying it. Running next to Bright Angel creek and hearing nothing but the sound of the water flowing and my footsteps pounding was one of the most peaceful experiences I've had. The climb out of Cottonwood Campground to the top of the North Rim didn't feel too bad and I was making great time. The toughest part of the hike, in my opinion, is the ~1-1.5 miles before you hit the Supai Tunnel, which marks 1.7 miles to the top. My eyes were playing tricks on me and I was POSITIVE that I saw the tunnel around every turn. Ten or so switchbacks later, I finally did see it, and the next couple miles were smooth sailing. I made it to the North Rim in 5 hrs 40 min, 20 min faster than last time. I only spent ~4-5 minutes on top of the rim because it was so chilly, and wanted to catch the best part of the sunrise from the Coconino Overlook a little ways back down the trail.

The run down N. Kaibab to Phantom Ranch was really enjoyable. I felt great and was able to run 100% of the way (last time I mostly hiked this part because it was hot and my legs were pretty dead on the downhills). The trail was thankfully in the shade of the canyon for this whole stretch, and the early morning colors were magical. I probably wasted a little too much time taking photos, but I made up for it by keeping a 9-9:30 min pace the whole way down. The trail was totally empty until about a mile or so outside Phantom Ranch, and I knew I would miss this solitude on my hike out BA. As expected, the hike out BA was sunny, hot, crowded, and generally a slog. The tourists were worse than usual yesterday and I had to throw a couple elbows to people not following proper trail etiquette (hikers coming up get right of way!!). I was motivated to finish strong and win a bet with @friendofThundergod, and managed to average 20 min miles from Indian Garden to the top. After finishing, I stopped at the General Store for my usual: turkey, carrots, and coffee ice cream :), and started the long drive home. I'm so happy that I smoked my last R3 time, and I think my thirst for this run has finally been quenched.

NOTE: Water is ON at Phantom Ranch, Manzanita, North Rim, and Indian Garden.
Bright Angel Trail
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Bright Angel to Hermit Loop
This is my first triplog entry so sorry if it's clunky. First GC hike of the year. Weather was great, although had high winds on the 2nd day. 1st camp at Horn Creek. Water is supposed to have high radiation levels, but it wasn't glowing so hard to tell (humor). We didn't drink it. Next camp was Monument Creek. Spent 2 nights here and it was fabulous. A lot to explore, not too many people, had trickling water, and the hike to Colorado river was easy. Hiked out the Hermit Trail. Left camp at 6 am and we were out by 1 pm. Beautiful hike out.

Some cactus were blooming but it was infrequent. Brittle bushes weren't quite out yet.
Bright Angel Trail
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Grand Canyon: South Rim to River to South Rim
I made my first ever trip to the Grand Canyon, and along with my intrepid hiking partner, Tracie, we went down the south Kaibab Trail to the Colorado River; crossed the river on the Black Bridge; came back across the river on the Silver Bridge; then continued on the River Trail to the Bright Angel Trail; then came back up to the Rim on the Bright Angel Trail.

The Grand Canyon was as awesome as I thought that it would be. It was about 20 degrees when we started, and was near 60 when we got down to the River. I imagine that it was in the upper 30's when we got back to the Bright Angel Trailhead. I put on my microspikes for the last 1.5 miles or so -- the trail was snow packed but it really did not seem all that slippery; but since I had my microspikes in my backpack I put them on.

The hike was actually easier than I thought that it might be -- the trails were well groomed and maintained, thus making the footing much better than trails that I often hike in the Valley.

My Garmin GPS recorded 17.9 miles and around a 4,700' AEG.

Next at the GC I think that I will do a Rim2Rim day hike, or maybe even Rim2Rim2Rim spread out over 2 days.
Bright Angel Trail
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I headed to the Grand Canyon with @carriejane over the New Years weekend. The goals were: Hippie Camp in Upper Phantom, a recon of the Shiva exit route, a quick trip up Haunted Canyon and then Cheops Pyramid. The trip was also a test run on my surgically repaired shoulder, which is nearing its fourth month of recovery and long awaited end to its five pound limitation/restriction.

Day one included a late start and then an extra trip down the road to the trailhead to go back and grab some containers we had forgotten that would be needed to haul the water for our dry camp on day two. South Kaibab was a bit of a zoo, but the hiking was quick and the views were nice as usual. The Utah Flats Route was the rugged steep little climb we expected, but it went well. The stretch from the top to Phantom Canyon was a real treat, some great clouds and big views. The scramble down to Phantom was a little tedious, but that initial stretch of canyon makes it worthwhile. Initially, we had planned to hike into Hippie camp on the first night, but the attractiveness of the overhang camp and taking off the heavy packs won over.

On day two we day hiked up to Hippie camp and did a quick recon of the Shiva Exit Route, which I have to admit looks pretty intense, but I would still like to utilize it on a future ambitious trip. Although Hippie camp was a minor let down, the area intrigued both of us and we discussed a potential future return during snow melt. There was no time for Haunted Canyon with Cheops Pyramid still on the slate, so we returned to camp, packed up and made our way down stream. After a quick visit to the rope and falls that mark the upper and lower divide of Phantom, we filtered and stocked up on water for Cheops and our upcoming dry camp. Then it was the brisk climb back up U.F.R. and a quick stroll across the Tonto. We dropped the heavy packs and started off for Cheops at about 2:10 p.m. The off trail contour to the pyramid is a bit of a slog, but it seemed to go by quickly and before we knew it we were at the base of the “steps.” This part went a little smoother for me than the last time and we located the little climbs and the cairns marking them with relative ease. On the summit before 3:30 p.m. and after a ten minute break or so we were heading back down. The hike back to our packs was a little slow, but we were still able to retrieve our packs and make our way down trail to a nice campsite just before nightfall.

Day three consisted of slipping and sliding down Utah Flats into Phantom Ranch and then the River Trail to Bright Angel. We detoured off BA to do some of the Old Bright Angel and made the obligatory stop at the archeological site along the way. The last three miles of BA were a major slog for me, but Carrie was unfazed and left me in the dust a little.

Bright Angel Trail
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Sands family day hike while spending time together in Prescott. My brothers, Shauna and myself hiked down to the 3 mile rest house on a crowded trail completely free of snow and ice, where we had lunch on the limestone ledge overlooking Indian Gardens. Hiked back up to the top and met my dad and stepmom who had done a shorter Bright Angel hike. Had dinner together at a steakhouse in Ash Fork, and then back to Prescott. I love memories like these.
Bright Angel Trail
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This was my first 3,000 foot or 9+ mile hike since Mt. Humphrey in August. Off at 1:22PM to 46 degrees. It was completely shaded all the way down to just before Indian Gardens and, with the breeze, I was cold. Made IG in 1:18 and claimed the sunny bench by the water tap, where I soaked in some rays for a period of time. Pretty mellow at IG, there were a few groups passing through, but I had the majority of the time to myself. The breeze started to pick up and the sun escaped behind the cliffs, so I got cold again. I was at IG for 43 minutes.

Started the ascent up and remained cold until about the 3 mile resthouse, then I was fine from there. Plugged away, but was forced to stop for about 40 seconds with a family of bighorn sheep about 0.6 miles from the trailhead. Tried to jog in spurts from there to make up for the lost time. Finished the ascent in 1:36:30, which I am pleased with, given that I've gained a few pounds this year (heaviest I have been since 2008) and am about 12 pounds more than when I took up hiking in 2010.

It was nice to get back down to IG as the last time I was there was February 2016. The trees are still yellow down there. I'll be perfectly happy if we don't see snow until the spring :)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

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
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