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Bright Angel Trail, AZ
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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.
Description 654 Triplogs  27 Topics
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 46
 Region
 
0
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 South Rim
Statistics
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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
Author HAZ_Hikebot
Descriptions 12,203
Routes 11,014
Photos 19
Trips 1 map ( 0 miles )
Age 20
Location Hike, AZ .com
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
29  2017-05-26
BA Tonto Monument Hermit
survivordude
26  2017-04-29
Rim to Rim
Thoreau
15  2017-04-08
South Kaibab Trail
lindaagm
10  2017-04-01
Cheyava Falls
Dave1
12  2017-03-23
Cheops Pyramid 5206
BobP
21  2017-03-11
Kaibab Bright Angel long day
Thoreau
2  2017-02-05 capcyclone
18  2016-12-24
Grand Canyon Christmas
BiFrost
15  2016-12-22
Ribbon Falls
DallinW
59  2016-12-10
South Kaibab Trail
hippiepunkpirate
22  2016-12-03
Hermit Monument Tonto & BA
arizona_water
21  2016-10-08
South Kaibab Trail
Tsd906
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 23
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Map - Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon NP
Backpack   Connecting Only
Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:48am - 7:18pm
Dogs not allowed
Route Scout
import queue
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Plateau Point
0.0 mi away
1.6 mi
165 ft
Rim to Rim
0.0 mi away
44.5 mi
11,000 ft
Toroweap to Upper Hummingbird
0.0 mi away
2.2 mi
860 ft
Battleship - Grand Canyon
0.0 mi away
6.5 mi
2,400 ft
Garden Creek
0.0 mi away
13.5 mi
4,500 ft
Bright Angel - Tonto - South Kaibab
0.0 mi away
13.2 mi
4,042 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Anise Swallowtail Butterfly
Bighorn Sheep
Bobcat
California Condor
Chuckwalla
Clark's Spiny Lizard
Cliff Chipmunk
Common Raven
Dark-eyed Junco
Desert Spiny Lizard
Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake
Jumping Spider
Merriam's Turkey
Mule
Mule Deer
Pinyon Jay
Red Spotted Toad
Rock Pigeon
Rock Squirrel
Rufous Crowned Sparrow
Striped Whipsnake
Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly
Unidentified Frog
Western Bluebird
Western Gray Squirrel
Western Tanager
White-lined Sphinx Moth
Wild Turkey
Wildlife Handling and Feeding
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Flora
Ailanthus
Apache-Plume
Arizona Thistle
Beavertail Prickly Pear
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
Geology
Coconino Sandstone
Kaibab Formation
Redwall Limestone
Supai Group
Tapeats Sandstone
Vishnu Schist
Zoroaster Granite
Meteorology
Double Rainbow
Forecast
Inversion Layer
Moon
Rain
Rainbow
Snow
Named place
Angels Gate
Brahma Temple
Bright Angel Canyon
Buddha Temple
Cheops Pyramid
Clement Powell Butte
Dana Butte
Deva Temple
Garden Creek
Hattan Butte
Hopi Point
Horus Temple
Indian Garden
Isis Temple
Johnson Point
O'Neill Butte
Phantom Ranch
Plateau Point
Shiva Temple
Sumner Butte
The Battleship
Tower of Set
Wotans Throne
Zoroaster Temple
Culture
Benchmark
Bridge
Cairn
Glen Canyon Linear (Zoomorphic)
Grave - Identified
HAZ - Hike HAZard
HAZ Food
Informational/Interpretive Trail Sign
Kayenta Anasazi Building - Unknown Function
Kayenta Anasazi Storage Building
Little Colorado Anasazi Dwelling
Summit Register Log
Unidentified Culture
Historic to a Fault
by HAZ_Hikebot

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.
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.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
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
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
stay out of the scorching sun
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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