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Old Bright Angel Trail
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mini location map2019-08-31
7 by photographer avatarShatteredArm
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Old Bright Angel TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 31 2019
Hiking16.00 Miles 4,656 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   6 Hrs   55 Mns   2.31 mph
4,656 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I've always had a mild fascination with abandoned trails... So the Old Bright Angel route has been on my list for some time.

Started out at 8:30am the last day of August. Expected some heat down low, but I figured there would be water to cool off in... The 3.7ish miles on Ken Patrick is just a nice easy jaunt on the rim, with a few little grunts, but mostly joggable. I was honestly a little surprised they list the Old B.A. trail on the sign at the TH.

When I hit Old BA, I didn't really know what to expect... But it got very overgrown very quickly. The tread was pretty easy to follow until about 200 yards down, where it takes a jog to the right that's nearly impossible to spot. That's really the only spot that's confusing until all the way down to the bottom of the Supai.

The stretch from the top of the rim down to the bottom of the drainage really just needs a good trim; the tread is in really good condition. I was even able to jog parts of it.

Once you hit the bottom of the drainage (which was bone dry this weekend), it becomes harder to follow on markings alone... But pretty easy if you realize you just stay in the drainage until you hit the redwall.

Once you begin the redwall descent, you start to encounter washouts... And this is where it started to heat up. After traversing around the end of the ridge, a flowing side creek was a welcome spot to cool off. Coming out of said creek is one of the spots I had trouble with - there are two or three dirt paths, all of which look like washouts, but one of which is the actual trail. I chose wrong, went a little too high, and had to scramble back down to the trail.

The trail then dropped down towards BA Creek, and came upon a small narrows. The trail goes up over a bench, but it's nearly impossible to figure out the correct way up. I again chose wrong, went too high, and had to scramble back. After crossing over the bench, I lost the trail and said "screw it, I'm just going down the the creek" - just before which I stumbled on the trail. In retrospect it might just be easier to bypass this section by wading through the creek.

At this point, Roaring Springs was probably within a mile, and the route became considerably easier to follow. After the creek crossing (where it may be possible to stay dry, but I figured my legs needed a rinse), the route is straightforward, but contains some of the most narrow, washed out tread on the whole trail.

Water was off at Manzanita, so I had to employ the filter. Took a side trip to Roaring Springs, then began the somewhat unremarkable power hike up North Kaibab.
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