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Old Bright Angel Trail
16 Photosets

2021-05-31  
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mini location map2021-05-31
33 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Old Bright Angel TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2021
John9L
Hiking15.00 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   8 Hrs   36 Mns   2.08 mph
4,500 ft AEG   1 Hour   23 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
We started our day camped around 9K ft on the Kaibab Plateau. We would pack up our camp and then drive to the North Kaibab Trailhead. We scored a parking spot on the road roughly a quarter mile back & started hiking a few minutes before 8am.

Our hike started with the Ken Patrick Trail. The going is relatively easy as you work your way through the forest. I found myself out of breath and remembered we’re hiking above 8K ft. We set a steady pace and headed for the start of the Old Bright Angel Trail. We arrived at the sign and took a short break to fuel up and apply sun screen. It was then go time!

The Old Bright Angel Trail starts off with a steep descent and then you have to push through an overgrown section. This initial section was a bit confusing but we had a GPS Route preloaded and this kept us on track. After pushing through the brush the route is mostly obvious as it drops into the Canyon. It’s a mix of heavy brush and a lot of downed trees to navigate over. The views are spectacular! We set a modest pace and worked our way down. Most of this was shaded as its east facing and it was still early so the sun was not overhead yet. We continued down and it’s rugged with steep switchbacks through the Coconino & then easy going for a bit. We arrived in the creek bottom and took a much needed break.

After our break we continued to the top of the Redwall. From here the route stays high on the right as it traverses its way down canyon. The footing is poor as its loose & off camber. We carefully worked our way down as we got closer to the bed of Bright Angel Creek. Along this stretch we crossed the top of a solid waterfall coming off a side drainage. Soon after we arrived at Bright Angel Creek & took another break. This area was very confusing as we weren’t sure if you follow the creek or climb back up in hopes of finding the trail. We would split up and got lucky & found the trail about 100ft above the creek. This section was rocky & off camber but relatively straightforward. We kept at it and could see the North Kaibab Trail straight ahead. A few minutes later our route turned to the left and headed south. We stayed high and followed the trail. There’s a route but sections are in poor shape. It’s steep with poor footing but we got through fine. A few minutes later we arrived at the bridge by the Manzanita Rest House where we took an extended lunch and soaked our feet in the frigid Bright Angel Creek.

After our break it was time for the slog up the North Kaibab Trail. It’s been about three years since I’ve hiked this trail and I was pleasantly surprised to see the trail conditions are top notch! No wonder so many people like to trail run it. We set a steady pace & headed up & we got lucky with some clouds that provided pockets of shade. The going went well & we encountered more people as we ascended. The climb up the Supai took some work and the Coconino was hardy as well. I took a break near the top of the Coconino & then continued up. I was delighted to arrive back on the rim and the end of the hike. We would load up and then headed north and camped near Jacob Lake & returned to Phoenix the next day.

The Old Bright Angel Trail was a joy to hike. It’s not easy but is worth the effort. I would recommend having a GPS Route loaded. This saved time & effort. All in all it was a great holiday weekend getaway and I’m already thinking about the next trip to the Grand Canyon! It never gets old!
Named place
Named place
Grand Canyon - North Rim
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