The Bright Angel Trail

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What should I know about the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon?

The Bright Angel Trail

The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Grand Canyon. It's longer than the South Kaibab Trail, and that means it's not as steep as the Kaibab. The hardest parts of this trail are the switchbacks near the top, which are a grueling way to finish the hike, and the switchbacks down to the Colorado River.

There is also drinking water available along this trail (although you should still carry your own supply of water, too). There's a natural resting point at the oasis of Indian Gardens, where you'll find a campground, ranger station, shade, water, and a small creek. At the bottom of the canyon, near Phantom Ranch, is Bright Angel Campground.

The day hike trail to Plateau Point also leads off the Bright Angel Trail from Indian Gardens. Indian Gardens is about 4.5 miles down the Bright Angel Trail, and it takes about 2 hours to reach the area, and about 4.5 hours to hike back out from Indian Gardens.

There is a downside to the Bright Angel Trail. It's so popular; it's the most congested trail in the canyon. The mule trips all use the Bright Angel too, and there are several mule "watering holes" along the trail (use your imagination here), that are difficult to avoid. Mules tend to use the same spot to relieve themselves over and over, so these holes can get pretty rank. This trail to the river is also longer, and so it's a more time-consuming way to reach the river and Phantom Ranch.

If you're not in good shape, don't attempt to hike any of the trails in the canyon. Walk a few hundred feet below the rim, enjoy the view, and see how hard it is just to hike out that short distance. Then go for a walk along the rim, and leave the inner gorge to experienced hikers.



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