Bright Angel Trail: South Rim to Phantom Ranch

HARD 10 reviews
#44 of 96 trails in

Bright Angel Trail: South Rim to Phantom Ranch is a 18 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Canyon Village, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from September until May.

DISTANCE
18.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,983 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
2 months ago

In late November/early December my grandmother, two cousins, and I hiked Bright Angel Trail. We hiked down, stayed two nights, and hiked back up. My cousins did the extra 14-ish miles to and from Ribbon Falls and speak very highly of it (their pictures are amazing). I was unable to go with them, as they were of better physical ability than I, so I did some small adventuring around Phantom Ranch. On the way back up my grandmother quickly took ill. She became dehydrated, couldn't eat, couldn't get up after we had sat for a break at Indian Gardens (half way), and then began vomiting. One cousin stayed with her while the other and I raced to the top to get help. After a long evening of essentially no communication, we ended up having to go back down ourselves to help get the other two out. We got to the point of having to tie a rope around her waist and pull her up the switchbacks ourselves, but even that proved too much. I ran to the emergency phone at the mile and a half house. We waited there against the face of the canyon, she no longer able to move or stand at that point. We waited for about two hours in the near-freezing temperatures with a bright moon shining onto the Canyon below us and the stars gleaming above us. When the EMT arrived he radioed for another ranger to come down to assist in our emergency, and two of us were sent back up to the top while my grandmother and cousin waited for a helicopter to lift her out of the canyon at dawn.

And despite all of this near-tragedy, I can honestly say hiking Bright Angel Trail was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

backpacking
3 months ago

just amazing, did it in the winter and hiked through snow and ice

hiking
3 months ago

Serious hike to the bottom, especially with a 35lb pack. Varied terrain and grade, from sand to jagged rocks and in between. Awesome challenge and rewarding. Phantom Ranch offers a nice respite at the bottom. Be sure to send your loved one a postcard by mule! We finished faster than most at just over 3.5 hours.

hiking
5 months ago

We hiked this trail in February 2015 and it was the perfect time to have cool and comfortable temperatures. It was in the 60's when we started on the rim and it was 78 when we got to the bottom. The first day, we hiked to Indian Gardens Campground and spent the night in our tent. It is a good campground and has pit toilets and water. Very quiet. The next morning, we hiked down to Phantom Ranch. We spent approx. 2 hours resting there and bought more food to eat at the snack bar. We hiked back up that same evening to Indian Gardens and spent another night there. I would recommend, after my own experience being very challenging, that you spent a night at the Phantom Ranch campground or the cabins down there BEFORE heading back up to Indian Gardens. Then spend a night at Indian Gardens and hike out. Bring plenty of light weight snack food, dehydrated hiker meals and a pocket rocket for warming up your water and adding to your dehydrated meal for a light weight, quick meal. It was very helpful that you could fill your water down in the canyon at several water stations. Also, it was great that they had lots of drinks and snacks to purchase at the Phantom Ranch snack bar. You can also pre order a full meal at Phantom Ranch before your trip, if that is what you prefer. This trip is a trip I will never forget. Don't attempt this hike without proper preparation and when it is too hot.

backpacking
11 months ago

2nd trip to the canyon plus a few more miles

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

9 months ago

hiking
Sunday, August 13, 2017