Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail

HARD 464 reviews

Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail is a 17.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
17.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,006 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

3 days ago

Difficult but fun hike, make sure to have plenty of water.

hiking
4 days ago

Amazing hike! I did this hike in its entirety to the Bright Angle campground at the river ten years ago with my father for his 55th birthday. Ten years later I went back with my wife and three kids (two teenagers and one early 20’s) and hiked to the three mile rest house they loved it, it’s challenging but worth it! Make sure you have water and containers to hold water and proper hiking boots. Recommend starting early because it gets warm fast! There are a lot of people on the trail which can be good and bad, between breaks you get time to chat with people from all over the world.

hiking
9 days ago

Absolutely life changing!! Trail is very narrow at points, but this is a must!! Start early because it gets extremely hot.

hiking
16 days ago

Only hiked down to the 3 mile and back up. That up is rough on you.

28 days ago

Best hike ever amazing views very hard work back to the rim

backpacking
28 days ago

Wonderful experience, something you’ll never forget. Beautiful, difficult but breathtaking.

1 month ago

My daughter and I hiked this amazing trail on May 22! We started at 5:45am and made it to the Colorado River at 11am. The restrooms and campground were essential in our success. We mentally broke the hike up into multiple subsections utilizing these manmade rest areas. The hike to the river was a joy! This was our first time in the Canyon and wow! I was living on adrenaline! We spent about an hour at the river watching the rafters, eating lunch and wading in the ice cold water. The work began after lunch on the hike out. We paced ourselves but the hike back to the campground was very hot! If you are not in excellent physical shape do not try this rim to river to rim one day hike. Once we made it to the campground, we rested for about 45 minutes reclining on the benches in the shade. The hike from this point to the rim became a physical and mental challenge. Luckily the clouds helped. Where my daughter and I talked a lot to this point we internalized the challenge and really focused on the climb out. At this point you see all the day hikers starting at the 3 mile restroom and then see a lot of people from the 1.5 miler to the rim. The last four miles were very difficult. When we took the last step to the rim we had accomplished something very special. A glorious day in the wild that I will never forget and will always cherish! The total time on the hike was 11.25 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

7th July 18, Rim to river and back. Started at 6am, should've been earlier, maybe 4 or 5 purely because of the heat we experienced once we got to the bottom and started out ascent. There were toilet and water spots every few miles down which are live savers. Took us 3 hours to get down and we were quicker than most. Took us 6 hours back up, plenty of rest and ego at the door. Incredibly beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

This was our first hike on our first visit to the Grand Canyon. We intended to hike to Indian Garden but we got a late start and it was incredibly hot so we only hiked to the 3 mile station. The views were spectacular along the way. Take a lot of water, start really early and take your time on the ascent.

1 month ago

Great hike, beautiful views. hike back up challenging, many spots to rest in shade. Bring adequate water. Trail is well maintained, no issues.

1 month ago

just make sure to start early! gets so hot in the summer.

1 month ago

Lucked out on cloudy weather in the middle of summer. Came down Bright Angel Trail at 6pm and managed to get to Bright Angel Campgrounds around 11pm to stay the night.
Started hiking back up at 6am with an awesome overcast and slight drizzle. Kept a good pace until Indian Gardens...then the climb began. Great views as I climbed higher and getting a clear view from where I started that morning.
So glad about the change in weather, especially when it was in the 100's in Phantom Ranch a day before.

1 month ago

made it to the mile 3 rest stop and turned around(with our 30 lb daughter in a backpack carrier). went in the worst time to go so it was super hot still awesome though. Definitely a good idea to start the trip early morning if you want to do the whole thing. going to try again another time but camp at the bottom next time!

2 months ago

Slippery! Nike’s were no dice. Did this with a 10yr old that did great. Saw lots of thru hikers from the north rim, we will go all the way down next time!

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike in early February and it was simply incredible. The best hike I’ve ever done. We went down to the river, had lunch for about 30 minutes and went back up. In total it took 8 hours. I brought hiking poles for the climb back up and thank goodness because obviously it’s just climbing up up up the entire way. The last three-four miles towards the top is the hardest because of how steep the incline is and how many short nature hikers there are that are all over the place. The hottest part of the hike was at the bottom, even in Feb. I don’t know about doing this hike in summer unless you have been training in some serious heat.

2 months ago

Hiked the trail down on 4/23. Amazing views every step I took. I would recommend the hike, but make sure you have plenty of water and you're sure-footed!

3 months ago

So, so sweet. Easier than Kaibab, but you get amazing views of the Colorado River.

hiking
3 months ago

started around 8 am, incredible walls of course, very step and one heck of a work out, only went to checkpoint 3 miles in then turned around, the steep down was wearing on my knees, I climbed out by noon, what a workout. I check GC off my list.

hiking
3 months ago

Recommendation: Start before 9:00, it get's really hot at the bottom by noon.
We hiked the BA down, stayed at the Ranch, and then hiked the South Kaibab out. The Angel was cool, but I don't think I'll ever do it again. The South Kaibab is just a cooler trail with better views.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked from the rim to plateau point (side trail once you reach Indian garden). I did this hike w my husband on 4/27/18. The hike was 6.1 miles each way. We started at 8:45am and finished at 3:55pm. It seemed like every park ranger we talked to was determined to dissuade us from going past the 3 mile rest stop. It was like they wanted to scare us. We are by no means in the greatest shape, we hike maybe once or twice a year and we are in our early 40s. Although the hike was truly strenuous, i wouldn’t call it hard. It’s an easy trail and it’s almost impossible to get lost. The trail itself is not dangerous but the elements can be. We got lucky that we had cloud cover most of the day and that helped so much. I can’t imagine doing this in the summer months. We both drank our 3 liters of water/Gatorade by the time we made it back.
The walk from Indian garden to plateau point is gorgeous. There’s beautiful cacti and flowers. The view at the end is gorgeous. You can see the river.
Tips:
-unless you’re literally crawling this thing, it will not take you 12 hours to do this trail.
-if you make it to Indian garden, just suck it up and walk to plateau point, it’s worth it.
-try breathing through your nose as much as you can. The dust that gets kicked up will dry out your throat
-I wished the whole time up that I had a damp bandana to wrap over my mouth/nose so I could breathe better
-don’t attempt to go to the river and back in one day. I’m sure it can be done but why:....
-stick your head under the running water at plateau point and the creek by Indian garden.
-start early so you don’t come back in the dead heat. There’s no shade anywhere.

This was an awesome hike. One of my favorites and most challenging hikes. Highly recommend it.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked three in and three back out. Water at 1.5 and 3 despite signs saying there was none. The further down you go the less packed it is! Beautiful and well maintained. So much different than sitting on the rim!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike but hard. Covered 4580 feet of up from the river. Stop for lunch at Indian Gardens. Four hours from the bottom then another four hours to the rim. Total hike time 8 hours. Once in a life time event.

trail running
4 months ago

Epic hike with fantastic views. Turned at the Hyde (1-ish mile short of the campgrounds) and then went out to Plateau Point on the way back. Ran most of it and took a few short hiking and snack breaks. Bring lots of water and food. As a highly active 17 year old guy (w/ a 1:33:44 half marathon PR for reference) it took me about 5 hours, 4:34 moving time.

5 months ago

Really good hike with great views. Bright Angel Trail is a difficult trail, crampons needed during the colder months, long pieces of trail covered with sleek ice so please be careful. The hike is accessible and easy to find. Do not let my ice comment make you afraid of coming, once the sun hits the trail those ice capes are gone within minutes. It is a long trail so many people hike down for an hour or two then head back up. You start with going down! So the way back up will be HARDER! Make it a 1 to 1.5 ratio. You hike down 1 hour expect your trip back up to be 1 hour and 30 min give or take depending on your experience. The trail head has multiple places to refill your water bottle alongside restroom facilities. Please DO NOT FORGET WATER. It is your best friend. Also feel free to take snacks because there are great places to stop and eat something with a beautiful view. Clean up after yourself. The canyon is there for your enjoyment, treat it with respect. Overall, a fantastic trail with an incredible view. I would recommend this trail to anyone with prior hiking experience (if you don’t have experience, go ahead and try it out but take it easy and remember the 1 to 1.5 ratio i explained towards the top) - val :)

backpacking
5 months ago

Great hike! The last four miles to the top were the most difficult.

5 months ago

It was awesome! it's easy going down with gorgeous views, but dont underestimate! Coming up is the hard part. pay close attention to what the park rangers say. the weather is really unpredictable. wear lots of layers, take alot of water, food and salty snacks.

6 months ago

Pretty views throughout the hike.

backpacking
6 months ago

came up this trail from Phantom Ranch in one day. Water and amenities made this trek excellent, though day hikers and trail runners on their way down did not yield to hikers ascending, even though NPS informs them to do so. well maintained trails, though expect mule urine and poo at almost every turn. So much to see, bighorn sheep, all kinds of birds, ground mammals. Indian gardens is the halfway point and is a virtual oasis.

trail running
7 months ago

Can't wait to do it again!
You can hike it or run it out and back, but it very challenging. There's water by Plateau and other spots along the way. Carry plenty anyway.

7 months ago

Most amazing hike. Highly recommend 2 nights and 3 days backpacking. You will push yourself and discover a new you.

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