Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail

HARD 466 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 is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from September until May.

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

backpacking

camping

hiking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
10 days ago

On February 10 a group 27 strong but mostly older men and women completed an annual hike to the River and back. The trails were fine but icy, and mini crampons were reassuring in icy stretches. We started as early as midnight and some made it back as late as dusk. The weather on the rim started at 19 degrees but at the river was as warm as 45 Fahrenheit. It snowed a few inches as we slept that night and we awoke to a frozen paradise.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
25 days ago

This one wore me out coming back up. Great hike though. I would say prepare for ice patches by wearing spikes, saw too many folks slipping coming down the trail. Late January, was 15° F or so at daybreak and 70’s at around midday at the bottom of the Canyon near the Colorado.

29 days ago

Definitely worth it!! The way up is very hard but incredible.
Amazing experience, it's more than an usual hike.
Remember that tou have to book your night in advance at the ranch!
I did it in November, so it wasn't too hot. Need only one or two liters of water

hiking
1 month ago

Just hiked this trail on 01/19/19. The trail is snow packed and icy for the first 1.5mi and then it ends. The trail has absolutely beautiful sights & was truly worth the effort!

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this trail in July and was disappointed because I couldn’t do the whole thing. It’s beautiful and the descent is not too difficult, but the trip back up will take about twice as long. I want to come back and complete the trail because of its amazing scenic route through the Grand Canyon.

backpacking
1 month ago

Descended the Kaibab trail on January first and spent two nights at Bright Angel campground. Hiked up Bright Angel. An Amazing trip! Snowed New Years Eve so we had an absolutely beautiful setting for our trip. Train for the downhill hike as it sure kicked my............ The Ascent on the Bright Angel was gorgeous. It helped to have layers as we went from 40 degrees to 18F. Traction device for boots also helpful above Indian Gardens. We left Phantom Ranch at 10 am and most of us were out by sundown so headlamps are recommended. Some young hikers did down and up in one day stopping for a beer at Phantom Ranch! Not for the Faint! Hope to do rim to rim some day!!

1 month ago

excellent trail with amazing views, we did it in late December, dress for cold weather, it was 8 degrees on our trip, watch for snow storms and bring crampons for the upper section. will do again soon.

1 month ago

r

2 months ago

Amazing hike. A group of us did it after thanksgiving. A little bit of ice when we started at 630a. Not enough to justify the extra weight of crampons. The canyon looks prettiest during morning light. I would have started earlier with headlamps to see the sunset from closer to Indian gardens. Took us about 7hrs to get back to our cars. The last three miles is by far the hardest part on tired legs!

backpacking
3 months ago

It’s the Grand Canyon! Bright Angel is one of the more heavily trafficked trails into the canyon. Once you are about two miles in the crowds thin and you can really indulge in what the canyon offers. See you at Phantom Ranch!

3 months ago

Loved this trail. My first time to the Grand Canyon and this is part of one bigger trail down to the bottom that apparently takes days. I was a little nervous about the steep sides and felt nervous going down so walked slow. But the trail is pretty wide and using my walking sticks on way up was able to go fast and felt strong. Started too late in the day though so only did part of it. Go early to Grand Canyon or you might not be able to do the whole trial. Recommend starting at 8 or 9 at latest!

3 months ago

Super fun trail!! Stay hydrated

4 months ago

I gone down 2 hours and 45 min., and up 3 hours and 27 min.
It was very hard but perfectly flow feeling.

hiking
4 months ago

Was a great hike
Very crowded the first few miles but then the crowds thin out the deeper you go , around the 3 mile mark
I disagree with a lot of. Reviews here about it’s difficulty , I exercise but am by no means in great condition and found the hike relatively easy
Just enjoy you’re surroundings and take it all in , the miles will pass by before you know it !!
Enjoy

hiking
4 months ago

Fantastic but tough hike! I felt pretty confident going in, however the elevation change kicked my butt big time. At the 3 mile rest stop I felt slightly dizzy and could tell my hands were a bit swollen. Miles later, it was so much worse obviously as the elevation continuously changes throughout. I had to stop for awhile as my arms were so swollen I thought they would burst. A good rest and elevating my arms helped me snap out of it and continue on to make it 15 of the 17 miles.

The trail is well maintained, there are plenty of rest stops along the way, the weather was perfect when we went. I think it’s more the length of the trail, not being properly prepared, hiking during hotter times of day, and of course the elevation that can make this hike extremely difficult rather than the actual trail itself. It definitely is nerve wracking being all the way in the canyon knowing it’s up to you to get yourself back out!

When I go again, I will bring hiking poles to elevate my arms a bit, and pace myself more just to allow my body to properly acclimate so I don’t have the same issue! Otherwise it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back!

4 months ago

Hard but very rewarding when you finish it!

4 months ago

Strenuous trail, but absolutely beautiful! Continuously drink water and snack throughout hike. Took about 3 hours to get about 1/2 mile past Indian Garden and 3.5 hours back up to Bright Angel Trailhead on South Rim. I've done this trail 2x and I'm glad I prepared each time by doing lots of cardio. Much better experience the second time...more prepared. Highly recommend walking sticks...helps when your legs are fatigued in order to help get up the trail steps (which can be a bit tall at times). Enjoy!!

5 months ago

Great hike. Only made it to the 1.5 mile mark cause I started late afternoon and it was hot. Amazing views the entire hike.

mountain biking
5 months ago

Great but don’t go with small children we lost one child he fell off.

hiking
5 months ago

Absolutely stunning. Did this in mid August. Started at 6AM. Made it down and up by 2PM, with about an hour of sitting at the bottom and another hour 2/3 of the way up. It was very hot by the time I was coming back up. Once you make it past the 3 mile house, there are a lot fewer people. I felt terrible for the people at the top when I came back up because it was so muggy that the North Rim wasn't visible, but once you make it a few miles down, you can see everything!

The best part of the hike was the last few miles. The views inside of the canyon itself are better than the ones from the top because there are fewer people, and because you get an up close look at the rock formations in the distance.

Don't do this hike unless you know what you're in for! Almost 18 miles and 5k feet in elevation is no joke.

hiking
5 months ago

My daughter and I did this trail in the middle of May. Made it down to the 3 mile rest house. I wanted to go further but the ranger talked us into saving some energy and do some of the rim trail. Glad we did we even grabbed some food and stayed around for the sunset. Once in a lifetime.

6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

backpacking
7 months ago

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

7 months 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
7 months 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 our 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
7 months 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.

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