Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail

HARD 450 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

2 days 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 days 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
11 days 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.

17 days ago

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

19 days ago

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

25 days 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.

26 days 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!

1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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!

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 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
3 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.

4 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
4 months ago

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

4 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.

5 months ago

Pretty views throughout the hike.

backpacking
5 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
6 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.

6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

great trail! Heavily trafficked with tourists the first mile or so. there were brick shelter houses with running water every mile and a half or so. Much needed in the summer months! just remember all that downhill hiking means you will eventually need to come up! couldn't walk for 2 days after this hike!

hiking
7 months ago

lovely and hard trail, I started early, well before sunrise, but could've started even later, in December sun is low, so there isn't actually a lot of direct sunlight on the trail. Took me 6:20, last 3 miles were quite difficult, but I was pushing it as well. I had wonderful weather conditions, bright skies, no snow or ice on the trail.

7 months ago

Came up from Phantom Ranch to the south rim via Bright Angel. This was exhausting after hiking down the day before but I made it in 7 hours. Gorgeous views. Careful with the altitude change if powering up. It sneaks up on you.

hiking
7 months ago

My detailed review of the rim-to-rim hike which involved this trail for the ascent goes here: http://ashishb.net/all/rim-2-rimember-day-hiking-through-grand-canyon/

hiking
7 months ago

Very challenging but difficult hike! Be sure to move off trail or on the hillside(away from the cliff) when mules are coming your way! Water stops are only at Indian Gardens and Bright Angel Campground/Phantom Ranch as of 11-25-17. No water available at rest stops beforehand but vault toilets are open. Not a lot of crowds during November except for backpackers. Warning: If doing this in a day, bring a headlamp and start early!

backpacking
7 months ago

Great hike, beautiful in the fall. Can be very hot in the summer months. Take plenty of water

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