Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail

HARD 560 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, nature trips, 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

nature trips

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

no shade

no dogs

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
1 day ago

This is probably the easiest trail of the south rim of the canyon because it has a walkable path and water stations at the rest stops. The first rest stop and water toilet is 1.5miles from the top and the next is another 1.5 from the second. Going down is easy, very easy, but coming up is difficult. If you’re not fit, it can take a toll on your health, so please use caution. Make sure you pack plenty of water and salty snacks otherwise you can suffer from an epileptic shock triggered from just drink water. Rest when ever you need to. I cannot emphasise this enough. This trail was fun and the views are amazing. Next time I’ll try to get to the Indian Village, but you have to make a reservations I stay there overnight, so plan for that if it’s something you want to do.

hiking
2 days ago

This trail is great! It’s a little off starting from the top and Ascending when coming back. But the views are breathtaking. Bring plenty of water especially during summer.

hiking
3 days ago

The immensity and beauty of the Grand Canyon remains breathtaking at every step from start to finish.

hiking
17 days ago

Plentiful water stops

hiking
29 days ago

Lots of people on trail

hiking
1 month ago

Many switch backs. Hard coming back up.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail starts at the top of the canyon and takes a slow, meandering walk to the bottom. Usually heavily trafficked on the first mile but not so much as you hike further in. The temperature is also much warmer than at the top of the canyon. The hike down is a breeze, the climb up is a struggle. Even as experienced and fit hikers, we still had to rest and take many breaks on the climb back up. We saw numerous people setting off down the trail without food, water, or adequate hiking gear. If you plan on hiking more than a mile in, I recommend being prepared with hiking shoes, food, and twice the amount of water you expect to need. Side note, if it’s a sunny day, use lots and lots of sunscreen.

no shade
1 month ago

1 month ago

Can't take credit for hiking the entire trail. Hiked down about a mile and back. Not enough time but it's so amazing!! Friendly squirrels but caution, if you're carrying your only water source in a bladder bag, a squirrel could unbeknownst to you, chew through your hiking bag when you take a rest. Quite dangerous if you have no other water.

1 month ago

A very busy trail! Plan ahead and be prepared. Trekking poles, water and food. there is also no where to answer when mother nature calls. The rangers stayed very busy on assistance calls when we were there, including flying someone out by helicopter.

2 months ago

Beautiful views...pretty easy going down just take your time hiking back up.

hiking
2 months ago

A very special hike. I did it in the spring and what I found incredible was the different kinds of terrain that you encounter on the hike. Soaring cliffs, river, streams, neon greenery. We started very late (like 10 am) so we didn’t have much time. We still decided to go down to the river and back up to the rim in one day. Was difficult but very rewarding. The river is a good climax also. Dipped out heads in and chilled for a bit. We managed to finish in around 7 hours. We are not avid hikers but are pretty active. Still took a big toll and we were very sore for the next few days. If you are not in good shape probably not a great idea to go down and up in one day unless you start very early and take it slow. Also it was cool pleasant weather which helped a lot. Anyways a wonderful hike. Highly recommended. Will not disappoint.

hiking
2 months ago

As much as all of the park staff advise everyone not to do this in one day, if you are the average active person, have done enough hikes with extended inclines and have half a brain, you will achieve this hike in the day with no worries. I’m not saying it’s completely comfortable, of course it’s a challenge but the people who die trying to do this are just plain morons. Myself and my girlfriend did this at the end of April (we’re in our mid 20’s and active people) left at 7am and got back at 3:50pm (8 hours 50 mins). We arrived at the Bright Angel campground at about 10:30am and went back to pipe creek beach for a dip (there’s a safe spot where the flow is very slow, just be mindful because it gets deep quickly) and had some lunch. We were at the beach for about 45 mins before progressing back. This is the challenging part, but we were prepared, had 3L of water each, about 500g of trail mix and heaps of fruit. We made sure that the temperature wasn’t going to get too hot (I think it reached about 35 degrees Celsius at the bottom) and we refilled our bladders at the Indian village on the way back just in case. The legs are feeling it now but absolutely worth it. So in summary, use common sense and you will achieve this in the one day. Just be prepared.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic experience! Seeing the GC at the bottom and all along the way! Oasis at Indian Garden, calm hamlet at Phantom Ranch, cold waters of the Bright Angel Creek and Colorado River!

hiking
2 months ago

4/25/19 — Rim to Colorado River and back (15.6 miles) Parked outside of the Bright Angel lodge, started around 6:10 am and made it down to the river in 3 hours. After a short break, I dunked my head into the Colorado River in celebration before heading back up to the ever lovely and lush Indian Garden for a lunch break. I arrived back to the rim by 1:40 pm, totaling 7.5 hours, of which no more than an hour was a break. I went really slowly for the last 3 miles and that was the hardest. I think I would’ve tried to start about an hour earlier at least to try to have more shade on the return trip up. It got really hot and daytime temps were supposed to be around lower 70s. The canyon itself was vibrant and teeming with life. You truly need to hike down within it to realize just how much there is to see. There were tons of spotted lizards sprinting across the sand trail and up trees, squirrels inching ever closer and probably plotting against me and my trail mix, and I even saw a long, black and white striped snake slither into the tall grasses. I wish I could bottle up the smells: the sweet and heavy perfume of the wildflowers and green shrubs at dawn, the powdery, hot limestone mixed with cold creek water that has this earthy, smoky, rich aroma akin to that of antique stores of the West. The Arizona sun is unrelenting, so I was ever grateful for the cool shady spots along the slow and steady trek back to the rim, though it appears I’m now as sunburnt as some of the red rocks.

hiking
2 months ago

I completed this trail to the river rest house at the Colorado River which is 16 miles in one day on 4/19. It’s a beautiful trail and one I wouldn’t miss. The park services frown upon doing it in one day but it is certainly doable. It took me 8 hours and 20 minutes, though others took over 10 hours. There were quite a few others who successfully completed the trail that same day, however there were many more that had to stop due to suffering from heat exhaustion. Do not attempt this trail unless you are in good shape, trained at the elevation and long hikes in the heat, and well equipped. Take more water, electrolytes, and food than you think you need, then add even more to it. At this time of year the only water refill station is at the 4.9 mile marker at the Garden, however it sounds that there will be water refill at the 1.5 and 3.0 mile markers in May. Also be weary of the temperature. It was only in the mid 70s when I attempted the hike but in the sun it feels way hotter. This would be brutal to attempt when it is warmer. Also note that All Trails miles seem to differ from the National Park Services, as by their maps this route is closer to 19 to 20 miles. The best way to get to this trail is to park at parking lot D at the Back Country information center

hiking
3 months ago

I did this trail from the south rim to across the river and back as a day hike (04/18/19). I stopped twice for around 40 minutes a piece to fuel up and take a good rest. I took advantage of the shade and took several smaller breaks also. It was around freezing at the rim when I left at 4:45 am and was around 90 or so at the river. My suggestion for this time of the year is to start before sunlight and to wear your regular hiking clothes and brave the first bit of cold because you will have to carry them back up the canyon later. I took plenty of food and water with Gatorade packs. There is water at Indian Garden only at this time of year in addition to the water at the bathroom at the top. My philosophy was to take a slower, steady pace for the whole trip. This really worked out well for me. I wouldn't even attempt to do this hike in the summer months. I can see why people get in trouble on this trail. Some folks that I met or talked to didn't have a clue what they were doing or even how far they were going. Doing this hike to the river or beyond and back in one day is not for beginners unless you are in great shape. There are more regular people on the trail the higher you ascend. Many of these people have no idea of hiker etiquette. And by the time I was starting the last two miles, I was not in the mood to have to deal with people that weren't using trail sense. This really aggravates me on any trail especially on one that I have put so much energy into. Total time was close to 10 1/2 hours. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked it last weekend, 4/13 and 4/14. It was 28° at 7 AM at the south rim, warmed quickly to 80° at Indian Garden and 86° at Phantom Ranch. The vegetation is blooming, the bees are buzzing and the red buds are still in bloom. There is a little flowing water to cross but nothing major. The creeks are flowing and cloudy and fly fishing was not productive. The trails are in great shape. The food at Phantom Ranch has improved.

hiking
3 months ago

Very nice trail, the best views in the initial 5 km2 and after the camp on the second descent and approaching the river! Many people on the trail. There is water in intermediate points like for example in the camp! Also some streams that are not dry at this time. I was walking but it is beautiful to run it from end to end! The walk took 6:15 and in the river we stayed around an hour! Highly recommended

bridge out
3 months ago

great hiking experience, me & my 3 sons hiked s kaibab tr. to cotton wood campground. then hiked out bright angel trail. total of 30 miles... wonderful hike, beautiful , early April was perfect weather. trails were maintained, awesome !

3 months ago

We hiked to Plateau Point on March 20, 2019. A fabulous, gut wrenching hike. A must do for anyone able. Views from Plateau Point are breathtaking. It is worth the hike...just start early and you must be resilient! We left the rim at 11 am, back to top by 7 pm...very exhausting. Sore for days

3 months ago

great beautiful hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike although we got a late start so only went to the 3 mile rest area and back. Was a little muddy at the top but saw no mud after that. We made it back up almost as fast as we made it down. Felt like the first few miles back up were the easiest but none of it was overly hard at all. Very nice hike.

3 months ago

While going down there was no problem but while returning, it's energy consuming. Required to take more water. First 1mile there was snow.

3 months ago

Completed this trail on 3/25/19 from rim to river, we did not go to the camp at the bottom. We departed at 7:40 am worrying we would not make it back by dark, but did take 9 hours and 45 minutes. The portion of the trail from Indian gardens down was my favorite not near as steep as the top part and a big part of the time you’re next to stream in smaller canyons with the spectacular views of high parts of the rim. I felt great until I got to the 3 mile shelter coming up and then got nauseous took it very slow from there up. Completed this with my wife and 3 kids. If you’re in moderately good hiking condition this a hike for you in March.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
3 months ago

I did this trail today and it was challenging, but worth it. There is still snow at the top, so invest in a walking stick and some traction for your feet. once you hit about a mile you can remove the traction devices.

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