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Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1459)
Grand Canyon National Park

Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground and River Trail is a 18.4 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.

Length 18.4 mi Elevation gain 4,980 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

No shade

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (6)

Tips: -Majority of the trail is exposed. Wear sunscreen. -Even though water spigots are located at miles 1.5 and 3, It is still recommend to bring your own water. -Trekking poles aren't mandatory, but are recommended. -Mules and mule trains have the right of way regardless if they are going up or down. -Hikers climbing up have the right of way. -Leave the wildlife alone. No matter how cute the deer and squirrels look, don't feed them. Fact...squirrel bites is the leading animal related injury to park visitors at the Grand Canyon. -Pick up your trash -Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. -Crowded near the top. -Enjoy the Grand Canyon -Most importantly, be safe! Remember, this is the Grand Canyon and it's a long way down.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1460)
Photos (3338)
Recordings (1033)
Completed (3937)
V P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

Challenging trail with great views. This trail definitely requires preparation: good hiking shoes/boots, plenty of water, first aid kit, food, etc. The spectacular view is worth the pain. Probably one to the more challenging trails due to the combination of sun exposure, heat, inclination, narrow trail path, and lack of cell phone reception.

Dale D'Alessandro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

This is an epic hike made special by COVID-19. We hiked from Bright Angel Campground to the South Rim - Bright Angel trailhead and saw fewer than 10 people. It was only 115° but a dip in the Colorado River where the trail is about to head away from the river is a must! Keeping your core body temperature under control on this hike is critical. Caution! There is an aggressive squirrel near the beach that quickly chewed a whole in my new backpack. This trail follows several creeks that had plenty of cool water lower your core body temperature. There is not much shade on the bottom half of the hike, but if you rest at the Indian Gardens until 4:00 pm you will have a lot of shade the rest of the trip to the rim.

Claudia Soto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2020
HikingRocky
View Claudia's Recording
Gayle Greenley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Since the temperatures on the canyon Floor were 124 last night ( per 3 men we met coming back up from camping down there) we went to the Rest House 1.5 miles down. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE EVERYONE SAYING COMING UP IS HARD!! Going down was a walk in the park- we hit the trail at 5:45 AM just after sunrise got back up just before 10 because coming back up was grueling and it was already super hot!! We hen at our turn around point we kept looking down the trail discussing going further-I am so glad we didn’t ! I would like to come back some day in cooler weather and give the full trail a shot! It was incredible though- saw mountain goats eating early in the morning too!

Karl Holub
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

What an unbelievable hike! Our group started at about 5PM and finished a bit after 11PM. I cannot recommend this timing highly enough. Despite 110F temps in at the Indian Gardens on our way down, we had shade nearly the entire time, making the hiking very manageable. We reached the river at 7:30PM in time to enjoy the cool water. We then had the pleasure of hiking 3.5 hours out of the canyon by moonlight. It was a practically a new adventure, with the nearly full moon providing enough light to not warrant headlamps and casting gorgeous shadows all over the canyon walls. I will second other recommendations to bring plenty of salty snacks and add that iodine/chlorine tablets are necessary for refilling water at the river.

Marney Neil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

So astonishingly breathtaking! Salty snacks (talking straight up potato chips and pretzels) and avoid heat at all costs! I worse sunscreen, long sleeve coolibar UPF sunshirt, and sunhat-still got overheated. Qualifier to my review: I’m 45, 50 lbs overweight, very muscular with history of powerlifting, running up/down stadium stairs in FL heat , serious stubborn “won’t quit” mindset, and otherwise healthy. Routinely walk 10 miles at work daily. Left at 4:45 am. Sunrise 5:20. First 8.5 - 9 miles took five hours. Cautious because trail was very muddy. Heavy rain day before. Last mile took 1.5 hours, the assistance of a park ranger who nursed me along with salt and doused me in ice water. I had become disoriented, staggering, losing balance , headache, nauseous. I’d drank 6 liters of water on way down. Had some vitaLyte in my waters. Still lost too much sodium/blood too diluted. I was hyperthermic. Estimated outdoor temp in canyon bottom 105-110. All this to warn you: when they say “bring salty snacks”, it’s no joke. Salt salt salt!! Had ranger not seen me and intervened, I might have staggered off side of mountain. Really. I was bad off. Leave early early early (3:30-4) if you’re someone like my description. Getting to immerse myself in Bright Angel Creek was heavenly after getting overheated. Make hike easier: douse:immerse self and/or clothes in creeks every chance you get. Indian gardens and trail after it was so gorgeous! Smelled so sweet. Fat squirrels and lizards. Loved the laughing call of Canyon Wren. Phantom Ranch /Bright Angel Campground area was a desert oasis + garden. Blossoming prickly pears. Lots of trees. Deers all over. As a hiker and/or camper you can reserve/prepay for dinners at Phantom Ranch. The chef, Brian, cooked a better steak/meal than the El Tovar and other restaurants. Again: if you’re someone like my description, do NOT do this hike in one day. You will need 1-2 days in campground to recover before heading up or split hike out in half by camping at Indian Garden. My plan to be at Bright Angel Campground before 9-10am and then “cowboy camp” before heading out after prolonged rest + dinner didn’t work out. Please heed my precautionary tale. I’m so glad I did the hike, but listen to all the warnings. It takes every piece of advice that’s on NPS webpage to make it through this hike safely.

John Yoo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

physically taxing, but so worth it if you are able. being july, we took the advice of another reviewer and started at midnight in order to avoid the heat. with a light, its very doable (our first night hike) and walked down to phantom ranch with frequent short breaks, taking about 5.5-6 hrs. we then spent the day around Phantom Ranch and the nearby beach trying to sleep and relax until the evening for our hike back. btw it is hot down there, and there were some trees for shade and the river/creek, but if you can bring shade, that would be a great idea. we started our hike back up at 6:30pm, and finished before 2am, taking frequent breaks. fyi, physically challenging to do it in one day with the heat, i would probably break up into 2-3 days next time to better enjoy each section, but doable if it’s your only option. hanging by the beach and creek near Phantom Ranch were our highlights - unreal oasis of greenery set in the red canyons and rock. some tips we picked up on our journey from rangers and fellow hikers: 1. wet your clothes/sit in the creek every chance you get when hiking in the heat. (creek or water every 1.5-2 mi or so on the trail) helps you recover and cool down (we did this on the way back up and it made a huge difference) 2. just being in the heat (eg. we were napping under a tree during the day) will use your energy. instead, if you are spending the day resting there like we did, sit in the creek or river and wet your clothes often so you can recover 3. your pack will get hot! check your food and medicinal items, battery pack, etc for heat tolerance, as my phone, chocolates, and even eye drops couldn’t handle it 4. with headlamps, it’s better to hold in your hand instead of putting on your head for a number of reasons: i) better depth perception and allows improved motion sensing for things on the ground like rocks or animals (bigger shadows), ii) bugs like lights, so keeping it in hand rather than your forehead attracts bugs to your hand and not into your eyes and open mouth, iii) you can quickly turn the light to check things, rather than turning your whole head, iv) keeps your eyes better adjusted to the darkness, so things on the ground and in front of you stays illuminated but you maintain better peripheral night vision v) helps with etiquette: lights can easily blind other people if eye level, so keep low and pointed to the ground

View John's Recording
Ben Freeman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike! My girlfriend and I originally planned to do the hike down to Plateau Point and with that plan we took the advice of some other comments that said to leave around noon. <--- this was the best and critical advice!! It may seem better to hike early in the morning but that means that you must return to the South rim in the peak heat of the day - some people were doing that as we hiked down and they looked miserable. At the Indian Campground around 3:30pm we decided to switch plans and hike down to the Colorado River which is an additional 3.5miles and 2000 elevation change. It was a bit of a risky move as it was late in the day but we had a good downhill pace. Arrived at the bottom around 5pm, took a quick dip and headed right back up. Total mileage is approx 16 miles round trip with over 5000 feet vertical but I recorded around 18miles. This is a LONG day and we were fortunate to have strong winds keeping us cool. Water at 1.5, 3 and 4.5 miles down. No water at the river. I probably drank 4-5 liters of water through the whole hike. The final 3 miles were in the dark so we required a headlamp. We are reasonably fit and live in Denver. I'd recommend the hike only to those that are somewhat regular hikers and are used to extreme elevation changes. Please don't attempt if you don't hike a lot. For those that wish to attempt, I'd recommend leaving the top a little earlier maybe around 10:30/11am. And I'm sure the hike to Plateau Point is gorgeous too so thats always a shorter option as a backup plan. Good luck!

View Ben's Recording
Cheryl M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

Always a wonderful but challenging trip. Tacked on Phantom Ranch for a cold drink and Boat Beach to chill. Rim to El Tovar for dinner st the end. Timed trip to minimize sun and maximize shade, but heat and sun at bottom hard to miss.

View Cheryl's Recording
Mark J.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingRocky

Great challenge. Just prepare with water. Assess your water needs. Double that. Then triple that number. Again.....water. You can’t take enough.

Dani Halteman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
Hiking

I would recommend this trail to anyone looking for a good day hike. The trail is well maintained and there are bathrooms/water stops at 1.5 miles & 3 miles (I believe more as the trail continues). However, would advise to be aware the trail is moderate going down as well as faster but strenuous coming back up (steep uphill but not too too bad). Small spots for shade to stop if it is sunny. Otherwise, great trail! Hope to make it to the Colorado river next time I return!

View Dani's Recording
Alex Santaniello
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2020
Hiking

Did the south rim to the river and back, great day! Not too hard but definitely need to rest and hydrate in the shade a lot! Took my time and did it in just under 8 hours

View Alex's Recording
John Langan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 1, 2020
HikingNo shade

Best maintained trail ive ever hiked. That being said, lots of people and workers. Not a private experience. Bring lots of water.

kevin morris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

best scenes of nature ive ever been a part of. God truly did deliver when he shaped Earth this way

Tiffany L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful! For those who don’t hike might find it difficult to go back up. Bring water!

Kathleen Kelley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
Hiking

We just spent three days and two nights at Bright Angel camp. Daytime temp in the shade was 110 consistently, and About 70 at night. We packed in 35lbs and packed out 15lbs — using the mule service for $82. It made the hike up much easier, but it’s still a butt-kicker. We left Bright Angel camp at 2:00 am and the night hike was SPECTACULAR. Besides beating the heat, the night sky made waking up early worth it. I would highly recommend night hiking the canyon at some point during your stay. We Arrived back at the top at about 8am. Phantom Ranch Canteen had a walk-up window only. The water at the camp was continuously being worked on. It was on then it was off. Best to bring a purification source. The Rangers are/were some of the friendliest and professional that I’ve ever come across. Kudos to them for loving what they do. It showed.

Bryce Bowen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
HikingNo shade

Whew! This review is late, but I did this July 4th weekend two years ago and man, oh man, was it hot. Being from Phoenix, I thought I could handle the heat. Well I did, and payed for it. Our two night stay stunned into a single night since we couldn’t sleep in the heat. Besides that, this is a stunning hike that many don’t get to do. Personally, the view is better at the top, but when the canyon calls, you answer.

Bethany Luzny
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

Opted not to do the whole trail as we didn’t have the full day. Start early to avoid the heat and sun, and just remember going down is easy but you do have to come back up.

Mo Kathleen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

This was amazing. Between the wildlife that are close to the trails and the views you will get... you will love it. Very steep walking up but simply breathtaking!

Chris Logan becker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
HikingRocky

I’ve done bright angel to phantom ranch and it’s phenomenal!! We went recently when park recently opened up. Was somewhat windy so we just did part of trail and waited for sunset. The trail is narrow and travels straight down so it’s a work out if you come back up. Views are breathtaking. Take water and wear good shoes. Walking sticks are helpful too

Zoe Vigna
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 2, 2020
HikingBlowdownNo shade

Definitely easy on the way down. I stopped at the creek for about a half hour and soaked my feet and had a snack and then the way up was brutal. I did start my hike til 2:30 so going down was in the sun, but on the way up it was all shaded and that was really nice!

View Zoe's Recording
mando V the beast
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2020
Backpacking

awesome hike beautiful views only went down 2 hours limited time, harder on the way back up the trailer

T Ballesteros
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 9, 2020
Hiking

Amazing views. Be prepared for all conditions. Bring water - lots of it! Bring another pair of socks. Snow at the top hot at the bottom! Can’t wait to go back! This trail is not for the weak at heart and you should be in decent physical condition to eliminate the chance of coming back up in a stretcher or on someone’s back.

Giuseppe Hernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2020
HikingNo shade

This will be a challenge, expect to start early morning if you want to complete the whole trail on half a day. It took 8.5 hrs to do just half the trail and went mid way. Bring plenty of water, backpack, and plenty of power bars. Hiking sticks are very recommended and a solid pair of boots. The views will be absolutely incredible!!

Anthony Nader
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 19, 2020
Hiking

Fun, crowded trail and a sort of American Pilgrimage. So many have treaded on this great trail and it is a privilege to be among them. We went as far as we could go without an overnight pass, and back up the steep incline. We loved every moment, even when a pesky chipmunk raided our backpack!

Kelly A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2020
Hiking

Bright Angel, wow! This is an absolutely breathtaking hike. There is something spiritual about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Joe Kerley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 21, 2020
HikingBugsIcyMuddy

I got carried away with the views and went all the way to the river. For someone of average fitness level, this was a tall order. Was 3.5 hrs down 6 hrs back. I’m glad I finished but it wasn’t smart, especially solo.

View Joe's Recording
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