Plateau Point Trail via Bright Angel Trail

HARD 265 reviews

Plateau Point Trail via Bright Angel Trail is a 12.2 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, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from September until May.

Distance: 12.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,156 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

no dogs

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 days ago

My brother and I did this yesterday. We started at 8:15 AM and finished around 3:30. It was very hot at the bottom, but the hike is definitely worth the climb back out of the canyon. I would highly suggest taking a break at the Indian Gardens camp ground. It’s the only shade between the 3 mile rest house and the plateau. Chances are you’ll get to it in the middle of the day (when it’s hottest). Loved it!

hiking
16 days ago

My boyfriend and I did this hike yesterday and let me tell you it was beautiful but HOT... We are both in our late 20s and have a lot of hiking experience. You have two options...wake up at 5 am and get back up before peak heat or what we did (which I would recommend). We started the decent around 11 am, not terrible down and somewhat shady in parts. Bring plenty of water and electrolytes , no need to over pack because there are water refill stations about every 1.5 miles. Indian garden stop at the bottom is a nice shady break from the sun. The hike to plateau point is very flat and only 1.5 miles out but be aware that you are completely exposed in the sun (I was really starting to feel the heat here). Plateau point is absolutely beautiful , completely stunning and SO worth it!! 360 degree views of the canyon and looks right over the Colorado river. On the way back we had lunch in Indian garden and then onto the dreaded hike back up.. We started the ascent around 3:30 and thankfully were only exposed to the heat for around 30 minutes. The sun hides behind the canyon around 4. Nice and shady hike up to the top with no problems! Just pace yourself, you can do it. Glad we read the reviews and started late because it makes a huge difference being in the shade all the way up. Enjoy!!!

hiking
17 days ago

Our intention was to go to Phantom Ranch, but we met a guy in the parking lot that told us it was closed due to no water. Fortunately, I had read great reviews of this trail so we reset out destination. Started the descent from Bright Angel Trailhead at first light and made it to Plateau Point in three hours. Fantastic views from the overlook there! We've done the canyon before, but never taken the side trip before. Thank you, All Trails community, for offering reliable advice to hiking enthusiasts. The hike back up Bright Angel was definitely warmer and sunny, but with water stations and sporadic shade, we made it back to the rim before noon. I will say that the last mile was the most difficult simply because so many people come down from the rim to the 1.5 mile rest house. It became very difficult to keep out pace to get out. I so wish folks understood trail etiquette. Is it just me, or do others find it frustrating to navigate groups of hikers walking shoulder to shoulder? There were honestly a couple of times that we had to stop in our tracks because a group didn't give us any room to continue or find a safe place to step off. The ice cream cone at the end was a lovely and delicious reward!

hiking
17 days ago

As others of mentioned, the return ascent can be brutal. Getting an early start can be a big help to avoid the hotter times of the day.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Just did this in beginning of August. A few notes: took me 6.5 hours, with a few short stops, and 30 min at the end to eat. I’m about average or slightly above average conditioning, 33 years old, and went at a slow but steady pace. 80-something degree at the beginning but maybe 100 at the bottom. Sunny the entire way down, but luckily in the shade on the way up! Started at noon and sun set 30-60 min after we finished, it was perfect timing. Lesson: if you start early in the morning, you will be returning and making the ascent when it’s hottest and also in the sun.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Also a great side trip if you’re staying overnight at Indian gardens. Well worth the extra distance, amazing panoramic views of the canyon and the river. Great place to watch the sunrise or sunset

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, totally worth the extra three mile round trip from Indian garden to see the river and 360 view! Hike was very hot started at 5:30 ended at 11:30! Water was easy to find but was so busy there was lines to get it! Always remember if it’s super easy in the hike down that just means the way up will be killer!

Be in great shape or prepared to work the heck out.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely worth the distance! I don’t recommend for novice hikers as it is very easy to not realize how far you’ve gone down...remember you must go up!

hiking
2 months ago

Just under 5 hours. Very hot

3 months ago

2017 with Blake's Extreme scout troop

Awesome trail, difficult climb up. Going downhill was a breeze. Stopped once on the way down at Indian gardens. The plateau view is amazing. Worth seeing the Colorado River in the heart of the canyon. Amazing how deep the canyon is and this hike will give you a new found respect for the immensity that the Grand Canyon is. What you see from the ridge is just 1/2 of the actual canyon. Starting early in the morning is something I wish I did. The sun beats you down hard. Especially on the plateau and on the way up. Shade is scarce. I am 27 years old and stared at almost 11am.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. The views approaching Indian Garden, at the Plateau Point, and on the way back, were breathtaking. The towering canyon wall was a majestic view on your way back from Plateau Point. I started a little later (6:45) than I would have hoped and had only 4 hours of sleep the night before. This resulted in a tiring hike in blazing Sun on the way back (10:05 leaving Plateau point). Got back to the Rim at 1:15. I forgot how much water I drank but it was a lot. You don't need to carry that much water during Summer as there are refilling stations at 1.5 mile, 3 mile and Indian Garden. There is also a water faucet near Plateau Point that I didn't use.

hiking
3 months ago

It is definitely worth going to the plateau from bright angel. Amazing hike. We got heavy hail the last quarter mile. We started at 6:45 and returned at 1:20 with many stops. We’re in our 50’s.

A truly spectacular trail! My wife and I, in our 30s, hiked this trail with our 10 month old baby in a backpack carrier. We started at 8:30am and finished at 2:30pm with a few stops and picture taking. The first 3 miles down are the steepest and after the 3mile rest stop it levels out gradually to a down hill walk.

Awesome view, easy down, tough up! I was 20 weeks pregnant and didn’t do half bad!

It is worth going to tableau point, amazing views of the river. Not easy hike, i am active young man, did it in 6 hours, but it was not easy. But def worth it.

Spectacular views and trail well maintained. Believe when they say it is challenging! My wife and I are in our early 60’s and it kicked our butt...but we will do it again. Take plenty of hydration and protein snacks. We took some long breaks and the 12 mile hike to plateau point and back took us 11 hours. It was awesome!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Did this hike with two friends on May 8th. We started at 0830 instead of our planned 0700 because we had to wait for a thunderstorm to pass. Temps in the 40's at the rim made it very comfortable. Trail was wet and muddy because of all the rain. Good trail and amazing views. My friends and I are 70ish years old. We hike a lot on some pretty hard trails. Coming back up Bright Angel was very hard for us. We took 7.5 hours for the whole hike, down and back. Dinner at the El Tovar afterwards was a great finish to the day. If you are able do this hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome trail! It’s difficult but the trail itself is well constructed and won’t wreak havoc on your knees and back as bad as it could given how steep it is.

The six miles to Plateau Point is worth it for the great view of the Colorado River from maybe 1000 ft up. Trail is in excellent condition, flowers are blooming!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, amazing views, and while a long/tiring hike back up, it was very well maintained and not overly steep-just a constant decline/incline. Did this hike on 4/26. Started this trail at 9 am because we drove in from Flagstaff. A bit of a late start, but thankfully, we had a bit of cloud cover on the hike back up. I would recommend starting earlier (particularly with the early sunrise) as the weather starts getting warmer. Still only water at Indian Garden when we did the hike. I used about 3 liters on the hike back up.

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike! Be sure to do it in early Spring or sometime in the Fall. Summer will be miserable and hot. The hike begins very steep out of Bright Angel Trail, and descends 3,000 feet in 4 miles. This is challenging and hard on the knees, so wear knee braces and/or hiking poles. As always, bring plenty of water and salty snacks and heed the warnings and instructions on the signs along the trail. There are two restrooms along the way: one at 1.5 miles and one at 3 miles. When we went (in April) the water was not turned on, but I think it is on in the summer months. Indian Gardens also has water and restrooms as well as a campground. Indian Gardens is a welcome oasis with towering Cottonwood trees, a gurgling creek, and plenty of space to sit, eat lunch, and even hang a hammock and nap. Continue past Indian Gardens taking the trail out to Plateau Point. This is an extra 1.5 miles I believe, and is in direct sun the whole way. Seeing the canyon walls all around you is quite a sight, as are the 20 foot tall century plants and blooming prickly pear cactus. At the end of Plateau Point, you see the Colorado River 1,000 feet below your or so. There is a railing here where you can view the river and enjoy the views. Return the way you came. Climbing back up the 3,000 foot gain in 4 miles is more difficult (in my opinion) than hiking down it. Be sure to begin the ascent with full water and enough snacks on board. Take advantage of shady spots to rest. If you are well-prepped and no stranger to desert hiking, you will do fine on this hike! Also, it will not be difficult if you pace yourself! It took us 9 hours (9am to 6pm) but we also relaxed at Indian Gardens and at Plateau Point for quite a while. I'd say plan at least a 7 hour day, and do no hike back up during the hottest part of the day.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked the trail today (4/26). Left at 6am and didn't see many folks on the trail till we started walking back up. Spend about 3 hours walking to the plateau and 4 coming back up (total time 6h 53m). We are not avid hikers, but do exercise regularly. Water is still shut off at 1.5 and 3 mile reststop. We used about 2L each coming back up from Indian Gardens (4.5 miles). Trail is well maintained and very easy to follow, The views and landscape are second to none.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike on the morning of 23 April. Started on the trail at 0505 with a headlamp and was rewarded with nice cool temperatures pretty much all the way until Plateau Point. Saw some bighorn sheep around the 3 mile rest house in the early morning hours and deer down at Indian Gardens. Made really good time, running at some parts, and reached Plateau Point just before 0700. The way back up is definitely tough on the legs. Made it back to the top at 1005. Did it in 5 hours but I was solo and moving really fast, would recommend at least 6-8 for planning purposes. Highly recommend getting an early start to avoid the afternoon heat. Water was not available at either of the rest houses, only at Indian Gardens was there a working tap. Incredible views and really nice maintained trail the whole way. Would definitely do again.

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

I left at 5:30am because I wanted as much cool temps and shaded areas as possible. I was rewarded with some early morning animals, the orange hues of sunrise, and a pretty quiet trail. And great photos without people in them. Almost my own private tour. Down is easy to certain degree, no strain on the cardio and moving pretty fast but it does pound on your knees and ankles. The campsite after Indian garden has a stream and little muddy path, only mud I saw on the trail. The last leg of the trail in parts were covered with small clusters of rock. I had the entire plateau point to myself for a good 15-20 mins before others started to arrive. Enjoyed my break and my snacks. It was simply stunning. I also lucked out that it was still cloudy so it was cool and shady out there but if there is no cloud coverage you are exposed. I had no issues with the bugs or the birds, wondering if that’s because I left so early. I strolled my way back up, wasn’t in a hurry. The bathroom stops were clean. I will say the one by the campsite has a blow of cool air which you’re not expecting and can certainly take you by surprise. Lol. The trail was still pretty empty until I got back up to the 3 mile rest house (10am), then it started to get crowded and the sun came out from the clouds. Again glad I left early as I had most of my day on a cool and shaded path. The last 1.5 mile is where I felt the downward pound from earlier. My joints were tired. My cardio was find as I did stroll and in decent shape. You can do the trail without poles but I appreciated them as they gave me a little extra push and stability as I was trekking back up. I brought my 2L camelbak and a 20oz water bottle. I was fine and had water to spare when done. I also stayed hydrated the day before and I left early so I wasn’t gassed by the heat or sun. It is a hard hike but wow what an adventure.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

Wow. An incredible hike. Easy going down, long and slow coming up. I made a plan to not stop on the way up. Managed to only stop for electrolytes once. No water until the campsite down at the bottom so make sure you plan for that. Bring layers and sunscreen Top is cold. In the canyon is really hot. Bring salty snacks and electrolytes. Recommend poles if your knees aren’t great.

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