Plateau Point Trail via Bright Angel Trail

HARD 207 reviews
#10 of 99 trails in

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
14 days ago

Just under 5 hours. Very hot

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

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.

hiking
muddy
2 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
2 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.

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 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.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome day hike with amazing views! Hiked it 4/6. Water at IG was enough for 2.5L hydration pack. Windy out on the point. Aggressive ravens and ground squirrels even out there. Between them and the wind you have to keep track of your snacks and trash.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Hiked 4/8/19. Need to know: No water until the 4.5 mile mark - water is off at the 1.5 and 3 mile rest homes. Contrary to earlier reports & a sign posted at the trail head - as of today there’s no ice on the trail and there’s only one short muddy section near a stream crossing on the way to the plateau. Tons of bees in the bushes that line the trail for a whole 2 mile segment. I haven’t seen this mentioned in reviews but as someone who is allergic it made me a bit wary. Also, tons of flying blue beetles zipping around the trail. No big deal but kind of annoying - you can be a vegetarian on this hike or you can be a mouth breather on this hike, but you can’t be both. This hike is really something. I haven’t felt this excited or inspired by a trail in a long time. There’s something really life affirming about hiking such an iconic place, especially in relative solitude as the trail bears on. If you hit the 4.5 mile mark it is absolutely worth it to go another 1.5 to plateau point. I’m not sure how to describe it because the view at the end really left me speechless. Overall a challenge but completely worth it. Bring sunscreen and layers, and plan ahead to stay fueled and hydrated.

hiking
3 months ago

Finished this trail down and back in 4hrs and 50 minutes. The trail was amazing and truly got more Beautiful as you descended! Definitely worth it to go down!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike down from rim. Saw adolescent condor at Plateau Point. Tough hike back up...

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
4 months ago

This was a very worth-it trail! Definitely difficult, need good hiking boots, poles, and snacks! I took my 12 year old and we made it to plateau point and back in about 9 hours. I recommend dressing in layers because at this time there was cold wind, ice, slush, snow at the top and it was hot at the bottom. Overall we enjoyed the journey and the view was beautiful

muddy
snow
4 months ago

Going to the plateau is definitely worth it! However, it is a challenge. Absolutely recommend crampons for getting into the canyon as there was a long stretch of snow and ice. I started at 7am and traffic was minimal. Took 7 hours approximately with a quick stop for lunch on the plateau.

4 months ago

Great trail with amazing views. Best view of the river from the entire park - can hear the rapids below. Started around 1230 and got back up around 745. Spent 30-45 min at the point to eat and hang out. Trail is in great condition. Once you past the 3 mile rest stop, way less people and the path becomes very easy (very few switchbacks). Would highly recommend microspikes for the top 0.7 miles. Lots of people slipping and sliding with running shoes on. Used about 4L of water total (I drink a lot). The water refill station at Indian Gardens worked. Wear lots of layers, totally different temperatures at the top vs bottom

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

We hiked this on 3/10. This is a long hike but the views from the plateau are well worth it. In my opinion the views from the checkpoints aren’t that different and it wouldn’t be worth it to go past the first checkpoint if you don’t plan on going all the way down. We started around 8am, got to the plateau at 10:20, ate lunch and started the hike back at 11. We got back to the top at 2:30pm. Overall hiking time was just under 6 hours. Trail conditions were good most of the way but there was some patchy ice for the first half mile or so in the shaded spots. We were on the trail early so going down the ice wasn’t too bad but many people were struggling later in the afternoon on our way back up. Bring spikes - we didn’t end up using them (because we had poles) but many other people were. Wear layers, it’s much warmer down below. We chose not to go all the way down to the river but some people we met said the views from the plateau are better.

hiking
4 months ago

Humbling, awe inspiring and unbelievable. Took us about 6 hours roundtrip with a lunch while our feet dangled off the cliff. This is a workout in every sense of the word. Highly recommend, and can't wait to do it again soon.

hiking
muddy
snow
4 months ago

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