Bright Angel Trail Hiking

One of the main trails descending down the South Rim, the Bright Angel Trail grants ever developing views of the canyon that are impossible to see from just the top all the while taking you down steep, seemingly unending switchbacks. The trail descends 4400 feet over 9.5 miles (if you’re going all the way to Phantom Ranch) and certainly deserves the strenuous rating.

While the trail is a grind to conquer, there are many smaller goals along the way you can aim for if you’re not looking to complete the full length. The Mile-and-a-Half Rest House and Three-Mile Rest House both provide seasonal water and aptly distanced goals if you only want a 3 or 6 mile hike respectively (remember, it’s only a mile-and-a-half or 3 miles to get down). That tempting patch of greenery you’ll see all the way down is Indian Gardens, a near perfect halfway point and a well shaded area for a well deserved rest and dipping your feet in the stream that runs through.

If you’re looking for the long haul though, this trail goes all the way to the Colorado River where bridges and the River Trail connect it to the North and South Kaibab. Backpackers can pitch their tents before this point at Indian Gardens, or they can do so across the river at the Bright Angel Campground; however, if you’re not looking to pack in full camping gear, we’d recommend reserving coveted overnight lodgings at Phantom Ranch so you can enjoy some time at the bottom of the canyon before coming back out.

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