January 5, 2013

Hike Review: Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park



Bright Angel Trail Sign at Indian Gardens

Location: Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Distance: 4.7 to Indian Gardens or 9.5 to Bright Angel Campground
Difficulty: Challenging
Elevation Change: Rim (6860'); Indian Gardens (3800'); River (2400') 
Time of Year Best: late September to May
Recommended Map: Grand Canyon National Park. Bright Angel Canyon and North/South Rim #261 (Trails Illustrated)
Group Picture at Bright Angel Trail-head

Bright Angel Trail 
In November, we hiked up the Bright Angel Trail from Indian Gardens Campground to complete the loop that started with the Hermit Trail and Tonto Trail.  We arrived at a very busy Indian Gardens in the late afternoon, camped, and departed early the next morning.  From India Garden Camp to the Bright Angel trail-head is a very tough 4.7 mile climb offering breathtaking views and breathless cardio.  In December of 2009, I hiked the entire Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail.

If you are climbing the entire 9.5 mile (19 miles round trip) route, rim to river, I highly recommend that you reserve a spot at the Bright Angel or Indian Gardens Camps.  Even with an early start, hiking the entire canyon, top to bottom, makes for a long day with little time to enjoy the canyon as it should be enjoyed.  Both Bright Angel and Indian Gardens Camps are very popular and reservations usually need to be made months in advance.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments.  Enjoy the pictures
Bright Angel Sunrise
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Bright Angel Mule Warning