Hiking the Bright Angel Trail


One of the most popular and beautiful hikes in the American southwest!

The Bright Angel Trail extends from South Rim Village of Grand Canyon National Park to Pipe Creek Beach. As the trail descends 5,000 feet to the river it passes through climate zones starting from the Ponderosa forests on the rim, through the Pinon-Juniper scrub, to the Sonoran Desert below. Each turn of the trail affords stunning vistas and numerous photo opportunities.

Upper Trip: hiking out of the canyon

You will finish the river portion of your adventure the morning the rafts reach Pipe Creek. This is about one mile downstream of Phantom Ranch. Your guides will provide a lunch spread from which you will prepare a pack lunch for the trail.

Here is where you start your journey back through geologic time. Ascending first through the ancient bedrock up through the progressively younger layers that you were introduced to on the river. You should plan to spend the night at the South Rim where you can find a bed, hot shower and one last sunset view from the rim!

Lower Trip: hiking into the canyon

Your plans will include spending the night prior to your river trip at the South Rim Village, Grand Canyon. An orientation meeting will be conducted the evening prior to your hike. The start of your hike is typically at first light which can range from 5 to 6:30a.m.

As you near the river, after passing the River Resthouse, the trail separates. The trail to the left leads directly to the river and Pipe Creek. As you walk to the river’s edge you will be greeted by our guides. Lunch will be served at approximately noon.

It’s strenuous!

The trail is approximately eight miles long (one mile vertical). This is a strenuous hike with a steep grade and occasional loose footing. Training for your hike is required.

If you are seriously overweight, over 50, have significant health issues, or have not been physically active prior to your hike, there is a potential for problems leading to your partial or complete incapacitation while on the trail, including death.

Evacuation from the trail is extremely difficult, and in many instances, impossible.
Helicopter evacuation from the Bright Angel Trail will only happen under the most extreme circumstances and is ultimately determined by National Park Service Rangers.

Please consult your primary care provider prior to your trip to ensure you are healthy enough for strenuous physical activity.

Optional Logistics

Mule Services 

Mules to carry your pack into or out of Phantom Ranch can be arranged. For those wanting out-bound pack mules plan an extra day at Phantom Ranch or the South Rim as packs won’t be available for pickup until the afternoon of the next day. Check out Grand Canyon Lodges for details. This is a third party service. If your ability to hike in or out of the canyon is contingent upon this service, we highly recommend a different trip type.

Overnight at Phantom Ranch

For those using pack mules (or if you just want to spend an extra day) you might want to stay at Phantom Ranch and complete your hike in the morning. These accommodations are fairly inexpensive. However, they can be difficult to get as there is high demand and the reservation process has transitioned to a lottery system. Contact Grand Canyon Lodges