Here. Plan to park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and ride the Village Route Shuttle bus to the Hermits Rest Route Transfer stop or park at the back county information center and walk to the trailhead.
Description of Trail: The Bright Angel Trail follows the Bright Angel Fault down Garden Creek Canyon on a very well maintained hiking trail. The Bright Angel Trail follows a north facing wall that can accumulate snow and ice during the colder months of the year, becoming potentially treacherous in snow and ice conditions. Water is available at the trailhead. During the summer months there is potable drinking water at Bright Angel Campground, Indian Garden Campground, Three-Mile Resthouse, and Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse. From mid-October to early May, water is only available at Bright Angel Campground and Indian Garden. There is never potable water available at the River Resthouse. Please note that, due to occasional pipeline breaks, potable water is not guaranteed: bringing an alternative form of water treatment, such as iodine tablets or a water filter, is essential. The south rim trailhead sits at an elevation of 6,860 feet and the trail travels a total of 9.5 miles one way to the bottom of the canyon at the Bright Angel Campground sitting at 2,480 feet. Here is a better location of mile stones to make your trip shorter for day hikes.
South Rim Trailhead (6860 ft / 2093 m) to Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse (5729 ft / 1748 m, and 1.5 mile hike): Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse (5729 ft / 1748 m) to Three-Mile Resthouse (4748 ft / 144 9m, and an additional 1.5 miles): Three-Mile Resthouse (4748 ft / 1449 m) to Indian Garden (3800 ft / 1160 m, and an additional 1.7 miles): Indian Garden (3800 ft / 1160 m) to River Resthouse (2480 ft / 756 m), and an additional 3.3 miles): River Resthouse (2480 ft / 756 m) to Bright Angel Campground (2480 ft / 756 m, and an additional 1.5 miles):
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed our short day hike along a portion of the Bright Angel Trail. There was snow and ice on certain sections of the trail when we hiked in February. We made it down to the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse which was a great location to turn around for those only looking for a shorter moderate day hike. This hiking trail offers stunning views of the Grand Canyon and allows you to observe and see firsthand all the geological changes in the Grand Canyon. The Bright Angel Trail offers wonderful views all along the trail making it very easy to lose track of how far down you have hiked. Additionally, the steepness of the trail is very misleading on the way down. Plan on taking twice as long to hike up as it took to hike down.
Along the Bright Angel Trail, the only campgrounds are at Indian Garden (CIG) and Bright Angel Campground (CBG). At-large camping is not permitted on Corridor Trails; visitors must camp in designated campgrounds. It is not recommended to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially May to September. During the warm summer months temperatures in the bottom of the canyon can soar well above 100 degrees. Additionally, there is limited shade along much of the trail. The water in the Colorado River released from Glen Canyon Dam stays a fairly consistent, from 46 to 50 degrees as it passes through the park. Please note a day hike from the rim and back is extremely strenuous and should only be undertaken by hikers in excellent physical shape with the proper gear. For a great photo journey of the entire Bright Angel Trail check out Arizona Wanderings.
Time to Complete Hike: South Rim Trailhead to Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse: 2 - 4 hours. South Rim Trailhead to Three Mile Resthouse: 4 - 6 hours. South Rim Trailhead to Indian Garden: 6 - 9 hours. South Rim Trailhead to River Resthouse: 10 - 12 hours. South Rim Trailhead to Bright Angel Campground: 11 - 13 hours.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Bright Angel Trail (This Post)
Grand Canyon Rim Trail
View Bright Angel Trail (Grand Canyon National Park) in a larger map