Grand Canyon National Park
Bright Angel Trail
Strenuous 9.6 miles/15.4 km hike to the Inner Gorge and Phantom Ranch, with 4400 ft/1350 m descent. From the aptly named Trail View west of The Village you can see large portions of the trail, including the first 1.5 mile in the photo (left.) The first resthouse is just beyond the left edge. The right photo is taken at the switchback in the center of the left photo. The canyon soon starts showing its size.
|After another resthouse at 3 miles from the top, the trail descend sharply down the Redwall cliff and finally levels off near Indian Gardens (4.6 miles/3000ft down) meeting Tonto Trail. Do not venture beyond Plateau Point, easy 1.5mile ahead, without backcountry permit or reservations at Phantom Ranch another 3.5 miles ahead. Colorado River is 1.7 mile and 1400 ft down from the Plateau Pt.|
|South Kaibab Trail is even steeper than Bright Angel, with no water and exposure to the sun most of the way. It reaches Phantom Ranch in 7.2 miles, dropping 4800 ft to reach the river. A possible day-hike takes South Kaibab 4.4 miles/3260 ft down to the plateau, then Tonto trail west, returning via the Bright Angel trail. The trail starts near Yaki Point with a series of steep switchbacks down into a side canyon (left,) then levels off for a while (right.)|
|A long series of steps descends past Ooh-Aah Point with great views up and down the canyon (left) to Cedar Ridge. The trail follows the ridge for a while, eventually dropping down another series of switchbacks to the plateau and Tonto trail (right.) Shortly after the intersection you will see the suspension bridge crossing Colorado River on the way to Phantom Ranch. Do not attempt to stay there without reservations (call a year ahead!)|
|West Rim Trail, Mule Rides etc.|
|North Kaibab Trail: the longest, easiest trail to the bottom of GC follows a side canyon 14 mi /23 km down 6000 ft/1800 m to meet South Kaibab + Bright Angel Trails at Phantom Ranch.||Coconino Overlook less than a mile down (photo,) Supai Tunel (2mi) and Roaring Springs (5 mi/7.5 km and 3050ft / 930m down) are good day-hike destinations on this trail.|
Hiking down into the Grand Canyon even for a short distance provides much better appreciation for
the enormity and beauty of the canyon. It is strenuous, and the dangers should not be underestimated.
In summer the temperatures inside the canyon are 20°F higher than at the rim. Carry enough water and
follow the rangers' advice. Some trails - South Kaibab among them - have no water sources at all, and most
other sources are not reliable.
The best time is generally either Spring or Fall, when the weather is mild and the danger of thunderstorms is relatively low:
|At the South Rim:||Winter||Spring||Summer||Fall|
|Temperature, °F max||45||50-70||80||50-75|
|Temperature, °F min||15||25-40||45-55||25-45|
All the facilities at both Rims are operated by Xanterra, L.L.C. The North Rim lodge and campground are open only from May 15 until Oct.15. South Rim is opened year round, but some of the Amfac-operated lodges do close for a time in the winter.
South Rim (The Village) - reserve early:
***El Tovar Hotel ... on the rim, nice historical lodge, some small rooms.
* Bright Angel Lodge ... on the rim, rustic cabins + lodge rooms with shared bathrooms.
** Kachina Lodge ... on the rim, motel style
** Thunderbird Lodge ... on the rim, motel style.
** Yavapai Lodge ... 5 min. walk to the rim, near store.
Mather Campground ... 5 min. walk to the rim. Reserve early! (link below)
Phantom Ranch ... bottom of the canyon. Reserve min. 1 year ahead!!!
Tusayan (8 miles south)
***BW Grand Canyon Squire Inn
** Red Feather Lodge
* 7 Mile Lodge.
CLOSED: ** Moqui Lodge
Williams (56 miles south)
*** Best Western Inn of Williams
** Best Value Inn
** Mountain Side Inn & Resort
Flagstaff (80 miles south)
***Little America Hotel
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