Hike Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trailhead

You'll witness possibly the most mind blowing sunsets you'll ever see. Get the opportunity to view the Grand Canyon from the inside looking out, not to mention, you'll be getting great exercise.

Start off at Bright Angel Trailhead, then hike down into the Grand Canyon on one of the higher-quality trails. Hiking down to Plateau Point (furthest option) is well worth it.

The hike down is a total of 6 miles, with a 3,000 foot drop in elevation. As you can imagine, this means the way back out will be a little more challenging. The first 4 miles take you to the base of the canyon and the following 2 miles will lead you past Mather Campground to a scenic overlook of the Colorado River -- remember to bring your hat as this area is exposed. In fact, the whole 2 miles at the bottom is exposed and can reach temperatures up in the 100s (even in May). The water spickets are approximately every 1.5 miles, so plan accordingly.

The trip has several spots to get water and a couple bathroom stops on the way down. This trail is not very technical, but can be pretty challenging on the way down and back up. There are rescues every year for folks who don't factor in the difficulty that can be brought on due to the weather. Make sure you do your research and bring adequate supplies (water, shade, food).

If you want to stay overnight and make this an early or late day hike, there are sites available at Mather Campground.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Two water bottles
  • Some snack bars
  • Camera
  • Extra clothes (in case of a temperature drop)
  • Hat and sunglasses
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RT Distance 12 Miles
Elevation Gain 3000 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Magic in the canyons

Hiking this trail feels like a dream. You are quite literally hiking on the edge of an epic canyon. The earthy hues of the canyon seem to get more vibrant as you make your descent as you become a part of the canyon itself. The path can get quite narrow; wear proper footwear and sunscreen and bring a substantial amount of water and snacks. To soak in all the magic, pack a sack lunch to allow your eyes to settle on the views before you make your way back.

Wow factor

One of the best day hikes offered in the park. We stayed at Mather Campground and used the park's free shuttle service to get to Bright Angel trailhead. There are rest houses with shade and bathrooms every 1.5 miles down the trail. Some of the rest houses will also have water pumps available, depending on time of year. You pass through Indian Garden Campground on mile 4.5 which provides water and access to a ranger station. Plateau Point offers amazing views of the Colorado River that brought tears to all of our eyes.

Great Day Adventure

Three of my friends went here for spring break in March. It's a beautiful mix of snow and warm afternoons. We wove down to Indian Creek, then all the way out to see the river. It started off chilly, but once we arrive in the "valley" the sun beat on our skin and we set out to see the Colorado River in full stride (it's pretty flat here). It's weird starting with a descent to turn around and climb. Easy trip to get into the canyon if you only have a day or so. Made it back just in time to see the sunset. Be aware of the climate changes. You'll start off shaded and cool but it will warm up as you get lower. Bring sunscreen and lots of water. Crampons were super helpful as well as we walked on some snowy/icy parts in the beginning. For the hardcore folks- great trail to run! My friend loves to run so she would run up a ways and wait for us all to catch up. It's a wider path with great views the whole way.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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