Hike Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail
Arizona › Bright Angel Trailhead
Added by John Stambaugh
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.
- Two water bottles
- Some snack bars
- Extra clothes (in case of a temperature drop)
- Hat and sunglasses
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Camping, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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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.
We hiked down to the Indian gardens camp site and then spent the night there. Then woke up early and watched the sunrise down at the Colorado river. The hike back to the top was hard with all the gear but worth it. We did see a large rattle snake at the camp site so I would be careful of those.
I hiked down Bright Angel (to one of the resthouses) and back up one morning. I started in the dark and as the sun rose, the canyon flooded with light. Every twist and turn gave me a different view. As with any view inside the park, the way the light changes the colors is magical.
Great vistas of the canyon!
Great trail that winds down into the canyon. The views are breathtaking. It is a well-traveled trail so expect some company. Great hike to do if you are short on time because you can make it as short or long as you prefer.
By starting over on the north rim and spending 2-3 nights hiking the 30 miles to the south rim and up Bright Angel allows you to truly see the beauty and diversity the canyon has to offer! And yes, 3am wake-up calls are an absolute must to beat the heat on the trail. Such a must-do.
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