Bright Angel Trail

Tough love hiking

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Lace your shoes tight and start before dawn if you want to see the canyon from the inside out. Indians who lived at the springs used the historic trail down Bright Angel Fault for over 1,000 years before they were displaced when the park was formed. Steep, murderous switchbacks lead 9.6 miles to Phantom Ranch at the river. For a strenuous day hike, trek 4.6 miles to Indian Garden (3,195 ft. elev. change) and continue 1.5 miles to Plateau Point for incredible views of the inner gorge. Indian Garden Campground has a ranger station, emergency phone, year-round potable water, and toilets. Water is normally available May-Sept. at the 1.5- and 3-mile resthouses, but take your own, 16 oz./hr. in the summer when temps exceed 100 F. at the river. Backpackers plan 4-6 hours descent to the river, twice that to return. For many, this hike is the most rigorous physical test of their lives.

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