The Grand Canyon is a place I’ve been eager to get back to since my one-and-only visit as a teen. Like many people who visit the Grand Canyon, I went there with my parents, drove to an overlook, took a few pictures, and left. I’ve made a vow to get back there in my van sometime over this next fall/spring season, and the Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular day-hikes to get a taste for all that the Grand Canyon offers.
In this new post, Krysti Sabins – the gal behind Unboring Exploring – shares the details about the day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail, along with her fun trail vlog so you know exactly how to prepare and what to expect. I hope this inspires all of you to visit the Grand Canyon, and let us know if you have any questions! Cheers, Kristen
Day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden in Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
by Krysti Sabins of Unboring Exploring
Heading down into the belly of the Grand Canyon first thing in the morning is a wonderful experience…let me tell ya! Slanted sunlight illuminates the sparse sprinkling of vegetation as the polychromatic hues of the canyon present themselves to your eager eyes. Could it be any more enchanting?
When you visit the Grand Canyon this time of year (meaning fall and spring), there are many, many hiking opportunities, most of which require your descent into the canyon. The Bright Angel Trail is a day-hike fit for those looking to experience the varying layers of the canyon while getting a taste of the inner-canyon’s unique beauty without the requirement of an overnight stay. Overall, this is certainly one of the best hikes on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
— Bright Angel TRAIL STATISTICS —
— Getting to the trailhead —
If you camp at Mather Campground, there is a free park shuttle that will take you directly to the Bright Angel Trailhead.
For those visiting for the day or who prefer driving themselves, hikers can park at the Backcountry Information Center (parking lot D), a short walk from the Bright Angel Trailhead.
— Maps —
You can either purchase the Sky Terrain map of the Grand Canyon for an all-encompassing view of the park and its many diverse trails or head over to the visitor center for a short-form map.
— Guide to Day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail —
For anyone considering day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden, you must, must, MUST bring water and enough food to supply you for the 9-mile round-trip hike. The danger of this trail lies in its easygoing start. Unlike ascending a mountain where the difficulty is immediately apparent, this hike descends down into a canyon. That means the easy part comes first, fooling hikers into believing they can go farther and longer than they can actually manage in a day.
That being said, arrive at the trailhead before 8am with a Camelback full of water and plenty of salty foodstuffs, and you will be good to go.
Note: There is always water at the trailhead, and then along the trail seasonally from May-September, but not always guaranteed. Better to come prepared. If hiking off-season, bring a water filter to replenish your supply at Indian Garden.
A couple of other important things to consider is
Once you start hiking into the canyon, its varying pigments and innumerable layers are immediately apparent. The further down you go, the farther back in time you travel, with each rock layer being a different period in geological history!
I know, it’s very exciting.
For a complete visual guide to this hike, take a look at the video below. It is loaded with useful tips and tidbits and will help you have the best of times while traipsing this trail!
If you are looking for more information, the National Park Service has a Bright Angel Trail day hiking guide on their website that you can download.
— Recommended gear for the Day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail —
The main pieces of gear you’ll want for day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail include:
About the Author: Krysti is the creative force behind Unboring Exploring, a quirky hiking and nature video series that captures the essence of various national and state parks, refuges, and other natural areas. Through this, she aims to infuse others with a passion for the outdoors in the hopes that they, too, will explore our world’s natural wonders. Make sure to subscribe to her awesome YouTube channel for more trail inspiration.