The trail is modern and gently graded, but the route itself is centuries old. Long before white settlers arrived at Grand Canyon, Havasu Indians used this route to reach the verdant springs located far below.
From the trailhead in Grand Canyon Village, you’ll follow a path that curves along the topmost layers of limestone rock. Pinyon and juniper pines dominate near the rim. Next, a series of closely spaced switchbacks take you beneath the Coconino Sandstone. When viewed from afar, this thick layer of sandstone forms a distinctive white band near the canyon’s rim. Elsewhere in the canyon, the Coconino Sandstone forms steep cliffs that can impede travel. But thanks to the Bright Angel Fault, a sloping hillside affords excellent views of the cliffs you pass through.
Although this trail lacks the wide-open, up- and down-river panoramas afforded by the South Kaibab Trail, the scenery is nothing to scoff at. On a clear day — and most days at Grand Canyon are clear — you’ll be treated to beautiful, cliff-framed views that stretch all the way out to the distant North Rim.
Beneath the white sandstone cliffs, the trail descends through alternating layers of mudstone and sandstone. These distinctive red rocks represent millions of years of earth’s history. From this vantage point, the true scale of Grand Canyon becomes apparent. Rest houses located at the trail’s mile-and-a-half and three-mile points make excellent — not to mention shaded — rest stops and turnaround points.
Ready to hike the Bright Angel Trail? Reserve your trip using the form below the photo gallery, or send us an email.