Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail, I can’t wait to climb this “corridor trail” out of the canyon. It’s the most commonly used trail and its trailhead is at the Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon Village. On my brief visit years ago, I had breakfast at the Lodge and wistfully walked a few yards down this wide, well maintained road, knowing that I had to turn around and go back in a few minutes.

Many hikers go down into the canyon on this trail and because of that it has several places where water and restrooms are located. There is a campground called Indian Gardens about 4.5 miles down. It was used first by the Havasupai Indians for accessing water at Garden Creek. Seasonally they stayed at Indian Gardens. The trail was widened and improved around 1890 and extended all the way to the Colorado River by Ralph Cameron. Wouldn’t you know, he started charging $1 per person to use the trail, plus more if needed water or using the outhouses.

What I wondered was why it was called Bright Angel? For a while it was called Cameron’s Trail for obvious reasons, but later he named it after Bright Angel creek and canyon. And those places got their names from the explorer John Wesley Powell. He thought the creek was delightfully pretty and clean, unlike one farther upriver called Dirty Devil. Yes, Dirty Devil and Bright Angel, makes perfect sense.

Bright Angel Trail is not quite as steep as the other trail we are using to go down into the canyon, but even so, it climbs more than 600 feet per mile on average. The total ascent will be 4,380 feet, about a 10% grade.

The Park Service does not recommend trying to hike down and back out in one day on this trail, especially in the busy summer season. In off seasons it has some cold and windy sections near the top of the south rim, and there might even be snow and ice. Many use it as a day hike to Indian Gardens which is quite do-able. It is rated as a moderately difficult hike and even though water is available I will carry my own as well.  

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

8 thoughts on “Bright Angel Trail

  1. My American great aunt used to send us beautiful children’s books each year and one I remember reading was about a mule called Brighty. I just googled and found on Wikipedia : I remember the book very fondly though not much of the details of the story. I do want to visit the Grand Canyon one day. I think it must be marvellous. In our National Gallery of Australia we have a terrific picture by David Hockney – the colours are so vivid – it is one of my favourites. I don’t think the colours when I look at the painting are quite as bright as on my screen but it is definitely vivid.
    I look forward to reading more offer preparations for your Grand Canyon Adventure.
    Thanks for visiting me on this challenge

    • Oh! I have ” Brighty of the Grand Canyon”! Its an old hard back copy that I read to my girls when they were children. Love it still. Thanks for reminding me of it. I hope you can visit someday.

  2. Visiting from the A-Z list today. Your pictures are lovely. Friends are visiting the Grand Canyon right now and the photos they’re sharing are stunning. I need a trip! Best of luck in writing your way through the alphabet.

  3. As much as I am looking forward to taking this trip down the Grand Canyon with you, I know that I could not even consider it in real life. Heights are such a problem for me. My head begins to spin at the thought of it. But I will enjoy it from my arm chair.

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