Bright Angel Trail.. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Oct 26, 2017
Bright Angel Trail is an amazing trail into the Grand Canyon. You can hike down as far as you prefer and turn around at any time. However don't let the descent make you think it'll be an easy hike back up. Plan your day before sunrise to start heading back before the afternoon heat. The first rest stop and water is about 1.5 miles, the second rest stop and water is around 3 miles. Indian Garden is the next stop around 4.5 miles. The final stop is the Colorado River at around 7-8 miles depending on your route.


I set out focusing on photography, so I did not really have a plan on a turnaround point. The hike down was very easy and enjoyable. The smoke from all the wildfires in the west made photography a challenge. There were times where you could not see across the canyon or even below you. The trail has two tunnels. My plan was to be at the second tunnel (.75 miles) for a sunrise shot. But I ran into a herd of big horn sheep at the first tunnel (.18 miles). This one was pretty interested in my camera and posed for a while till I scooted it off the trail and hurried to the second tunnel.


I made it to the second tunnel and got my camera setup as the sun was already above the east rim. I was worried about all the smoke in the area but got some good pictures.



While watching the sun light up the canyon below the heat suddenly hits you. Moving down the canyon the heat only gets more intense. But as you enter deeper into the canyon the varying of pigments and innumerable layers become more apparent.



I was worried about all the smoke in the area but it created some interesting shots; almost like working with fog.


I was amazed by the wildlife while on this hike from deer, big horn sheep, lizards, and squirrels. Even the squirrels are hot; this guy was trying to cool off on a rock that was in the shade. We shared the relief of a shady spot and a snack together.


At the 3 mile mark is a nice rest house with a bathroom and water. These people had the right idea with mules and horses.


I decided the heat was too much so I started back up the canyon. I’m glad I turned around at this point. The heat and the heavy camera equipment made for a long slow hike back up. While going back up I ran into a Ranger sitting in the shade off the trail. He noticed my camera gear and told me about this nice panel with petroglyphs with what looks to be deer.


Many of the overlooks at the Grand Canyon offer spectacular vistas, but it’s not till you get down in the canyon where you’re instantly rewarded with a unique perspective. I look forward to returning and doing this trail again. Next time will be a back country trip to the Colorado River with a stay in a back country campsites. I don’t think I would do a summer hike either; too hot for this mountain boy.



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You are right! The smoke added a lot of interest. Those are actually my favorite from this report.

Thanks for sharing!
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