Adventurer Of The West

Adventurer Of The West

Showing you the beauty of traveling through your 20's // #AdventurerOfTheWest

Indian Garden to Phantom Ranch via the Bright Angel Trail. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 

Part II of the Bright Angel Trail: 

The sound of our alarms didn’t even get us up for the second day inside Grand Canyon National Park, we were awoken by the first light of day and the heat that quickly followed. We had spent the night sleeping pretty soundly on our makeshift bed, and although it did get pretty warm and a bit windy during the evening, I really enjoyed sleeping under the stars. We definitely were happy to have left the tent in the car (it cuts off the extra weight to carry) and we honestly could’ve gone without sleeping bags.

               GETTING STARTED

By 5am the sun was completely up and so were we! We ate a quick breakfast of protein bars and granola and headed back on Bright Angel Trail in the 80+ degree weather. The trail took us through the remainder of the oasis, we said our goodbyes to the tall trees, lush bushes and beautiful flowers. As we left the vegetation behind, we lost shade and the temperatures rose by the minute. You want to make sure you top off any of your water sources before leaving Indian Garden because this is the last stop for fresh water until you reach Bright Angel Campground.             


phantom ranch to indian gardens

I got the opportunity to see so much beauty in this world around me during my last two weeks while traveling from California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. I am so excited to share my findings with you all and I appreciate you staying tuned to all of my latest adventures! 🙂 Catch me next week for the grueling 12 miles uphill, as I make my way out of the Grand Canyon.

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Ray's Retirement

Sunday, may 27, 2012, grand canyon - phantom ranch to indian gardens.

phantom ranch to indian gardens

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phantom ranch to indian gardens


Alerts in effect, backcountry trail distances, introduction to backcountry hiking brochure.

This brochure is for day and overnight inner canyon hikers. It has information about hiking the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails, as well as permit, planning, Leave No Trace, and Hike Smart information. It is distributed at park visitor centers and backcountry information centers. The web version of this publication (available below) is formatted to print on standard 8.5 x 11 letter-sized paper.

  • Backcountry Hiking Brochure (PDF file)

Tonto Trail Distances

Tonto Trail: This trail crosses the Tonto Platform approximately 3900 ft (1200 m) below the South Rim, intersecting both the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails.

For a table showing distances along the Tonto Trail view the following PDF file: Tonto Trail Distances .

Additional backcountry info can be found on the following webpages.

Last updated: August 17, 2023

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Contact info, mailing address:.

PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023


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Phantom Ranch via South Kaibab Trail, Skeleton Point, Bright Angel Trail and Indian Garden

Grand Canyon National Park. Colorado River. # Hike # Canyon # River # Forest # Nature

  • Distance : 19.0 mi
  • Elevation gain : 8,688 ft
  • Maximum elevation : 7,224 ft
  • Elevation loss : 9,016 ft
  • Minimum elevation : 2,418 ft

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Phantom Ranch via South Kaibab Trail, Skeleton Point, Bright Angel Trail and Indian Garden GPS track, route, trail

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From Phantom Ranch to the South rim. - Bright Angel Trail

  • United States    
  • Arizona (AZ)    
  • Grand Canyon National Park    
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Things to Do    
  • Bright Angel Trail

From Phantom Ranch to the South rim.

We hiked the Bright Angel Trail up from Phantom Ranch to the trailhead at the rim (going down we used South Kaibab Trail). It was a great experience. The trail is well marked and beautiful beyond description. It took us about 7 hours to walk up with some brief snack rest at Indian Garden and Three Mile stop, taking a lot of pictures and admiring the vistas. The trail has at least thee stops with water available for refilling but we always have our camels in backpacks filled as well. The portion of the trail from Indian Garden to the rim is considered the most strenuous due to intense hike up with multiple switchbacks especially in the section leading directly to the rim. The elevation difference is as follows 2480 ft/ 756 m at the Colorado River and 6860 ft /2091m at Bright Angel Trailhead. The hike between Bright Angel Campground to the trailhead is 9.3 miles /15km and of course it was longer distance from Phantom Ranch. Most hikers staying in Phantom Ranch choose to go down using South Kaibab Trail and up Bright Angel Trail. Overall it is an incredible experience creating beautiful memories for lifetime. Worth every bit of your sweaty effort. Emergency phones are available in a few locations on the trail.

phantom ranch to indian gardens

There are lots of signs that tell you NOT to go to the river and back on the same day. This scared me off quite a bit, so I changed my plan and hiked to the Plateau Point and back. At the visitors' center, I saw a sign which predicted 8-10 hours for this hike, but I did it in 5 1/2 hours. And I'm not a professional sportsman, believe me. So based on this experience, I will probably try to hike down to the river next time. The "official" hiking times seem to be way exaggerated. (On the other hand, I can understand this policy, since I saw some people beginning their hike who were obviously not fit enough to hike down the canyon.) The trail goes down and down until you reach Indian garden, and from there it is a rather flat (and therefore easy) walk to the Plateau Point, where you have a beautiful view of the Colorado river. I'd definitely recommend not to turn around at Indian garden, but to walk further to the Plateau Point. It's absolutely worth the (minor) additional effort! There are several water stations, but I didn't want to rely on them, so I carried 5 liters of water with me. Back on top again, I had 1 1/2 liters left, but I'd always recommend to take more with you than you will probably need. The hike back from Indian garden to the rim is strenuous, but I never came to the point where I asked myself what the heck am I doing here... It's just such a great experience to hike the Grand Canyon and not just drive from one viewpoint to the next.

We hiked from the river to the top through this trail. It gets really hot during the day so my suggestion would be to leave early and DON'T hike during the day when the sun is at all its glory. Invest/rent good hiking shoes and keep either water or purifier with you. Some of the water points were not working when we arrived at the rest houses.

We chose the Bright Angel trail for our accent out of the canyon although longer than the Kaibab trail it is less steep and offers such a different yet absolutely stunning array, always changing scenery. From the sandy trails on the bottom to the rocky ridges beyond that, the greenery and running waters of Indian gardens and the almost there views at the top. I was actually a bit sad after walking out.

This is one of those rare trails in the Canyon that can be as easy or hard as you'd like. They have multiple way points that let you choose when to stop. Each one is detailed and explained in distance and difficulty. ALWAYS bring extra water / food / gear. The weather can change rapidly, so layers are VERY important. Some day I'll do the entire trail, for now I choose not to push boundaries.

This trail will wear you down. Its the trail which starts at a very central spot on the south rim and is very accessible. If you descent it goes so easy and the views are so beautiful, that you tend to forget that every hour of descending equals two hours of ascending. Plus, when the sun starts hitting, you have one hell of a hike to complete! But surely do hik this trail, it wont dissapoint you!

Bright Angel Hiking Trail to Indian Gardens

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★★★★★ Difficult / Grand Canyon Area:

Even more world famous than the Kardashians, the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Hiking Trail is THE quintessential Arizona hike.  Descending 4.5-miles into one of the planet’s greatest wonders, this dayhike to Indian Gardens (the small, lush-green oasis just visible on the Canyon’s middle-plateau) is an experience of a lifetime, with views that will never go out of style. Sorry Kim!

TRAILHEAD:  kolb studio, grand canyon village   •    DIFFICULTY:   moderate inclines (but difficult due to temperatures and distance)   •   DISTANCE:  4.5 MILES (9 miles rt)   •   APPROX. TIME:   8-10  HOURS RT    •  ELEVATION GAIN :  3,060 FEET (219 STORIES)   •   APPROX. CALORIES BURNED:  1,350-1,530 RT  •   BEST TIME OF YEAR:  SEPT.-Oct. and Apr.-MAY   •   PETS:  no   •   KID FRIENDLY:  10 and over (with endurance)   •   FACILITIES:   YES  •  FEES:  $25 daily vehicle pass (includes all occupants), or $12 individual walk-in pass, or $85 annual national Park pass

Landscape, Arizona, Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Hiking Trail

Between the 1.5-mile and three-mile rest stations , longer stretches fluctuate with shorter  switchbacks – carving their way further down the canyon side. Passing the three-mile rest area a series of (seemingly non-stop) hair-pin turns zigzag down a deep slope alongside the canyon’s immense, concave Battleship cliff . From the base, it is astonishing to find that the upper rim is no longer visible beneath this soaring precipice.

Landscape,Switchbacks, Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Hiking Trail, Northern Arizona

Total Nerdery

The canyon went by the meh name Big Canyon until 1871, when explorer John Powell smartly coined it Grand Canyon. At  277 miles long, 18 miles wide (at its widest point) and more than a mile deep the canyon started forming over 17 million years ago.

Click here to download a trail map.

Directions  From the intersection of I-17 and I-40 in Flagstaff, head west on I-40 for 29.3 miles to exit 165/AZ-64. Turn right/north on AZ-64 and drive 55.8 miles to Grand Canyon City. The trailhead for the Bright Angel Trail is located behind the Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon City.

  • Canyon, Creek, Dayhike, Grand Canyon, Long, Switchbacks
  • April 11, 2015

4 Responses to Bright Angel Hiking Trail to Indian Gardens

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We hiked Bright Angel Trail down to Plateau Point last week. It was wonderful!! Took us 10 hours RT, and that included lengthy 10-15 minute potty/water/snack breaks at the 1.5 and 3 mile houses, Indian Gardens and Plateau Point. That also included an hour long lunch back at Indian Gardens. We had a handful of 13-15 year olds with us, who stayed ahead of the adults the entire time and none of them them had any significant hiking under their belts either, but we’re all relatively in decent shape and motivated.

We filled up at each station. Even in October, you need to do this; top it off no matter what. I learned that having 2 hiking poles will make the world of difference. They help slow you down and decrease knee impact going down. You’ll definitely need them going back up.The most difficult part of this 12 mile trip was the last 1.5 miles. Legs were burning and I could really feel the altitude.

I saw people who had no business on the trail. Some kids from ASU haphazardly decided to hike to Indian Gardens with a box meal of chicken and abottle of water. One girl with a heavy African accent was in dress shoes and didn’t have any water at all. I yelled at her for short cutting the trail and climbing through some drainage spots. She dropped her trash off along the way, which is interesting since this is a pack it out trail. I saw her with it a mile earlier. I suspect she threw it in the toilet or littered on the trail, both of which are wrong. I told her she had no business on this trail and she needed to hurry up and get to the top and drink water. There were lots of other people on the trail in flip flops or who also didn’t have water. I don’t have sympathy for those who tempt Darwin in giving them an award.

They should post signs on every trail that read if you do not have these basic items, then you aren’t allowed on the trail. I don’t think people understand that if you need to be rescued from that trail, you get to pay for that rescue. It’s all over Grand Canyon’s hiking trail and backcountry webpage.

Oh and, park access fees are now $30 a vehicle for 2015.

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So glad that you had a good (and trail safe) hike with your group. Thank you also for the updated parking information. People should definitely not attempt this hike without ample ability, water and time!

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Is there a permit required to hike this ?

No permit required to hike. If you camp at Indian Gardens you would need a reservation. It is a wonderful hike.

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