Bright Angel Loop

Bright Angel Loop Backpacking Trip

This is the classic Grand Canyon backpacking adventure. Most hikers will start from the South Kaibab trail and descend through 1.7 billion years of geologic history on a trail built for its expansive vistas. Kaibab is the Paiute Indian word for the Grand Canyon, and translated means "mountain turned upside down".  The South Kaibab .  Along the way you'll pass through nearly all of Arizona life zones, experiencing a perspective of the Canyon unattainable from the Rim.  Once you reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you'll use a suspension bridge to cross the mighty Colorado River, and make your way to the historic Bright Angel Campground. Once you've arrived at Bright Angel Campground, you'll set up camp along the Bright Angel Creek where you can relax and enjoy your camp for the evening. Read the guide below to learn more.

Bright Angel Loop Details and Description

After a night under the stars, your hike will take you along the Colorado River, before climbing the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens Campground. Early morning on this part of the trail is a great opportunity to spot a bighorn sheep, and enjoy the morning light on the Canyon Walls.  Ancient ruins, a hike to Plateau Point, and camping in a beautiful grove of Cottonwoods are all highlights of Indian Gardens. Day three will put you back on the Bright Angel trail. Your hike back to the rim of the Grand Canyon is a great opportunity to reflect on your journey, and observe the work of the Havasupai Indians who built the BA, and created the beautiful pictographs you'll view along the way.

Popular 3 Day Bright Angel Loop Itinerary

Day One:

Head out to the South Kaibab trailhead, and make your way down the awesome Kaibab, en route to the Bright Angel Campground. 

Day Two:

Have a good breakfast, before the hike halfway up the Bright Angel Trail to your campsite at Indian Gardens Campground, and an optional hike to Plateau Point.

Day Three:

Get an early start for your trek back to the South Rim passing ancient pictographs and amazing views.

Bright Angel Loop FAQ’s

What are the specifications of the trip? 

Number of Days: 3-5

Distance: 17mi/27km (not including day hikes)

Elevation Change: 4380ft/1335m

Trip Dates: Spring and Fall

Difficulty (1 easy-10 extreme): 7

Are there any age or physical fitness requirements?

 Age and physical fitness depends on both the trip, and the individual going on the trip. Even within a specific destination, trip length, time of year, weather, and means of transportation have a large impact. We have many different options, and can find an adventure that’s safe and enjoyable for you and your group. 

What facilities will be available?

Camping- Campsite, Flush Toilets (at Bright Angel), Pit Toilets (at Indian Gardens), Drinking Water, Cantina (at Bright Angel)

When is the best time of year to book a trip?

Spring and Fall

How soon should I book my trip?

Five months’ in advance the day permits open for your dates is advised due to limited permit availability.  Permits for this hike are not guaranteed due to NPS regulations.

Are there any limits on group size?

The group size limit for a Rim to Rim is 11 people due to park service restrictions. 

What should I bring?

Click on our Grand Canyon Hikes page to learn more abut trip planning


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