The Bright Angel Trail

My son and I hiked down into the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.  We only went about a half mile down the trail but the experience was amazing.  It was a series of switchbacks that went down the canyon wall.  They were narrow at first but quickly became broad enough for people to pass by each other with ease.  Bright Angel is one of a couple trails that descend from the South Rim near the Grand Canyon Village.  It leads down to Indian Garden and can be taken across to the North Rim.  You can find details in this National Park Service publication.

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I was in a constant state of awe.  It was our first time at the Grand Canyon and the size and majesty is simply amazing.  My son was more focused on finding lizards and squirrels but hey, that’s what young men are into!  The trails were heavily travelled and very well maintained.  While there were drop offs on the edge of the switchbacks, it wasn’t all that daunting.  It was amazing to traverse down and see different angles of the surrounding landscape.  The views from the rim are always wide and grand.  Distance becomes immeasurable and it is more like looking at a painting of a landscape than an actual landscape.  Your focus is so far in the distance and, unless you’re willing to go right to the edge and look down, you can’t tie that distance into the ground beneath your feet.  Walking down the canyon wall is very different.  You can see off into the distance – the same great views as from the rim.  But you can also feel the canyon under your boots and above your head.  You can round corners and see entirely different landscapes – much more so than simply looking left and right from the rim.  Hard to explain but I strongly recommend hiking down in, even if it’s only for a little bit.

I bought a couple maps at the gift shop and will definitely be back.  I would like to come back for a 3 day or so backpacking trip.  Getting down to the base of the canyon is something I now need to do.  I believe that the perspective from the floor back up to the rim will be amazing!  Hopefully the little man will come with me.

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