Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail

We decided to hike out of Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail as it is the canyon's easiest trail connecting its bottom and rim. It is well maintained, at regular intervals it has taps with drinking water, and there is even a ranger station located at the trail’s halfway point.

It takes 9.6 miles (15.5 km) and 4'320 feet (1'137 m) to get from Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon to the canyon's rim. It is a distance that certainly could be covered during one day, but we decided to split it into two. We figured that it would be more enjoyable and less exhausting that way.

During the first day we hiked 4.7 miles (7.6 km) and, in a result, got 1320 feet (404 m) closer to the rim of the canyon. It took us only around 3-3.5h to cover this distance, so after setting up the camp and resting for a bit, we decided to catch a sunset at Plateau Point.

On the second day we needed to hike remaining 4.9 miles (7.9 km) and more than twice as much in the elevation change (3060 feet/933 m) as on the previous day. That was definitely the most physically exhausting day of our trip. Still, all of us did very well and we kept a good speed. (It took us 4h to cover this distance, which I think is pretty decent taking into account the elevation change and that we carried heavy backpacks.)

The hike starts with a river crossing:

The view of Grand Canyon from the trail:

Near Indian Garden we got lucky and saw several Californian Condors:

Indian Garden is located in a beautiful green valley:

On the second day the trail was much steeper:

The hikers share the trail with the mules:

The last glimpse of Grand Canyon: