Mountain climbing the Vivid Angel Path within the Grand Canyon – Bearfoot Idea

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The Grand Canyon is among the most-visited Nationwide Parks in america, however solely about 1% of holiday makers really go beneath the rim. If you wish to expertise the Grand Canyon from beneath, the Vivid Angel Path is among the greatest – and hottest – day hikes and an excellent entry level for first-time guests to this superb Nationwide Park.

On this submit, we share every thing it is advisable learn about doing a day hike on the Vivid Angel Path so you know the way to arrange and what to anticipate.

Vivid Angel Path Fundamentals

These stats are for the Vivid Angel Path to Indian Backyard. The path does proceed on previous Indian Backyard all the best way right down to the Colorado River, however it is advisable be ready with plenty of water, solar safety, and meals. Don’t hike previous Indian Backyard in the summertime when temps are usually 100F+.

  • Issue: Strenuous
  • Path Sort: Out-and-back
  • Size: 8.9 miles
  • Beginning Elevation: 6,860 ft.
  • Minimal Elevation: 3,800 ft
  • Complete elevation achieve: 3,034 ft
  • Canines allowed: No
  • Time: 5-6 hours, when taking ample breaks
  • Allow required: No
Bright Angel Trail Map
Supply: Grand Canyon Conservancy

Greatest Time of Yr to Hike the Vivid Angel Path

Fall and spring are one of the best occasions of yr to go to the Grand Canyon and hike the Vivid Angel Path. Temperatures are cooler and crowds are usually smaller (though the Grand Canyon is rarely quiet).

I don’t advocate climbing the Vivid Angel Path in the summertime as temperatures can simply high 100 levels and climbing in these situations may be harmful. The path has little or no shade and climbing in the summertime can result in warmth exhaustion.

Winter will also be an excellent time to go to if you happen to’re dressed for cold climate and verify the forecast for snow and rain.

Views out over the Grand Canyon National Park with a dusting of snow
The Grand Canyon is gorgeous with a dusting of snow

Attending to the Trailhead

The Vivid Angel Trailhead is situated on the South Rim simply west of the Vivid Angel Lodge within the Grand Canyon Village.

For those who’re staying within the park, the free blue-line park shuttle stops immediately on the trailhead.

For these visiting for the day or preferring driving themselves, hikers can park on the Backcountry Data Middle (parking zone D), a brief stroll from the Vivid Angel Trailhead.

A Temporary Historical past

The Vivid Angel Path has been used for a whole lot of years as a approach to entry water at Indian Gardens. It’s named for the Vivid Angel Fault, which offers a jagged break within the shear cliff partitions that in any other case stop entry right down to the canyon ground.

Within the 1800s, gold prospectors arrived within the space and located the native Havasupai already utilizing the route from the rim to the canyon ground the place they planted crops close to Indian Creek.

View of Bright Angel Trail from above with Grand Canyon landscape in background
The view of the Vivid Angel Path from above

Within the Eighteen Nineties, miner and entrepreneur Ralph Cameron realized that with the arrival of the railroad to the Grand Canyon, tourism was going to be a much bigger enterprise than mining. He ‘registered’ the Vivid Angel Path and made enhancements to the route. He additionally arrange a campground at Indian Backyard and charged guests $1 to make use of the path.

Cameron fought to maintain his declare on this space even after the Grand Canyon was designated a Nationwide Park in 1919. He misplaced the battle in 1928 and was pressured handy over the path and campground to the Parks Service.

The native Havasupai have been those who misplaced essentially the most, although. They have been ordered to go away by Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. Those that stayed have been finally pushed out in 1928 and compelled onto a reservation in Havasu Canyon.

In 1975, after many negotiations, the federal government created the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which is taken into account essentially the most distant group within the decrease 48 States. It’s additionally the place guests can expertise the unimaginable Havasu Falls.

Path Milestones

The Vivid Angel Path can simply be damaged down into smaller chunks or milestones. For those who plan on climbing all the best way to Indian Backyard, these milestones might help you gauge distance in addition to allow you to preserve tabs on the way you’re doing with water.

1st Switchback – Mile 0.5

The primary switchback is the beginning of a collection of switchbacks that descend down the canyon partitions of Grand Canyon Nationwide Park. From right here, the path loses fairly a little bit of elevation in a short time. There are additionally steep drop-offs on the facet of the path, so individuals who don’t like publicity might need to cease right here.

View of Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Trail
There’s main publicity on some sections of the Vivid Angel Path

1.5 Mile Resthouse – Mile 1.5

The 1.5 Mile Resthouse is a fundamental stone construction with no facilities (seasonal water could also be out there). It gives nice views out over the Canyon and is a good turn-around spot if you need a shorter hike.

3 Mile Resthouse – Mile 3

A second resthouse is situated at mile three. Once more, there aren’t any facilities other than seasonal water on the three-mile resthouse. The path will get even steeper from right here, so this can be a good place to show round if you happen to’re frightened concerning the hike again up.

Indian Backyard

Indian Backyard is just a little oasis within the Grand Canyon desert panorama. A perennial creek runs by way of this space, which offered water for Native Individuals who lived within the canyon for 1000’s of years. At this time, Indian Gardens is dwelling to a ranger station, a small guests middle, and the Indian Backyard Campground (also referred to as the Havasupai Backyard Campground).

If you wish to spend the evening, you’ll have to safe a hard-to-get in a single day tenting allow earlier than your hike.

Plateau Level

A couple of mile and a half previous Indian Gardens through Plateau Level path is Plateau Level, a powerful overlook down onto the Colorado River. For those who do that as a day hike, Plateau Level is 12 miles spherical journey with 3,740 ft of elevation achieve. It’s really helpful to solely do that hike through the cooler spring, fall, and winter months.

The Vivid Angel Path continues on previous Indian Gardens right down to the Colorado River the place hikers can cross the river over the Vivid Angel Suspension Bridge. Throughout the river, the path turns into the North Kaibob Path, which continues on to Vivid Angel Campground, Phantom Ranch (a country lodge), and finally the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Suggestions For Mountain climbing the Vivid Angel Path

Be ready

For anybody contemplating climbing the Vivid Angel Path to Indian Backyard, you have to, should, MUST convey water and sufficient meals to provide you for the 9-mile round-trip hike. The path is uncovered so even be ready with satisfactory solar safety.

The hazard of this path lies in its easygoing begin. In contrast to ascending a mountain the place the issue is instantly obvious, this hike descends down right into a canyon. Meaning the simple half comes first, fooling hikers into believing they will go farther and longer than they will really handle in a day.

Arrive on the trailhead earlier than 8am with a hydration day pack filled with water and loads of salty snacks.

Hiker on Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

Know your water sources

There’s at all times water out there on the Vivid Angel trailhead. There might be alongside the path seasonally from Might-September, however water shouldn’t be at all times assured. It’s higher to come back absolutely ready with a minimum of 3 liters of water per individual. There’s a river that runs by way of Indian Gardens so we additionally advocate packing a light-weight water filter simply in case.

The chart beneath reveals the place water could also be out there seasonally:

Chart showing mileage, elevation stats, and water availability on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon
Supply: Nationwide Park Service

Observe good path etiquette

Please keep in mind that uphill hikers have the appropriate of approach.

You additionally might even see mule visitors. If a bunch of mules is closing in on you, the park service advises you to step off the path on the uphill facet away from the sting, observe the path of the wrangler, stay quiet and nonetheless, and don’t return to the path till the final mule is 50 ft (15 meters) previous your place. Primarily, give the mules house, and everybody shall be secure and completely happy.

>> Learn subsequent: Path Etiquette 101

Train of mules descending steep trail in Grand Canyon National Park with steep cliff walls on left side
Give mules and their handlers loads of house to go

Vivid Angel Path Packing Record

For a full checklist of what to pack, take a look at our submit on Day Mountain climbing Necessities.

The predominant items of substances you’ll need for climbing the Vivid Angel Path embody:

  • A daypack with a 3L hydration reservoir. For those who come low season, you would possibly take into account bringing a water filter simply in case potable water isn’t out there.
  • A solar hat – I at all times put on the Wallaroo Sedona Hat (BFT readers get 20% off with the code “BEARFOOT20”)
  • Loads of sunscreen
  • A buff – soak it within the creek at Indian Backyard earlier than climbing again up the path. It is going to preserve you cool and protect your neck from the solar.
  • Numerous snacks – for concepts, take a look at our submit on one of the best climbing snacks.
  • Collapsible trekking poles – these assist relieve pressure in your knees when you are descending and assist distribute the work and your weight on the uphill.
  • Stable climbing footwear – I like to recommend climbing boots with ankle assist and a grippy sole to offer extra stability on the steep sections.

Associated posts:

Have you ever hiked the Vivid Angel Path within the Grand Canyon? What was your expertise like? What suggestions would you add? Depart a remark beneath!

Learn everything you need to know about hiking Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden and get some of the best views in the Grand Canyon.

Written by
Kristen Bor

Hey there! My identify is Kristen, and that is my out of doors weblog. I found the facility of the outside in my 20s, on the time I wanted it most. Now 15 years later, prioritizing that important reference to nature continues to enhance my life. My purpose at Bearfoot Idea is to empower you with the instruments and recommendation it is advisable responsibly get outdoors.


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