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    Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    21.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,037 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    If you’re ready and able to delve deep into the Grand Canyon, the hike to Plateau Point is a trip you’ll simply not forget. This 20.9 km hike might be challenging, but it’s worth the work to stand at the edge of the plateau overlooking the Colorado River, having hiked most of the way down into one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world. This hike also goes through Indian Garden Campground, and with some advance planning, you can make it into a multi-day adventure. Why wouldn’t you want to draw out these views as much as possible?

    This route departs from the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Canyon, which is where most visitors to the canyon end up. Come prepared with poles, good boots, snacks, and plenty of water. If you intend to camp at Indian Garden, you’ll need to book your spot ahead of time.

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    Route Description for Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail

    Imagine hiking down into the Grand Canyon over almost 11.3 km, descending steeply down the layered rock and watching the canyon’s massive walls begin to tower over you. At the end of your outbound journey, you’re standing at the edge of a wide plateau overlooking the river that single-handedly carved the Grand Canyon over millions of years. That’s exactly what you’ll do on the hike to Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail.

    Bright Angel Trail is the most-used route in the entire canyon. It’s immaculately maintained, very easy to follow, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. This is the Grand Canyon, after all. You can take Bright Angel to connect to the similarly great Plateau Point Trail, which leads to one of the best viewpoints over the Colorado River the canyon has to offer.

    Indian Garden is located along this hike, giving you the chance to stretch this adventure over a night or two. Tucked underneath the trees inside the canyon, you’ll walk out of your tent in the morning to have coffee within one of the most iconic sites in the country.

    Even if you don’t plan to stay at the campground, this hike is still a fantastic trip. It will be challenging, though, so we recommend coming prepared with water, nutrition, poles, good boots, and weather-appropriate clothing. The conditions in the canyon can vary from scorching to chilly depending on the season.

    From the well-marked Bright Angel Trailhead, you’ll take Bright Angel Trail as it curves through two wide traversing switchbacks before settling into a course of narrower, steeper turns. As you make your way down, make sure to pause and look up as you go. The view of the canyon changes with your descent and you’ll enjoy a closer look at the striations of the walls and unique foliage as you go.

    There’s a water refill station called Mile and a Half Resthouse at the end of a traverse in between the switchbacks. There’s also a restroom here if needed. After this pit stop, you’ll launch back into switchbacks along the well-defined route.

    Another water and bathroom stop, Three-Mile Resthouse, appears halfway to the campground. After this, the route straightens out as it covers the remaining distance to Indian Garden, running alongside Garden Creek. At this point, you’re more than halfway down the canyon to the Colorado River.
    Refill your water at the campsite if needed, then continue on a blessedly flatter stretch of trail, keeping straight to hike out onto Plateau Point. The view over the river here is magnificent, so spend some time snapping photos.

    When you’re ready, you’ll return to the trailhead on the same route.

    Hiking Route Highlights

    Grand Canyon

    Revealing millions of years of geological history, the layered and massive Grand Canyon is a 3060 square mile canyon in Arizona. The canyon is 445.8 km long, up to 18 miles wide and is over 1,829 m at its deepest point. Carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, the canyon is now one of the world’s top natural attractions, bringing about 5 million visitors to its rim every year. Indigenous people have inhabited the canyon for many years, some considering it to be a holy site.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you camp at Indian Gardens Campground?

    You’ll need to get a backcountry permit to stay the night at Indian Garden. Make your reservation as far in advance as you can to ensure you get a spot. Spots can be booked with the National Park Service on the first of the month four months before your planned visit.

    Is there water on Bright Angel Trail?

    Yes, there is water available along the trail. Bring a large container, you’ll likely go through more than you think on the way back up the canyon.

    Do you need a permit to hike Bright Angel Trail?

    You only need a backcountry permit if you’ll be camping. Day hikes do not require permits beyond your entry to the park.

    Insider Hints for Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail

    • You’ll need a pass to visit the Grand Canyon. Passes can be purchased ahead of time online or at the park gates.
    • It can take a long time to get through the park gates during normal visiting hours, so we recommend planning to arrive a bit early.
    • Once you’re done, consider a stop at the Yavapai Museum of Geology on the South Rim to learn more about the fascinating geological history of the canyon.

    Getting to the Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail is on the Rim Trail in front of Kolb Studio.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail Elevation Graph

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    Plateau Point via Bright Angel Trail Reviews

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