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Old 04-25-2012   #1
go2water's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Phantom Ranch

Looking for info on the hike down to the river to join a raft trip via the bright angel trail.
Any beta would be good such as how long it takes, dificulty, issues with the mules, where to park etc.

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Old 04-25-2012   #2
nessles's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 75
I've only done the Bright Angel hike once, but it was this summer so it's still kind of fresh.

I believe my brother and I ( 16 & 18 ) did it in 2-3 hours, but we were jogging most of the way. We left around 4 or 5 in the morning to beat the oppressive heat of the summer. Most everyone made it down to Phantom Ranch by noon including a 70+ year old with two replaced hips, so it's very doable.

Water could be refilled halfway, so carry some salty snacks and 2 liters of water or more. Blisters are also a big problem, but we did it barefoot so no problems there! Once you reach the river the trail follows the river on sand. This is extremely hot as it heats up (by 9 or 10), so try to get there early and beat the scorching 120 degree temps in the summer.

We never came across mules, and I've heard that most mule trains head down starting around 2am so they're usually out of the way for the hike. If a train is coming through though they have right of way. No beta on the parking.

There's a creek running by Phantom Ranch - it'll be the most refreshing dip you've ever had.

Won't be of much use but I have a couple pictures of the canyon including a couple of the Bright Angel trail on the hike in: Views of the Grand Canyon

- Nessles
Fluid Glass Network

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Old 04-25-2012   #3
kikii875's Avatar
Orem, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 207
Below are two shots from Goggle Earth. The first one is an overview of the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim and the second on is zoomed in to the area where the blue box is on the first one. The left arrow is the trail head and the right arrrow is the closest parking area.

If you are meeting a river trip I would suggest that you make arrangements with them to pick you up at Pipe creek, which is where the trail first meets the river. This will save you hiking the 1 1/2 miles upstream along the river to the boat beach at Phantom ranch.

We did eight out and eight in this summer on our private trip and the slowest in was about 5 hours but she had knee problems even before she started. It starts to get light about 45 minutes before sunrise so I would be at the parking lot and ready to hike at least an hour before sunrise. Then as soon as it is light enough that you feel safe take off. Remember, it will be getting lighter every minute as you go. Every minute that you prolonge starting in the cool adds about 4 minutes to the last part of the trip in the heat. As you can see from the sun in the third picture, our group started about 45 minutes later than I would have. But I was down at the bottom just waiting.

Hike safe and love the river.
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You had me at 'Hey, Row'
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Old 04-25-2012   #4
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 41
I did this in December 2012. I hiked down the South Kaibab Trail. Took me two hours and thirty minutes. Worked out great. I hiked in with a two way radio, and the party i was meeting and one also both set to the same signal. WE had a set time and met up perfectly. I parked a the Information Center at the Head of the Bright Angle trail, and caught the free shuttle to the South Kaibab. Just have a back up plan or two in case your group runs into issues upstream. Good Luck!!
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Old 04-26-2012   #5
go2water's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Thank you all, great help!
Nessels you are the man...I think I'll keep me shoes on!
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