The Bright Angel Trail was a vacation highlight on our trip to the Grand Canyon! It offered a unique view and vantage point as compared to the rim trail. One concern is always the safety of the trail. I especially was concerned, as I had organized this family vacation, researched this trail, and concluded that it would safe for us to do with our 4 boys (ages 4, 10, 12, and 13). Thankfully…I was right!
The trail offers views of the canyon’s geography as you descend layer by layer towards the Colorado River. At some point, you’ll likely be passed by the Mules which is neat to see. The trail has been used safely for many decades and is not treacherous, as one might assume it would be.
The Bright Angel Trail was comfortably wide – enough for mules & riders to pass us without anyone being in danger. Most of the time, the trail was wide enough to accommodate side-by-side walking a safe distance from the edge. The biggest safety concern is actually one of hydration…
When we reached the trail head (less than 10 minute walk from our Maswik Lodge room), my boys pointed out a sign and said, “Hey Dad….Marathon runner” (I’m a runner). To which I read the stern warning of how a conditioned marathon runner died of dehydration on the trail. I looked at my family’s full 16-ounce bottles and our short planned 1.5 mile out and back plan and laughed reassuringly to my concerned wife and boys. Turns out, we were barely prepared. We did make it to the 2nd tunnel (our turnaround point) at which time I let the boys split half my remaining water; picked up and carried my 4 year old; and endured some glaring looks from my wife! Mark (my 4 year old) commented…”I like going up better than down!” …I bet he did?!
I would recommend the Bright Angel Trail as a must-see for the active family or anyone else capable of doing a bit of walking. Just plan on 30+ ounces of water per person to get you to the first water stop, which is a bit further than we planned to walk with our young crew. The trail will give you a perspective of the canyon that rim-dwellers won’t get to see. My wife even said at the end of the trip that she would like to do the Rim-to-Rim someday (I’ve now memorialized this “promise” into this web-page to remind her ‘someday’ :-).