Grand Canyon National Park

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Bright Angel Campground and the Inner Canyon

Feb 19, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It's the Grand Canyon--what more can I say?

Cons:You have to get down there by hiking or on a mule, and back out again!

It seems that all of the reviews in this section cover the Rim--and the South Rim, to be more precise. I did see one about hiking in and out in a day, but nothing about camping in the Inner Canyon.

You can hike down some way and back up again in a day, but this really isn't recommended--you will hike through several different climate changes, and depending on the time of year, you could find that you start off in snow and ice and get down to summery temperatures with a hot sun. And no matter what the temperature, it is DRY, so you have to drink a lot of water and also replenish your food supply. You can get ill if you drink and don't eat, and this could have very serious consequences.

But the real way to see the Inner Canyon is to get a backcountry permit and camp for one or more nights. (The official Grand Canyon site, http://www.thecanyon.com/nps/index.htm, has all the details on getting a backcountry permit.) You can use the well-known corridor trails (the South Kaibab and the Bright Angel from the South Rim; the North Kaibab from the North Rim) and camp at the Bright Angel Campground, which is right next to Phantom Ranch and also a very well-equipped ranger station.

We never saw detailed information about the Bright Angel Campground anywhere, so here's some: There are flush toilets and drinking water is available at the campground. The sites are very close together, along both sides of a footpath that runs along the side of Bright Angel Creek. Each site has just enough room for a tent (some of the sites are bigger, and could fit more than one tent), and each site has a picnic table (metal) and also a metal pole that you can hang things on. VERY IMPORTANT--as with so many wilderness/backcountry places, you must keep your food in metal containers so that the animals don't get it. Also, the animals in the Grand Canyon are aware that food can be stored in plastic bags, so you have to keep all plastic bags in the metal containers provided, and not even in your tent. Each campsite has two of these metal boxes, and we kept all food and anything that smelled like food and all cooking materials and all plastic bags in them for the duration of our trip.

The sites are pretty good, but very much like any National Park campground sites. There is a small amount of vegetation about, but you can see into the other sites as you walk to and from the flush toilets. Oh, yes, in the flush toilets, there is running water, and electric hand dryers! And, as with many National Park campgrounds, outside the toilets there is a big sink to wash dishes in.

You'll have realized by now that I've not said anything about getting to Bright Angel Campground. Well, you have to hike there--what else can I say? It's roughly seven (7) miles down via the South Kaibab Trail, and 9.5 miles up the Bright Angel. In the winter, there can be ice and snow at the top--and that can change so quickly! One minute, it's sunny and clear, the next, there's snow and ice. So be prepared.

Many people tell you that you can prepare for this trip by walking up and down stairs, but we found that the best way to prepare was to practice hiking wherever we could and by carrying what we would carry on the day. But the main thing is to make sure that you have enough food and water to see you through.


Recommend this product? Yes

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