Our hiking video gives you a great idea of what to expect on your Bright Angel hike. Only a few of our rafting trips require hiking into or out of the canyon. If you are considering an upper canyon or lower canyon trip, it’s important to review the following information carefully.
The Bright Angel Trail – Hiking this trail is rewarding, but it is also very strenuous. You will need to be physically prepared to be successful. The hike in or out of Grand Canyon is approximately 8 miles (13 km) and involves 4,400 feet (1,340 m) in elevation change. This steep trail has very little undulation, so you’ll be hiking either all uphill or all downhill for hours. The relentless, repetitive action causes additional stress on your body. There is very little shade on the trail, so the weather and heat often make this hike even more extreme.
The upper canyon hike out (all uphill) – The hike out is similar to an extended stairmaster workout and takes the prepared hiker an average of 6-8 hours. Some of the hardest portions of this hike are near the end where there are many tall steps that are taxing on your already tired legs. You’ll need to carry out all your gear which intensifies the hike. Altitude can play a factor for some as the trail tops out at 7,000 feet above sea level.
The lower canyon hike in (all downhill) – People often assume the hike in will be easy because it is all downhill, but this is a mistake. Do not underestimate the constant downhill. It’s so unusual for your body, hard on your joints, causes stress on old injuries, and is made even more difficult by the weight of your pack. The entire river trip itinerary is dependent on everyone maintaining an appropriate pace on the hike in. We have a hiking guide and if they deem that you are not able to safely complete this hike in 4-6 hours, you may be turned around on the trail and will forfeit your river trip.
This hike (in or out) can be extra challenging for people who aren’t regular hikers, are out of shape, overweight, have a history of heart problems, heat-related illness, exercise-induced asthma or joint or back issues. We recommend these trips for people who are experienced, enthusiastic hikers.
If you have any questions about this hike, please contact our office. We would be happy to talk with you in greater detail. You can also check out our custom training program to help you prepare for this unique hike. If you’d rather not tackle this hike on your vacation, we totally understand and encourage you to check out our other trip types.