Physically affordable to even the newest of hikers and generously scenic throughout the entire .75 mi/ 1.2 km stretch, this trail leads to one of the most scenic outlooks on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Bright Angel Point. Hikers will find the trailhead a couple of steps to the south of Grand Canyon Lodge, on the North Rim. Visitors of every fitness level will find this trail physically accessible as every inch of it is paved and well-maintained.
Other than leading to one of the most beautiful outlooks on the North Rim, this trail is also a testament to the Grand Canyon’s geologic magnificence. At 5,780 ft/ 762 m above the Colorado River, the trail magnifies the North Rim’s imposing height, towering over 1000 ft/ 305 m over its southern counterpart. Also emphasized on this trail is the Grand Canyon’s tendency to compress the terrain into varying displays of contrasting ecosystems.
While one side of the trail hugs the ridgeline of Bright Angel Peninsula, a stony wall guiding the entire length of the trail, the other is barely safe from intruding brambles from a neighboring evergreen forrest.
By the time you get to Bright Angel Point, your heart will already be pumping from the high altitude, but once you gaze into the sheer depth of the canyon and the smudge that is the inner gorge, you’ll be absolutely breathless. From this vantage point, you’ll also be able to see the rest of Bright Angel Trail as well as the south rim.
The prominent peaks of Deva, Brahma, and Zoroaster Temples are also visible, as well as the Oza Butte from the west and the Red Butte to the south. While there are certainly other outlooks with more definitive canyon views, the sheer height of Bright Angel Point provides an exposure that is unequalled.
Even though the North Rim receives only one tenth of the South Rim’s tourists, Bright Angel Point is located a mere stone throw’s away from the lodge, which means that the trail can often be congested. The trick is making it to the lookout point well before sunrise; this will not only ensure you a certain amount of solitude, but it will guarantee you one of the most stunning viewing experiences on the North Rim.
While this trail is one of the safest on the canyon, there are certain points that attract lightning during thunderstorms. The high altitude can also pose a problem to those with cardiac and respiratory conditions.