Bright Angel Campground is a developed creekside campground located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the famed Phantom Ranch Lodge and the Colorado River. The campground is situated in a small canyon along Bright Angel Creek, under a canopy of Cottonwood trees, about a half mile north of the Colorado River. Getting to Bright Angel Campground is an adventure in itself, and is definitely a backpacking experience. To access the campground, you will have hike either 10 miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, or 14 miles from the North Rim. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open mid-May through the end of October. Optional mule pack service is available to carry your pack down into the canyon is available as well.
Hiking is the most popular activity around Bright Angel Campground, with dozens of trails nearby, but popular day hike destinations include Phantom Overlook and River Trail. Fishing for rainbow trout in the Colorado River is also very popular if you feel like packing your fishing poles into the canyon.
Bright Angel Campground is the busiest of the campgrounds in the canyon and is often booked months in advance. There are 33 campsites at the campground. Each campsite includes a picnic table, fire ring, pack pole, and access to drinking water, bathrooms, and a pay phone. There is a ranger station located nearby as well. Food is available at Phantom Ranch Lodge, which is located about half a mile upstream from Bright Angel.
Most of the year, campers may spend up to two nights (consecutive or non-consecutive) at Bright Angel Campground per hike. However, from November 15 – February 28, you may spend of to four nights per hike. To camp here you must obtain a backcountry permit in advance.
Pro Tip: Coffee is available at Phantom Ranch for campers and hikers starting at 5:00 AM. There is a small bar and restaurant also at Phantom Ranch, which is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and again at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The restaurant serves meals on holidays as well. Prepared meals must be reserved in advance by calling 303-297-2757.
Bright Angel Campground Features
|Number of Campsites:||33|
|Beach/Lake Access:||Yes – River & Creek beaches|
|Cell Phone Service:||None|
|Operating Season:||Campground open year-round|
|Geo Coordinates:||36.101768, -112.096154|
|Nearest City/Town:||Grand Canyon Village, Arizona|
|Paved Road Access:||None|
|Proximity to Stores:||Food is available 1/2 a mile north at Phantom Ranch. Full supplies can be obtained at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon prior to hiking.|
|Directions:||To reach Bright Angel Campground you can travel the South Kaibab Trail (and cross the black bridge) or the Bright Angel Trail (and cross the silver bridge) from the South Rim, or travel the North Kaibab Trail from the North Rim.|
|Web:||Grand Canyon National Park|
|Reservations:||via Backcountry Permit Center|
When To Go
Winter – Hiking the Grand Canyon in the summer can be grueling due to the high temperatures that are amplified by the rock walls of the canyon. During Spring and Winter, there may be snow at the top of the canyon, but it will be in the 60’s and 70’s at the bottom. If you have the option, try and go over the Winter holidays like Christmas, as the campground will not be full and you can enjoy traditional holiday feast at Phantom Ranch.
What To Do
Hiking – Getting to Bright Angel Campground requires an epic hike by itself, but there are also dozens of other day hikes that are accessible from the campground. Popular destinations include River Trail and Phantom Overlook.
Fishing – The Colorado River is known to have some of the largest Rainbow Trout in Arizona.
Bright Angel Campground Photos
Image Credits: Grand Canyon National Park via Flickr