Bright Angel Trail
The steep descent down Bright Angel Trail begins just west of Bright Angel Lodge. The trail, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was built by Ralph Cameron, a territorial county sheriff and supervisor who later became Arizona’s U.S. senator. Cameron had mining claims in the area, and charged riders $1 to use his trail.
Above the trail is the old stone corral, where mule parties still saddle up every morning to make the journey to Indian Garden or Phantom Ranch. The trail passes within a few feet of Kolb Studio, where a small window allowed Emery or Ellsworth to take pictures of mule riders.
The Bright Angel Trail is the South Rim’s most popular route to the bottom of the canyon. Even a short walk down the trail gives the sense of being enveloped by the canyon’s walls.
Aim for the first trail tunnel cut into the stone. Look up to your left, where you’ll be able to make out prehistoric pictographs high above, probably made by Havasupai people long ago. Like many South Rim trails, Bright Angel was once a Havasupai route.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition