Hike 1.5 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail
|In This Guide|
|Distance||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,100 feet (335m)|
|Highest Elevation||6,850 feet (2088m)|
|Fees & Permits||National Park Entry Fee|
|Park Website (?)||Grand Canyon National Park|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
If you’re not a big hiker but want to “dip your toe” into the Grand Canyon, the short but beautiful hike to 1.5 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail is for you. The trail is considered the Grand Canyon’s premier hiking trail; it’s very well maintained, safe, and spectacularly beautiful. You’ll hike down into the Grand Canyon, experiencing all the wonders it has to offer without any hardships aside from the short climb back up. The trail has water stations and bathrooms, making it very beginner-friendly.
Want a longer hike? Try the Bright Angel Trail hikes to 3 Mile Resthouse or Indian Garden.
Don’t forget to check out my Grand Canyon hiking tips here!
How to Get to the Bright Angel Trail
The Bright Angel Trail might be the most popular trail in Grand Canyon National Park, but it’s still tricky to find. I recommend navigating to the Bright Angel Lodge, and then from there, following the maps below to the parking areas.
Use this navigation address:
Bright Angel Lodge, 9 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
If you’re using Google Maps, the actual trailhead is on there too:
Bright Angel Trailhead, 15 Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
Once you are in the lodge area, you can park anywhere that you don’t see a no-parking sign or staff parking sign. The parking lots are shared with visitors staying in accommodations such as Bright Angel Lodge.
The Blue Line Shuttle Bus is a good option to get to the trailhead if you’re parked or staying somewhere else in the park. The bus runs year-round. The Hermit’s Rest Route Transfer stop is closer to the trailhead than the Bright Angel Lodge stop, but either one will be fine.
I’ve hiked Bright Angel many times and I’ve never had a problem parking by the trailhead when I get there just before sunrise.
Gear For the 1.5 Mile Resthouse Hike
The hike to the 1.5 Mile Resthouse is 3 miles total with 1,100 feet of climbing, which is a challenging hike. But the trail is well maintained and there is seasonal water, so you can get away with fitness clothes on this hike if the conditions are favorable. In general you’ll want to take 1L of water and some snacks. Sometimes there are water station closures, so make sure you check the alerts page before you go.
The weather in the Grand Canyon can be extreme. In the winter, bitter cold, ice, and snow is not uncommon. So pay close attention to the weather for Grand Canyon Village. If there is snow, the Bright Angel Trail can be covered. In those conditions proper hiking gerar with micro-spikes and trekking poles are a must. There can be ice on the upper parts of the trail.
And of course, in the summer, it gets hot. The canyon walls offer some shade at the right part of the day, but there are sections exposed to the sun, so protect yourself. The temperature rises about 5.5F for every 1,000 feet that you descend. So you can expect the 1.5 Mile Resthouse to be about 6F warmer than the trailhead at the South Rim. In the warm months of summer, this hike is not a good idea during mid-day. Take the temperature seriously; people die from heatstroke in the Grand Canyon.
The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women)
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Fitness To Hike To the 1.5 Mile Resthouse
Grand Canyon hikes are deceiving. Unlike mountain hikes where you do the climb and then get an easy hike back down, in the Grand Canyon it’s oh-so-easy hiking miles downhill, but then you have to turn around and go back up. As the park rangers like to say, there’s no shuttle bus from the bottom of the canyon to the top. So even if you are comfortable hiking for 3 miles, you need to be prepared to hike over 1,100 feet on the way back out.
It’s not uncommon to climb back out at half the pace that you descended. Most folks go down at between 2-3mph, and climb back out between 1-2mph.
Bright Angel Trail To 1.5 Mile Resthouse Maps
The Bright Angel trail is what the Parks Service calls a corridor trail. The corridor trails are heavily used and actively maintained. The Bright Angel Trail is the most used trail in the park. It’s built with a standard gradient (overall) of 10% and has a standard width of 4 feet wide. What that means in practical terms is that, while it’s a tough trail, it’s never too steep and never so narrow that you’re walking on a precipice.
Hike 1.5 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Landmarks on 1.5 Mile Resthouse Hike
|1.5 Mile Resthouse||1.5||5730||Spring to Fall|
Mules on the Trail
For over a century ,mules have been hauling gear, supplies, and people in and out of the Grand Canyon. Right behind the Bright Angel Trailhead is a mule pen used on the trail. These mules take people down to Indian Garden for a day trip and to Phantom Ranch for an overnight trip. Mule trips are very popular, can be booked 15 months in advance, and fill up quickly.
As a hiker on the Bright Angel Trail, the mules can be a pain. If you get stuck behind them, you’ll be stuck behind them for a while, until the mule handler allows you to pass. Oh, and they’ll be crapping too. If you are going in the opposite direction as the mules, you should stand as close to the inside of the trail as possible and let them pass as you heed the mule handler’s instructions.
Mules aren’t aggressive, but they can bite. Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t try to pet or feed the mules.
My tip is to leave at sunrise before the first mules leave. By the time you head back up from the 3 Mile Resthouse, you should pass them head-on, which is much better than getting stuck behind them on the climb out.
Bright Angel Trail FAQ
- Do I need a permit for the hike? You don’t need any permit to hike the Bright Angel Trail as a day hike.
- Can I camp on the trail? You can’t just pitch a tent and camp on the Bright Angel Trail, but you can camp at Indian Garden with a (hard to get) backcountry permit.
- Is the Bright Angel Trail dangerous? The Bright Angel Trail is statistically the safest trail in the park. Heat exhaustion is the most common danger on the trail, so make sure you prepare accordingly. There are no animals that will attack you, and mules won’t kick you off the trail. You probably have a better chance of falling by bumping into another hiker.
- Can I explore off of the trail? No, please stay on the trail and respect the fragile environment. Do not take any bones or organic material that you may find. Do not approach any wildlife you see.
How to Hike to the 1.5 Mile Resthouse
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Hiking Back To the South Rim
You’ve got 1.5 miles under your belt, but the hard part is yet to come. Unless you’re going to float down the river, you’ll have to walk back up to leave the inside of the Canyon.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.