We didn't have the pleasure of staying at Bright Angel Campground, because we had bunks a Phantom Ranch, but what an amazing place to stay! At the bottom of the canyon, how many people get to say they've been there?
It's hard to get there, since you have to hike over a mile down into the earth to find it, but if you've reserved your spot in advance, it's an amazing opportunity! You MUST have a permit to stay at this campground, and it takes months to get one, so please plan in advance.
You can not hike down and get a spot at the campground. You have to have a permit.
Cost: $10 for the permit and $8 per person with 30 sites for small groups (1 to 2 tents) and 2 spots for larger groups (up to 7 tents, I think)
Once you have a permit, and arrive at the campground, it is first come first serve to pick a spot.
The sites aren't terribly private, but they are incredibly unique. Each features a spot on the water, or just across the trail from the water, and it's on the Bright Angel Creek, just a half mile from the Little Colorado River. Each site also had a lock box (like a cooler with latches) for food to keep it from the ravenous, and none to shy, squirrels, as well as a metal "T" post for hanging your packs and shoes. NOTE: Keep your packs UNZIPPED so that the squirrels don't chew holes into them, if they manage to pull circus stunts and find them on the poles. The cool part? Those poles are part of the old telephone line/system in the canyon! Great little piece of history being repurposed!
I assume that everyone at the bottom has the stamina and gumption to get there, so they respect everyone else that did too. And those that were crazy enough to try, without athletic ability, have a newfound insane appreciation for what it takes to do it at all, and respects everyone even more, so privacy at the campsites isn't an issue. It's a privilege to be there at all.
There are bathrooms, potable water, emergency phone, boat beach for soaking tired feet in icy water, ranger station and lots of good company. I highly recommend it, if you are just crazy enough to try. You won't regret the memories!
It takes some work to get here (aka hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon) but it is worth it! Nice campground, sites are a little small but they have a picnic table, food box and a place to hang your pack/boots. It also had running water and a bathroom with full plumbing.
Great place to stay and well worth the effort to get there!
We stayed here after a day of hiking down from the rim. Be sure to have your permit! We can in February because that was the easiest month to get a permit.
The sites are close together, but each one has a rack to hang your packs from, ammo cases to store your food away from ground squirrels, and a picnic table. The squirrels are serious business here. There was a crew cutting back trees the in the morning and we watched a squirrel chow down on one of the worker's breakfast.
The campsites have bathrooms WITH FLUSH TOILETS AND RUNNING WATER! I was floored to be at a "back country" site with those amenities. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised though, Phantom Ranch is just a few feet away and has running water and even vends beer and wine. Of course we had to go and try a Bright Angel IPA since we were hiking its namesake.
Campsites are pretty close together but sit along the side of the river which is amazing in the hott months to soak in. It’s not very deep but amazing. Campsites are crowded but there was a ranger talk which was amazing.
There are so many inspiring view points at the Grand Canyon and many hikes you can choose to take on, but not many are brave enough to really hike down into the gorge of one of the most infamous landmarks in the world.
I stayed up top two different times, it is just way more convenient than going to the bottom with all my gear. And while it does have its benefits, you can't even compare the feeling of hiking into your site and finding something so amazing. It is like apples and oranges.
But this camping experience takes some planning, you have to have a permit to make it. While you can go down the trail itself for a ways and it is just fine, taking on the trail all the way to the bottom does require this permit for stay. Don't think of it as an issue, think of it as a safety precaution which helps them know who is making this long travel.
it is a completely different world at the bottom than the top. No longer are you looking at the Colorado River from what appears to be a million miles away, instead you see it in all its majesty. It no longer looks like a blue/green marble instead it is a force of nature to be seen with massive rapids.
What is great about getting to the bottom is once you arrive you have amenities again like water and warm restrooms. Picnic tables and fire rings are scattered just like the campgrounds up top. And if you are one of those people who choose to move forward even further they do have even more hiking you can do through the valley.
It is pretty spectacular.
There are a few things I noticed about the site that weren't ideal. It is first come first serve so if you start your hike a bit later in the morning you might not have a space available. I didn't see that anyone had that issue but I can only imagine during busy months it could become a problem.
Also, since you have to pack in all your things I would suggest packing a bed pad of some sort, a lot of jagged feeling rocks and in areas that are more clear it is very hard packed so can be a little tough.
Everyone here seemed very cool, I mean they all had basically the same mission in mind so can't beat that!!
A perfect rest stop for a rim to rim hike of the canyon. Nice sites and basic amenities. We even saw a rattlesnake while we were there!
In the summer of 2016, my husband expressed interest in hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim with me. Immediately I thought, "no way"! No showers, no electricity, no cell phone service… Why would anyone do this? But he was serious! I had never backpacked and slept in a tent without having some kind of civilization around or modern conveniences nearby. We began training by Keto diet and walking everyday. Since we live at sea level, we couldn't really simulate the elevation change but walked stairs at a nearby hospital frequently. We eventually progressed to carrying our weighted backpacks for 5+ miles. I lost 20 lbs, had more endurance, got stronger and a little more confident in his plan. We booked our permits, plane tickets and arranged for the care of our 4 boys to get to school, soccer, etc. while we were gone. We left on October 31 and flew to Phoenix, AZ. After a few days of sightseeing with Jason's parents around the south rim, we drove up & left our rental car on the North rim. It was closed for transportation and all services already.
On November 2nd, we began our hike from South Kaibab trail to North Rim which was about 20.5 miles. The first stop was Bright Angel Campground that night which was about 7 miles into our hike and an elevation change of 4,780 feet. Going down was mostly easy but hard on the knees and toes. The view was amazing and I took lots of pics along the way. By the time we made it to Bright Angel campground, all of the creek sites were taken. We found another one quickly because it appeared to be filling fast. Each site had a picnic table, backpack / gear hanging pole and locking military-type box to store food and toiletries. The sites were level and there was a separation between them by vegetation. There was a ranger station and toilets in campground. Deer walked around freely nearby. There was a water spigot next to us to fill our bottles and bags. We didn't encounter a rude person there- everyone was willing to answer questions and offer advice from their own experiences. After a mountain house meal and an attempt to clean off in Bright Angel Creek(way too cold), we went to bed exhausted and ready for the next day of hiking…
I stayed at Bright Angel Campground this past May for one night with my boyfriend, and I would not go back and stay there again.
The Campground its self has a beautiful setting with about 40 campsites nestled in the Grand Canyon along the bright angel creek with Phantom Ranch close by. Which offers a snack bar with beer, advance reservations for full meals, cabins or hostel style bunks, mule rides in and out of the canyon, and some shade and picnic tables to sit at and enjoy your snacks. If this is your style, I recommend trying to stay here rather than Bright Angel Campground or Cottonwood.
Major complaints being the camp sites were only about a foot apart, and other Campground users were VERY rude with their noise and super bright white headlamps at all hours of the night.
My advice is, if you are hiking through the Grand Canyon and want to camp at the bottom, skip Bright Angel and opt for Cottonwood instead. Much better spacing on campsites (and way less, maybe 10 sites total), more privacy, and you cannot tell when people at the Campground are using their headlamps for any reason, makes for a much more restful and enjoyable Grand Canyon hiking experience.
Hiked the GC with 7 of my girls and stayed one night at Bright Angel. I wish we would have stayed longer! Between the ice cold creek to soak your feet in, the canteen for snacks and beverages, and the actual toilets - this Campground made our trip!