Bright Angel: Grand Canyon National Park

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The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s natural wonders and is on pretty much everyone’s bucket list. The Bright Angel trail is perhaps the most popular trail from the Southern Rim to the canyon floor. You can find lodging in this section of the park at either Bright Angel Lodge or El Tovar. Both are historic lodges.


We had our first glimpse of the canyon as we turned west toward the park, coming from Page. It began to rain as we passed through the entrance, but by the time we got to our lodge, it had stopped.

We checked into our cabin at The Bright Angel Lodge, just steps away from the rim of the canyon and the Bright Angel Trailhead. Since it had just rained, everything was shrouded in fog and we couldn’t actually SEE the canyon, but when the fog started lifting out of the canyon, it was incredible.

View of one of the cabin’s bedrooms through the connecting door

Bright Angel Lodge

Our cabin at Bright Angel Lodge was awesome. We rented two rooms which comprised the entire cabin. We lucked out and had a connecting door. Amenities included a mini fridge, tv, and dispensers with a heavenly lemongrass scented body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Both rooms had a ceiling fan which was plenty…no need for AC while we were there. It got down into the 50s at night.
We had thunderstorms each afternoon that forced us inside for an hour or two so we were grateful for our homey cabin. I reserved our rooms a year in advance…there are 5 million visitors a year and not many rooms in the park.

The lobby of the main building at Bright Angel Lodge

The rim trail runs behind the Bright Angel Lodge and El Tovar and is level with guardrails so you can’t just fall over the side in the dark. I got up before dawn and walked the path behind our cabin to El Tovar where I watched the sun come up over the ridge with about a dozen other people.

Historic Buildings

There are some historic buildings in this area. Lookout Studio was constructed by the Santa Fe Railway in 1914 and used as a photography studio. It is now a gift shop with stone terraces from which to view the canyon.

Lookout Studio was built to compete with the nearby Kolb Photography studio in the early 1900s

Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Bright Angel Lodge and several other buildings in the park were designed by female architect Mary Colter in 1904. The Hopi House was built to be a living museum where Native American craftsmen worked and sold souvenirs.

Colter’s Hopi House Living Museum

In the afternoon of our second day in the park, we had some time to kill before our reservations at El Tovar so we took a hike on the Rim Trail. It started to rain again and then stopped almost as soon as we’d donned our rain ponchos. As it cleared, rainbows began to appear in the canyon. Amazing!


El Tovar was worth the splurge! It’s the priciest place to eat in Grand Canyon Village and is a fine dining experience so you can’t walk in with your dirty hikers and shorts.
We were seated by the window for a great view of the setting sun. The lodge and dining room are lovely and full of history.

Location: Arizona
Designation: National
Date designated/established: January 11, 1908
Date of my visit: August 19, 2014