Plateau Point Hiking Trail
★★★★★ Easy / Grand Canyon Area:
If someone asked me to define “grandeur” it would have to include standing on the Plateau Point overlook in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Witnessing the white capped Colorado River roaring 1,300 feet below the tip of the Plateau Point Hiking Trail is an experience for the memory books. Surrounded by the soaring technicolor cliffs, and with the South Rim of the Grand Canyon towering more than 3,000 feet overhead in the distance – this hike from Indian Gardens is truly amazing!
TRAILHEAD: indian gardens, GRAND CANYON • DIFFICULTY: easy • DISTANCE: 1.5 MILES (3 miles rt) – important: must first hike 4.5 miles to indian garden on the bright angel trail, and then back • APPROX. TIME: 1.5-2.5 HOURS RT • ELEVATION GAIN: minimal • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 195-225 RT • BEST TIME OF YEAR: SEPT.-OCT. AND APR.-MAY • PETS: NO • KID FRIENDLY: 10 AND OVER (WITH ENDURANCE) • FACILITIES: yes (at indian garden) • FEES: $25 DAILY VEHICLE PASS (INCLUDES ALL OCCUPANTS), OR $12 INDIVIDUAL WALK-IN PASS, OR $85 ANNUAL NATIONAL PARK PASS
After the miles of moderately-angled, toe-bumping, downhills required to reach the midpoint of the Bright Angel Trail, the mildly rolling landscape of Plateau Point Hiking Trail is a pleasant relief. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the fact that hikers have to make the 4.5-mile trek down Bright Angel Trail to reach the Plateau Point trailhead (and then hike back up again afterwards) – this trail would qualify as an primarily flat and easy hike!
Seen from the South Rim, the Plateau Point Hiking Trail looks like a teeny, ant’s path working its way across one of the canyon’s expansive middle plateaus to a distant ridge. The hike begins beneath the treed canopies of Indian Gardens. Quickly exiting this dappled shade it becomes fully exposed to the elements, so bringing ample water is a must! Hikers crossing this plateau, on the gently undulating, desert sage and prickly pear lined pathway, appear miniature amongst the oversized surrounding cliffs. In Spring, bright pink flowers dot the landscape, adding to its already astonishing beauty.
The true reward of this hike is at the end of the trail. Here an overlook sits atop a deep precipice on the lower canyon. Keeping a firm grip on the railing and peering straight down, the Colorado River roars and cascades below in curves of teal green. In every direction, incredible canyon vistas fill the eye and saturate the senses. The walk back is equally mesmerizing, with monumental views of the South rim and cliffs from whence the hike began.
At 1,300 feet (or 92 stories), the drop to the Colorado River below Plateau Point is 300 feet higher than that beneath Horseshoe Bend (situated 50 miles further northeast in Arizona).
Directions From the intersection of I-17 and I-40 in Flagstaff, head west on I-40 for 29.3 miles to exit 165/AZ-64. Turn right/north on AZ-64 and drive 55.8 miles to Grand Canyon City. The trailhead for the Bright Angel Trail (which much be hiked to Indian Gardens to access the Plateau Point Hiking Trailhead) is located behind the Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon City. The Plateau Point Hiking Trailhead is located at the south end of Indian Gardens.
- Canyon, Colorado River, Dayhike, Easy, Grand Canyon, Overlook, Plateau, Views
- April 11, 2015