Grand Canyon completes historic trailhead renovation

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, undated | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – On Saturday, Grand Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon Association will dedicate the renovated trailhead for Bright Angel Trail, one of the oldest and best known trails in the national park system.

Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Sept. 26, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park
Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Sept. 26, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

The renovation encompasses a 3.5-acre area surrounding the Bright Angel Trailhead and is focused on creating an accessible and comfortable area for visitors that compliments existing historic buildings, including the Bright Angel Lodge and Rim Cabins designed by Grand Canyon architect Mary E. J. Colter.  Having not had much significant development in the past 100 years, many visitors had difficulty finding the trailhead, and there was nowhere to sit to either enjoy the view or prepare for hikes. The renovation will greatly improve conditions at and around the trailhead, providing a much better experience for park visitors.

A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony open to the public will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Bright Angel Trailhead to commemorate the completion of the project.

Located in the heart of Grand Canyon Village, Bright Angel Trail was one of the first entryways into the Grand Canyon, originally built by the Havasupai people and then popularized to the burgeoning tourist community by John Cameron in the early 1900s.  Historic Kolb Studio, home to the Kolb brothers’ photography business, is located overhanging the Bright Angel Trail and is also currently undergoing reconstruction.  Today, Grand Canyon National Park is visited by nearly 4.5 million people a year; several thousand people pass through the Bright Angel Trailhead area on a typical summer day.   It is used by day and overnight hikers, mule riders, shuttle bus riders and rim walkers. In addition, visitors park in this area to access lodging, visitor services and the trailhead.

Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Sept. 26, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Par
Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Sept. 26, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Par

The new design for the area includes a paved parking lot around the Bright Angel Rim Cabins for approximately 87 vehicles, new restrooms and a plaza area with shade structures for visitors to rest or prepare for their hike, a new accessible path from the shuttle bus stop to Kolb Studio, reconstruction of two stone wall, burial of the overhead electrical and phone lines, removal of an underground storage tank and installation of an etched rock sign for the Bright Angel Trailhead.

“Constructing these much- needed accommodations at the Bright Angel Trailhead to bring it up to modern standards has been a dream in the works for over a decade,” said Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “With funding available through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and generous donors, we are proud to finally complete this project.”

The project was overseen by Grand Canyon National Park Project Manager Vicky Stinson, with construction completed by Merrill, Inc. of Cheyenne, Wyo. Chevo Studios and Rock & Co., both of Denver, Colo., built the stone masonry walls, seating areas and the new identity sign.

Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, March 1, 2013| Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Par
Renovation of the Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, March 1, 2013| Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Par

“We are greatly appreciative of the donor support we received for the Bright Angel Trailhead Renovation project,” said Susan Schroeder, executive director of the Grand Canyon Association. “This area of the park is so meaningful to many people in many ways, from the exhilaration of climbing out of the canyon after a long hike to the simple pleasure of enjoying the expansive canyon view with your family.”

Grand Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon Association are thankful to Stewart Horesji and Ellen Horesji, Arizona Public Service, William Sweeny and Elizabeth Sweeny and Rick Rockwell and Frances Rockwell for their generous contributions.  The Bright Angel Trailhead will now be a place of celebration and enjoyment of Grand Canyon for generations to come.

Event details and contact information

Date: May 18

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park

Admission: Free

Contact: Miriam Robbins – 928-863-3878

Submitted by: Grand Canyon National Park

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, undated | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, undated | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

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