Bright Angel is a very long trail (12 miles RT) in Grand Canyon National Park that isn’t appropriate for kids. However, because Grand Canyon doesn’t have a lot of great hikes for kids, you can turn the Bright Angel trail into an acceptable adventure by hiking a little below the rim. It is a unique experience to get below the rim of the Grand Canyon, even if it is just a little way down.
There are two things to know about the Bright Angel Trail when hiking with kids. First, the drop-offs on the side of the trail would be fatal. Don’t even attempt this hike if your kids are wanderers or prone to accidents or stumbles. Instead, check out our post on Ooh-Aah Point. The second is that the hike back up the trail is very steep. For these two reasons, even a short walk down the trail would be rated moderate.
If you do want to attempt Bright Angel, we recommend hiking as far as one of the two tunnels. The first is only .2 mile down the trail. It is drilled through the rock allowing you to descend farther into the canyon. The second tunnel is .75 mile down the canyon after several switchbacks. That distance would be difficult with kids younger than about eight on a steep trail like this.
We decided to opt for something in the middle and followed the trail all the way to the west. At the point it switched back and headed east, we turned around. The distance to the first switchback was .45 mile, so .9 mile RT. This allowed us to get below the rim and through the first tunnel without putting ourselves in too much danger.
For more information about different turn around points long the Bright Angel Trailhead, use this National Park Service guide. To read about other Kid Friendly Hikes in the Grand Canyon, use our link.