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River Trail Loop

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The River Trail, sometimes called the Bridge Loop, is a 1.5 mile hike that connects the Black Bridge and the Silver Bridge—the two suspension bridges that span the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near Phantom Ranch. Pick, Dar, and myself left the Phantom Ranch on the afternoon of our rest day during our rim-to-rim adventure, and set off for the Colorado River to catch the River Trail. Upon reaching the river, we hiked upstream past Boat Beach to the Black Bridge and the South Kaibab Trail. After crossing under the bridge, we made our way to its walkway and crossed the river while wind gusts close to 30 mph sent the bridge swaying in a freaky serpentine-like fashion. Once the three of us were across, we entered the tunnel and emerged onto the dusty world of the South Kaibab Trail. From the tunnel, we climbed the switchbacks towards the start of the River Trail, took a right onto the path and headed downstream. The River Trail hugs the side of the cliff high above the Colorado River, providing magnificent canyon views for the entire distance. Thankfully, the trail follows a gentle downhill grade all the way to the Silver Bridge—a nice way to stay limber if you have an extra day at the bottom. When the trail reaches the Silver Bridge, cross and head back to the north side of the river and your home for the night—a dorm or cabin at Phantom Ranch, or your campsite at Bright Angel Campground.



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