How to get down to the Grand Canyon and back in one day? Plateau Point.

Colorado river has been carving the Grand Canyon for 17 million years. Seventeen. Million. Years. Of digging in the red sandstone. Can you imagine this?

I can hardly imagine what I will be doing in seventeen days. Even reminding myself what I was doing seventeen days ago can be a challenge. And going down the Grand Canyon can take you 17 million years back in time. Isn’t it amazing?!

plateau point grand canyon

Plateau Point is the lowest point of the canyon you can reach from South Rim without a permit to stay down in the canyon overnight. Getting to Colorado river and back in one day would be an extremely demanding trip. It could end up with extreme tiredness. You know, nausea, fainting and dragging you out of the canyon.

Don’t try to do this hike unless you are 100% sure you can make it. And even if you are, go talk to one of the park rangers who will tell you what you need to know before going.

Plateau Point is located 400 m above Colorado river but the river is visible perfectly from there. The views on the way are amazing. And even though I MUST come back one day to do the Rim-to-Rim hike, going down to the Plateau Point let me feel what it’s like to be in this huge hole.

And you know what it’s like?

Great 🙂

BTW if you want to know other blogger’s perspective on this amazing hike, check Michelle’s post about the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point!

plateau point grand canyon

The trail to Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon

To get to Plateau Point you need to start from Bright Angel Trailhead. Follow the Bright Angel trail down passing the rest houses located 1,5mi and 3 mi from the start. In each of these places you can refill your water. On your way down it may seem unnecessary. But wait until you’ll be going back up… 🙂

plateau point grand canyon

plateau point grand canyon

The next stop is Indian Garden, 4,9 mi down the canyon. And suddenly the desert flora turns into green trees, you can hear a river rumble, it gets cooler. You arrive to an oasis on the desert.

plateau point grand canyon

You can relax here. Do it because you still have more than a mile walk one way. On a real desert this time with the sun burning your skin.

But I think you will forget the heat on your way and you’ll focus on the views only… 🙂

plateau point grand canyon

plateau point grand canyon

plateau point grand canyon
Colorado River from Plateau Point!

Coming back from Plateau Point is a long walk uphill and the water refill points are very useful. Even  for making your hat wet. Let me assure you, feeling the cold water run down your neck in over 30C /90F heat is a priceless feeling 🙂

plateau point grand canyon
We need to climb back up there!

If you plan a hike to Plateau Point, prepare well.  According to the maps in the canyon the hike should take 9 hours. It’s best to prepare for this amount of time – even though we’ve hiked it much faster, in 6 hours. The elevation gain is 900 m / 3000 feet.

Take a lot of water, at least two liters per person – and refill it when you can. Take food, sunscreen and a hat. Don’t be in a hurry and rest in the shadow when you have a possibility.

A hike to Plateau Point has to be planned smart. Even though it’s demanding, if only you feel you are able to do it – go for it. It’s not every day that you have an opportunity to go 17 million years down into the earth…


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