7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
For anyone visiting the Phantom Ranch area, the Clear Creek Trail is a must-do.
It makes for a fantastic side trip and day hike from the base camp of Phantom Ranch or Bright Angel Campground.
The views on this trail are magnificent and could be considered some of the better views in the canyon.
You will be able to get unique glimpses of the Colorado River that you wouldn't be able to see otherwise.
Another plus is the customization this trail offers.
It is lengthy, but you can choose to go as far as you want.
Some of the best views on the entire trail are actually found in the beginning, following a steep ascent from the bottom of the Canyon.
Views of Phantom Ranch will appear right below you. There is also camping to be found on this route, even though you cannot camp for the first two miles on the Clear Creek Trail.
Because this route is exposed, you will have 360-degree views the entire way.
Thus, there are fantastic spots for sunrise and sunset.
Every time I have visited the Grand Canyon I have made a vow to spend a sunset somewhere along this trail. Even though the Clear Creek trail is located right near a popular area—Phantom Ranch—it is never crowded.
Most people visiting Phantom Ranch seem to have not heard of this trail, so despite the beauty, it is relatively unknown.
Make sure you take the time to explore this unique area within the Grand Canyon! Note: there aren't many water sources along this route, so be prepared.