Plant Guide to Bright Angel Trail
Grand Canyon National Park

Including Pictures of Most Species

(Click on pictures to get the species information pages)

Introduction and Explanation of Plant Trail Guides

Highlights of This Trail
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
The Plant Guide
     Key to Plant Guide Information
     Introduction To The Linked Species Pages


Some, but not all, of the results from three days of field work on 4-6 May 2008 have been added to the guide. All of the results from the field work on 22 August 2008 and 24 April 2009 have been added. I have not yet modified the text outside of the guide to reflect the additions from the 2008 and 2009 field work, which added a number of annuals and perennials to the guide, making it more complete.

This is a preliminary plant trail guide to the Bright Angel Trail to mile 3.7, resulting from just two days of field work on 5-6 September 2007 in a drought year. It is therefore undoubtedly incomplete, especially for annuals and perennials, missing a number of such species that are seen only in wetter years or earlier in the year. However, it should be fairly complete for the larger shrubs and trees on the trail.

A plant trail guide gives the location of the first occurrence of every taxon (species and subspecies) found on the trail, as well as an estimate of the abundance of each taxon. It enables a botanist to know exactly where to find a given species, and gives the identification for species seen as one hikes along a trail. It is much more useful in the field than a traditional plant list by family, since the plants are seen in the trail in the order of the plant trail guide, and one doesn't have to figure out the determination from a large plant list by family.

In this plant trail guide, the common name of nearly every species is linked to a separate webpage that shows photographs taken on 5-6 September 2007. For most taxa, these photographs serve as vouchers for my determinations, allowing botanists to confirm or question my determinations. ☺

The photographs also enable armchair botanists to take a virtual tour through all the species seen those days on the trail.

Since most species were not in bloom then, the photographs in general don't look anything like the pretty pictures of flowers shown in most field guides. However, this more nearly reflects what the plants look like most of the year, and hence may actually be more beneficial for most botanists trying to identify the species on the trail.

Since I am a botanist, the photographs were taken with identification of the species in mind. Almost every species has at least one picture with an object in it that can be used as a scale to make good measurements of the lengths of the parts needed for identification. Objects used for scale are: my fingers (widths ~ 18 mm = 0.7 inches) or my thumb (width ~23 mm = 0.9 inches; thumbnail width ~16 mm = 0.6 inches); my GPS receiver (11.0 cm long x 5.2 cm wide = 4.3 x 2.0 inches); or my backpack (15 inches tall x 16.5 inches wide x ~10 inches deep = 38 x 42 x 25 cm).

As far as possible (I'd only seen fewer than half the species before), I used my knowledge of what characteristics are usually used to distinguish each species, and targeted those with my photographs. The discriminating characteristics vary tremendously between genera and families, and can range from the branching habit at the base of the plant, the characteristics of the underneath or shape or hairs of the leaf, to properties of the twigs. Sometimes, botanists even use the characteristics of the flowers, even though it often doesn't seem like it when photographers send pictures to botanists to be identified! ☺

Of course, some species do not have their identifying characteristics on display in September, so not all species will have those characteristics photographed.

Important Caveats:

Many of the determinations were based on a reasonable guess as to the correct species, or by my keying of the plants among species unfamiliar to me, or by my assuming that, if the Grand Canyon flora only lists one possible determination, then that determination is the correct one. I note that the latter approach would have resulted in an erroneous determination for Polygonum arenastrum if I had not been able to explicitly key out that species, and interested in doing so.

A key is a horrible way to identify species outside the hands of someone very familiar with a given flora. For example, only through the use of a key could an elephant be keyed as a "mouse", since keys often depend on subtle features in order to reliably discriminate species. But a key is the best means we have for discriminating species, and they work well if one is familiar with most of the species in the key. An expert in the plants of Arizona would be far less likely to make a bonehead mistake in keying out plants than an Arizona novice like me.

The reader may be amused to know that most botanists do not identify plants in the field when they are working on the flora of an area except possibly for the most common or unique species. Instead, they collect specimens, which are then pressed and dried. The specimens are then taken to a herbarium that has similar samples of all the possible identifications that have been determined by experts in those taxa. The specimens are directly compared, with the aid of a key and a microscope, to the labeled herbarium specimens to get the determination. (By the way, botanical keys are almost always made from, and for, pressed and dried specimens, which is definitely a problem at times in keying live plants.)

I collected no specimens; all my determinations have been made from my photographs and field observations. (Note that taking anything from Grand Canyon National Park is prohibited unless you have a permit to do so in your possession.) Hence the likelihood of a misdetermination is much higher than determinations made from specimens.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who spots a mistake, or even questions a determination, would contact me so mistakes can be corrected. Additions to the guide are welcome as well, especially if documented by photographs and good locations.

In fact, if you are familiar with the species on this trail, I'd appreciate you taking a look at one species that I wasn't able to identify in its September form. This species seemed distinctive enough that I should have been able to get its determination, but I couldn't. It is: unk herb resembling Epilobium in CA, similar to Comandra umbellata ssp. pallida but with clasping leaves at mile 2.20. There are a few other unknowns that someone who is very familiar with the Grand Canyon flora might be able to recognize, but most of them will have to await springtime observations.

My determinations would not have been possible without the excellent resources available that I consulted. Many people have worked on the Grand Canyon Flora, collecting specimens, curating the specimens in herbaria, reviewing the determinations of those specimens, making the information from specimens available online, taking photographs and identifying the plants in those photographs, writing books, and synthesizing the available information in keys and floras. I am deeply grateful to all those people. I especially thank Lori Makarick, who provided the latest Grand Canyon Park Plant Checklist as well as a list of 35 species known to occur on the Bright Angel Trail. That list was helpful in quickly getting the proper determination for several species.

A reference page gives the taxa found on this trail in traditional family order. For each taxon, that page links to online references and gives detailed references to printed reference material.

A list of just the species with species pages is given here: Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail: Checklist of Species With Pictures.

Highlights of This Trail

Nearly everything was pretty exciting to me, since this was the first time I've seriously botanized anyplace outside of southern California. The following describes only a small number of the highlights of this trail.

Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time

The following table gives the dates the trail was walked and taxa recorded. After each visit, the table gives the total number of taxa on the list and the breakdown of the taxa without positive identification. See Explanation of Plant Trail Guides to understand the symbols below.

Visit DateVisit ## taxa# "?"# "sp"# "~"# "ssp"

The fieldwork on 9/5/07 was to the 1.5 mile resthouse at mile 1.58; the fieldwork on 9/6/07 was to mile 3.73.

We thank Denise Hudson for help with the fieldwork on 5 May 2008.

The Plant Guide

Key to Plant Guide Information

Mile: It is like a car odometer. Mile 0.00 includes all mileages from 0.000 to 0.009; 0.01 includes all mileages from 0.010 to 0.019, etc. 0.01 mile is 18 yards = 53 feet, about 18-20 normal-size paces.

Note that species separated by a difference of 0.01 mile in the guide could actually be fairly close together, with the odometer "rolling over" between them. Example: one species is at 1.599 miles, reported as 1.59 miles in the guide, and the next species is at 1.601 miles, reported as 1.60 miles in the guide. The species are actually just 0.002 miles = 10 feet apart. They could also be almost 0.02 miles apart. Example: one species is at 1.601 miles and the next is at 1.619 miles.

The mileage is incredibly accurate in this guide. The Bright Angel Trail is, as far as I know, the most-accurately surveyed trail in the world. See Pedometer Accuracy. In the plant guide here, I have tied all my pedometer readings to the Control Points (CP in the guide below) from the Bradford Washburn et al publication referenced in that webpage. All the reported elevations also come from that publication.

Since most people walk without a pedometer or a GPS to give them their rough mileage, enough landmarks are included in the guide that it is not necessary to pay much attention to the mileage. It is mainly useful in telling the reader when there are long intervals without new species, or when new species come fast and furious.

Note that GPS receivers are almost useless in some parts of the trail, due to satellite signals reflected from the abundant rocks (multipath problem) and/or low sky visibility. Be very wary about believing the trip mileage given by a GPS receiver.

S: Side of trail on which the first occurrence is found: left, right, both, or center

#: On-trail species are numbered in order of first occurrence on trail (easily touchable from the trail). Off-trail species are in parentheses.

id?: Species without an entry in this column are quite confidently identified. "?" means I am just guessing the identification; "sp" means the genera is probably known, but the species name is uncertain even when a potential species name is given in the guide; "~" means I have roughly 95% confidence that this is the determination, but have not yet positively identified it; "ssp" means the subspecies or variety needs to be determined.

FAM: The family for each taxon is given as the first three letters of the full scientific family name, with all letters capitalized. See the key to the three letter abbreviations.

(*)Common Name: An asterisk before the common name indicates a species that is non-native to the Grand Canyon, and hence should not be here. The Common Name is linked to a separate page for each species giving photographs and further information about some species. The Common Name in many cases has been taken from my southern California database for expediency. If you know of a better common name used at the Grand Canyon, please let me know.

Note that common names are not standardized, and more than one taxa can have the same common name.

Scientific Name: This is the name used to uniquely identify a species by botanists, which enables one to confidently look up more information about each species. All names are as given in the latest Grand Canyon flora online. Synonyms (older, newer, or alternate Scientific Names) are given in the page linked to the common name, usually via the USDA Plants link.

#Plants: This gives the minimum number of on-trail plants of this species on this trail, with the number of locations on this trail following the /, using maximum values of 99/9. A value of 1/1 means I only found a single plant in a single location in the entire trail; 10/9 means 10 plants occurring in at least 9 locations, etc. Very common taxa are generally given as 50/9 or 99/9, with the 99/9 species being significantly more abundant than the 50/9 species.

Introduction To The Linked Species Pages

Many species in the plant trail guide have additional information given on a separate page that is linked from the Common Name field below. The additional information includes:

Characteristics: This section begins with Identification status, which gives a discussion of how confident I am in the determination. The identification and other characteristics of each species are discussed. The explicit keying is given in some cases.

Some species have additional discussion about the species in the Grand Canyon and/or elsewhere.

Voucher information is given, including the number of vouchers in the entire Grand Canyon and the closest voucher to the Bright Angel Trail. Voucher information was obtained from the Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet).

The information given in the guide below about the location and number of plants is repeated on each species page.

Unfortunately, due to the amount of time it took me to make a full species page, some species have just the pictures and reference information on the species pages, without the additional information mentioned above.

Pictures: Pictures of each species taken on the Bright Angel Trail are presented, often with the identification characteristics explicitly pointed out.

References: References are given to 13 sources, including links to online references and page numbers for printed references.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (8 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (2 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

MileS#id?FAM(*)Common NameScientific Name#Plants
0.00   Begin guide at signed Trailhead north of West Rim Drive bus stop, north of the mule corral; CP "S. Rim", elevation 6845 feet (2086 m), in Kaibab Limestone, thickness 350 feet here
0.00b1 PINtwo-needle pinyon pinePinus edulis50 / 9
0.00b2 GROdesert gooseberryRibes velutinum99 / 9
0.00b3 GROwhisky currantRibes cereum var. pedicellare99 / 9
0.00b4 ASThoary-asterMachaeranthera canescens50 / 9
0.00b5 BRAWright's thelypodyThelypodium wrightii10 / 3
0.00r6 MAL*common mallowMalva neglecta10 / 2
0.00r7 POA*downy bromeBromus tectorum99 / 9
0.00r8 FAGGambel oakQuercus gambelii50 / 9
0.00r9 NYCsmooth spreading four o'clockMirabilis oxybaphoides50 / 9
0.00r10 POL*knotweedPolygonum arenastrum2 / 2
0.00r11 BRA*herb sophiaDescurainia sophia99 / 9
0.00r12 BRA*crossflowerChorispora tenella99 / 9
0.00r13 BRAcommon pepper-grassLepidium densiflorum5 / 1
0.00l  (AST, threadleaf common rabbitbrush, Ericameria nauseosa var. oreophila)
0.00r14~CAPsnowberrySymphoricarpos oreophilus99 / 9
0.00r15 BRAperennial rock-cressArabis perennans40 / 9
0.00r16 RAN*curveseed butterwortCeratocephala testiculata99 / 9
0.00b17 AMAPowell's amaranthAmaranthus powellii20 / 2
0.00r18 ROSUtah service-berryAmelanchier utahensis99 / 9
0.00l19 CUPUtah juniperJuniperus osteosperma20 / 9
0.01r  Sign: "Mesozoic Rock Formations / Kaibab Limestone"
0.02b20 ASTthreadleaf common rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. oreophila50 / 9
0.02b21 CHE*tumbling oracleAtriplex rosea40 / 2
0.02l22 LAM*horehoundMarrubium vulgare20 / 5
0.03l23 ROSfern bushChamaebatiaria millefolium10 / 9
0.03r  (MAL littleleaf globe mallow, Sphaeralcea parvifolia)
0.03r24 POA*foxtail barleyHordeum murinum99 / 9
0.04r25 BRA*Klamath pepper-grassLepidium perfoliatum2 / 2
0.04r  Jct. path from Kolb Studio
0.04l26 ASTCalifornia brickellbushBrickellia californica99 / 9
0.05l27~AMA*tumble pigweedAmaranthus albus5 / 2
0.05r28 POAslender wheatgrassElymus trachycaulus50 / 9
0.05r29 POAsquirreltailElymus elymoides30 / 9
0.05r30 LAM*catnipNepeta cataria20 / 3
0.05r31 SCRPalmer's penstemonPenstemon palmeri10 / 2
0.05r32 ASTsilver wormwoodArtemisia ludoviciana99 / 9
0.05r33 VITVirginia creeperParthenocissus vitacea1 / 1
0.05r  Sign: "Bright Angel Trail and Grand Canyon Information"
0.05r34 ASTArizona thistleCirsium arizonicum var. nidulum30 / 9
0.05   Switchback left
0.06r35 BRA*London rocketSisymbrium irio10 / 3
0.08r  Sign: "When mules pass"
0.08r36 CHEFremont's goosefootChenopodium fremontii20 / 5
0.08r  (POA mutton grass, Poa fendleriana)
0.09l37 ASTGrand Canyon rock-daisyPerityle congesta50 / 9
0.12l38 ASTGrand Canyon GoldenweedEricameria arizonica20 / 8
0.13   (View ahead of bonsai Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa, and two-needle pinyon pine, Pinus edulis, on top of ridge with tunnel)
0.14r  (RUT pallid hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata ssp. pallida var. pallida)
0.15r39 ASTbig sagebrushArtemisia tridentata30 / 9
0.15r  (BER creeping barberry, Mahonia repens)
0.15   First Tunnel
0.15r  (EPH green ephedra, Ephedra viridis; AGA Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis
0.16l40 SCRbeardtonguePenstemon barbatus10 / 5
0.16b41 ASTbeautiful aster Eurybia pulchra99 / 9
0.16l42 POAmutton grassPoa fendleriana99 / 9
0.16l43 RANFendler's meadow-rueThalictrum fendleri10 / 9
0.16r44 BORflatspine stickseedLappula occidentalis var. occidentalis30 / 9
0.17l45 RUBWright's bedstrawGalium wrightii1 / 1
0.17r46 CHE*Russian thistleSalsola tragus20 / 2
0.20l47 ASTfragrant snakerootAgeratina herbacea30 / 5
0.21r  (CAC Mojave prickly-pear, Opuntia erinacea)
0.23r  Sign: "Do not attempt to hike to the bottom and back in one day…"
0.23   Switchback left at ridge, then S curve in trail
0.23r48 BRAshepherd's purseCapsella bursa-pastoris10 / 3
0.25l  (banana yucca, Yucca baccata)
0.26r49 BERcreeping barberryMahonia repens20 / 5
0.28r  (ROS Apache plume, Fallugia paradoxa)
0.29l  (Check if this grass with longer awns is still Hordeum murinum, or if this was a young flower of Elymus elymoides)
0.29r  (BRA wallflower, Erysimum capitatum var. purshii)
0.29b  (check for different grass species)
0.29   Cross Bright Angel Fault onto Toroweap Redbeds, thickness 250 feet here
0.29l  (Rocky Mountain Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)
0.29l50 ASTCooper’s rubberweedHymenoxys cooperi5 / 2
0.30l51 RUBMunz's bedstrawGalium munzii ssp. ambivalens40 / 9
0.30l52 SAXcoral bellsHeuchera rubescens var. versicolor4 / 4
0.30l53 LAMDrummond's false pennyroyalHedeoma drummondii1 / 1
0.30l54~LILAspen onionAllium bisceptrum var. palmeri5 / 1
0.31l55 MALlittleleaf globe mallowSphaeralcea parvifolia30 / 9
0.33r  (POA, Indian ricegrass, Achnatherum hymenoides)
0.33b56 POLSimpson's buckwheatEriogonum microthecum var. simpsonii50 / 9
0.34r57 EPHgreen ephedraEphedra viridis50 / 9
0.36l58 ROScliffrosePurshia stansburiana20 / 9
0.36l59 ASTBasin butterweedPackera multilobata3 / 2
0.36l60 POA*Bermuda grassCynodon dactylon5 / 1
0.37b61~BORslender cryptanthaCryptantha gracilis20 / 3
0.39r62 POAIndian ricegrassAchnatherum hymenoides40 / 9
0.39l63 ASTsticky snakeweedGutierrezia microcephala10 / 3
0.39r64 FABfreckled milk-vetchAstragalus lentiginosus var. diphysus1 / 1
0.39l65 SCRMartin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii3 / 1
0.40   Switchback right; CP #1, elevation 6630 feet (2021 m). In a short distance on the side trail is FAB, narrow phacelia, Phacelia filiformis; CRO, spiny greasebush, Glossopetalon spinescens var. aridum; and a different Castilleja sp.
0.41l66 POA*smooth bromeBromus inermis50 / 9
0.41r67 BERFremont barberryMahonia fremontii10 / 9
0.43l  Check for Elymus glaucus
0.43l68 AGAbanana yuccaYucca baccata10 / 9
0.43r69 ASTmatchweedGutierrezia sarothrae20 / 6
0.43r  (SCR Eaton's penstemon, Penstemon eatonii ssp. undosus)
0.44r70spCACprickly-pearOpuntia sp.5 / 5
0.44r71~ASTrose heathChaetopappa ericoides1 / 1
0.50   Cross Bright Angel Fault back onto Kaibab Limestone
0.51r72 HYDFendler bushFendlera rupicola40 / 9
0.54r73 ROSshrubby cream bushHolodiscus dumosus10 / 3
0.54l  (claret cup, Echinocereus triglochidiatus)
0.55r  Contact between the Kaibab and Toroweap Formations
0.58r74 BRAwild candytuftThlaspi montanum var. fendleri8 / 3
0.59r  (SCR, *common mullein, Verbascum thapsus)
0.60l75~CAPblueberry elderSambucus glauca1 / 1
0.62r76 PINRocky Mountain Douglas firPseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca10 / 3
0.63r77 FUMscrambled eggsCorydalis aurea5 / 2
0.64r78 POLsouthern mountain phloxPhlox austromontana10 / 5
0.70l  Jct. use path
0.71l  Jct. use path
0.71l79 VISpinyon pine dwarf-mistletoeArceuthobium divaricatum1 / 1
0.72r  Kolb Seep Springs
0.72r sp(CAR sedge, Carex sp.)
0.73   Switchback left; CP #2, elevation 6364 feet (1940 m)
0.76r80 RUTpallid hoptreePtelea trifoliata ssp. pallida var. pallida50 / 9
0.80l81 ROSrock whitefeatherIvesia arizonica10 / 1
0.86l82 BETKnowlton hop hornbeamOstrya knowltonii30 / 9
0.87   Second Tunnel, through hardened Bright Angel Fault, CP "Tunnel (#2)", elevation 6248 feet (1904 m). Cross into Coconino Sandstone, thickness 350 feet here
0.89l  Grand Canyon rock-daisy, Perityle congesta, with ovate leaves (earlier plants had narrowly-elliptic leaves)
0.90   Switchback right; CP #3, elevation 6218 feet (1895 m). Begin series of short switchbacks
0.90l  (RAN virgin's bower, Clematis ligusticifolia; OLE birchleaf buckthorn, Frangula betulifolia ssp. obovata, in distance)
0.96   Switchback left
0.98l83 RHAbirchleaf buckthornFrangula betulifolia ssp. obovata2 / 2
0.98   Switchback right; CP #4, elevation 6153 feet (1875 m)
0.98l  (AGA Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis)
1.01   Trail curves right 90°.
1.05   Switchback left
1.08   Switchback right; CP #5, elevation 6073 feet (1851 m); cross into Hermit Shale, thickness 300 feet here, just below this point
1.12b84 GROtrumpet gooseberryRibes leptanthum50 / 9
1.12   Switchback left
1.16   Switchback right; CP #6, elevation 6007 feet (1831 m)
1.17r85 ANAskunkbush with nearly entire leafRhus trilobata20 / 6
1.17r  Check for Thelypodium integrifolium (sepals erect in bloom, not spreading)
1.20   Switchback left.
1.24   Switchback right; CP #7, elevation 5946 feet (1812 m)
1.27   Cross drainage
1.27r  Ribes leptanthum (on left, white flowers) and R. velutinum (on right, yellow flowers) side by side.
1.27r86 PORnarrow-leaved miner's lettuceClaytonia parviflora ssp. utahensis99 / 9
1.30   Switchback left; CP #8, elevation 5900 feet (1798 m)
1.30r  Jct. use path
1.31   Switchback right.
1.33r87 RANbarestem larkspurDelphinium scaposum10 / 5
1.35r  Jct. use path
1.35r88 RANvirgin's bowerClematis ligusticifolia2 / 1
1.42l89?POAwestern wheatgrass?Pascopyrum smithii?3 / 1
1.47r90 OLEfragrant ashFraxinus cuspidata30 / 9
1.48   Trail bends right 90°; CP #9, elevation 5780 feet (1762 m)
1.51r91 MALgooseberryleaf globemallowSphaeralcea grossulariifolia50 / 9
1.53l  (AGA closest Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis)
1.54r92 BRAwallflowerErysimum capitatum var. purshii5 / 3
1.54r  (SEL spike-moss, Selaginella mutica)
1.55   Trail curves right at ridge
1.56r93 SCREaton's penstemonPenstemon eatonii ssp. undosus20 / 9
1.57r94 ASTtidy fleabaneErigeron concinnus50 / 9
    Check for Argemone arizonica "above and below trail here"
1.58r  1.5 mile Resthouse; CP "(1.5 mile) resthouse", elevation 5714 feet (1742 m)
1.58r95 FABwestern redbudCercis orbiculata1 / 1
1.59   Cross drainage
1.60r96 CACMojave prickly-pearOpuntia erinacea3 / 3
1.62r  Jct. short trail to the 1.5 mile restrooms; switchback left; CP #10, elevation 5692 feet (1735 m)
1.64   Cross drainage again
1.64l97 SCRcommon mulleinVerbascum thapsus2 / 1
1.67l  (CRO, spiny greasebush, Glossopetalon spinescens var. aridum)
1.68   Cross into Supai Group, thickness 950 feet here
1.70   Trail curves left 90°; CP #11, elevation 5644 feet (1720 m)
1.70l98 CROspiny greasebushGlossopetalon spinescens var. aridum20 / 9
1.71r99 ASTlongleaf brickellbushBrickellia longifolia99 / 9
1.75r  Check for different prickly-pear
1.77   "Shade View" - overhanging boulders giving shade with a great view.
1.80   Trail curves left 90°; CP #12, elevation 5582 feet (1701 m)
1.81l100 SELspike-mossSelaginella mutica1 / 1
1.91   Long switchback right at main drainage; CP #13, elevation 5518 feet (1682 m)
1.93l101 OLEsingle-leaf ashFraxinus anomala10 / 5
1.95l102 ASTgreenstem paperflowerPsilostrophe sparsiflora5 / 2
1.95l103 HYDnarrow phaceliaPhacelia filiformis20 / 3
1.95l104 POLeyed giliaGilia ophthalmoides2 / 2
1.95l105 SCRUtah penstemonPenstemon utahensis20 / 7
1.95r106 POAJames' galletaPleuraphis jamesii1 / 1
1.99r107~POAMormon needlegrassAchnatherum aridum20 / 5
2.00l108 POA*red bromeBromus rubens10 / 1
2.01l ? Shrub with opposite leaves and square stems; check pix; Fraxinus??1 / 1
2.01   Switchback right at 2 mile corner; CP #14, elevation 5443 feet (1659 m)
2.03l109 NYCgiant four o'clockMirabilis multiflora20 / 5
2.04r110 POA*ripgut bromeBromus diandrus30 / 9
2.10   Long switchback left at red amphitheater in main drainage; CP #15, elevation 5407 feet (1648 m)
2.10l ?(Lupine? Or different Penstemon?)
2.18r111~POAParish needlegrassAchnatherum parishii20 / 9
2.20r112? unk herb resembling Epilobium in CA, similar to Comandra umbellata ssp. pallida but with clasping leaves?10 / 1
2.25   Switchback left; CP #16, elevation 5305 feet (1617 m)
2.25r  Jct. with what looks like a previous segment of the Bright Angel Trail
2.33   Switchback right; CP #17, elevation 5244 feet (1598 m)
2.33r  BRAperennial rock-cress with gallsArabis perennans /
2.37r  ANAskunkbush with 3 lobed leafRhus trilobata /
2.39   Switchback left; CP #18, elevation 5197 feet (1584 m)
2.42r113 BRAwhitetopCardaria draba20 / 1
2.42r114 AGAKaibab century plantAgave utahensis var. kaibabensis1 / 1
2.43l ? (Bush with 4 yellow petals)? /
2.43   Switchback right; CP #19, elevation 5165 feet (1574 m)
2.48   Switchback left; CP #20, elevation 5133 feet (1565 m)
2.50r115 BRAhairy-podded pepper-grassLepidium lasiocarpum var. lasiocarpum20 / 5
2.52   Switchback right; CP #21, 5097 feet (1554 m)
2.58   Trail curves left 90° at side drainage; CP #22, 5056 feet (1541 m)
2.58r  (FAB bush peavine, Lathyrus brachycalyx ssp. zionis)
2.64l116 FAGshrub live oakQuercus turbinella10 / 2
2.68   Switchback left, CP #23, elevation 4978 feet (1517 m)
2.71   Switchback right; CP #24, elevation 4955 feet (1510 m)
2.75   Curve left 90°.
2.77l117 ASTMojave woodyasterXylorhiza tortifolia20 / 9
2.77   Curve right 90°.
2.78   Switchback left, CP #25, elevation 4897 feet (1493 m)
2.84   Switchback right at drainage; CP #26, elevation 4855 feet (1480 m)
    Check for Argemone munita vouchered from "4800 feet" here
2.90   Curve right 90°.
2.90r118 FABTorrey's milkvetchAstragalus calycosus10 / 1
2.91r119 FABbush peavineLathyrus brachycalyx ssp. zionis2 / 1
2.95   Curve left 90°.
3.01   Jct. short path to 3 mile Resthouse; CP "(3 mile) Resthouse", elevation 4733 feet (1443 m)
3.03   Switchback left.
3.07l120 ULMnetleaf hackberryCeltis laevigata var. reticulata1 / 1
3.09   Switchback right; CP #27, elevation 4663 feet (1422 m); enter Redwall Limestone, thickness 450 feet here
3.12r121 BRArose bladderpodLesquerella purpurea30 / 7
3.13   Switchback left.
3.15   Switchback right.
3.16   Switchback left.
3.21   Switchback right.
3.22   Curve right 90°.
3.23   Switchback left.
3.26   Curve left 90°.
3.29   Switchback right at the closest part of the trail to the "Petrified Snow" (caused by falling rocks chipping off the red coat on the Redwall Limestone due to the Supai Group above, exposing the natural gray/white color). CP #28, 4512 feet (1375 m)
3.30l122 ASTwire-lettuceStephanomeria pauciflora /
3.32   Curve right 90°.
3.34   Switchback left.
3.36   Curve left 90°.
3.38   Switchback right.
3.40   Curve right 90°.
3.41   Switchback left.
3.44   Switchback right; CP #29, elevation 4396 feet (1340 m)
3.45   Trail curves left 90° and crosses small drainage
3.45   Rest of guide not yet updated from 5/6/08 fieldwork
3.50   Enter Temple Butte Limestone; thickness 35 feet here
3.52l123 POAside-oats gramaBouteloua curtipendula50 / 9
3.55r  ANAsimple-leaved basketbushRhus trilobata var. simplicifolia2 / 2
3.62   Switchback right; CP #30, elevation 4255 feet (1297 m)
3.62r124~ASTresin brittlebushEncelia resinifera ssp. resinifera20 / 5
3.65r125~ASTrush rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. juncea /
3.65l126~EUPwestern bernardiaBernardia incana3 / 2
3.69   Long switchback left, cross good-sized side drainage; CP #31, elevation 4208 feet (1283 m); enter Muav Limestone, thickness 375 feet here. Below here, the trail is mostly on alluvial deposits, and the Muav Limestone and the Bright Angel Shale, thickness 350 feet, are not evident.
3.69l  (Check for different needlegrass, Achnatherum sp.)
3.69l127 PAPRoaring Springs prickly-poppyArgemone arizonica1 / 1
3.70l  Check these plants to see if they are young fourwing saltbush, same as the next species
3.73r128 CHEfourwing saltbushAtriplex canescens1 / 1
3.73r129spPOAneedlegrass?Achnatherum (scribneri?)5 / 1
3.73r130 POLdesert trumpetEriogonum inflatum3 / 1
    End plant trail guide; following are just landmarks to Indian Gardens
3.92   Cross creekbed, with high-pressure water pipe elevated on left; CP #32, elevation 4093 feet (1248 m)
4.09   Curve left 90°, cross streambed, then turn right 90°; CP #33, elevation 4029 feet (1228 m)
4.12   Switchback right (only ~90°)
4.36   Cross creekbed; CP #34, elevation 3884 feet (1184 m)
4.40   Sign: "Indian Gardens" (arrow pointing downhill)
4.41   Sign: "The plants you see here are the living desert. They grow by the inch and die by the foot".
    Additional species from a plant list for Upper Bright Angel Trail provided by Lori Makarick:
    PAPprickly poppyArgemone munita /
    POLlongleaf phloxPhlox longifolia /
    ROSinterior roseRosa woodsii var. ultramontana /

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Copyright © 2007-2012 by Tom Chester, Anne Kelly, Kate Watters, Lauren Berutich and Brendan Crill.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 3 July 2012.