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


This plant guide has been updated from the field work on 4-6 May 2008, 22 August 2008, 24 April 2009 and 3 September 2013, but the text of this page has not yet been updated for the numerous additions found in the later fieldwork.

See also iNaturalist observations for the Bright Angel Trail from the Rim to Indian Gardens.

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.

We thank Adrienne Ballwey and Mike Crouse for help with the survey of the first 0.80 miles on 3 September 2013.

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.

(*)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.

Other pages with links to pictures and descriptions of these species

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?(*)Common NameScientific Name#Pls
0.00Begin 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
0.00b1two-needle pinyon pinePinus edulis50 / 9
0.00l2pinyon pine dwarf-mistletoeArceuthobium divaricatum2 / 2
0.00b3desert gooseberryRibes velutinum99 / 9
0.00b4whisky currantRibes cereum var. pedicellare99 / 9
0.00b5hoary-asterMachaeranthera canescens50 / 9
0.00b6Wright's thelypodyThelypodium wrightii10 / 3
0.00r7*common mallowMalva neglecta10 / 2
0.00b8*downy bromeBromus tectorum99 / 9
0.00r9Gambel oakQuercus gambelii50 / 9
0.00b10smooth spreading four o'clockMirabilis oxybaphoides50 / 9
0.00r11*knotweedPolygonum arenastrum5 / 2
0.00r12*herb sophiaDescurainia sophia99 / 9
0.00r13*crossflowerChorispora tenella99 / 9
0.00r14common pepper-grassLepidium densiflorum5 / 1
0.00b15threadleaf common rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. oreophila50 / 9
0.00r16snowberrySymphoricarpos oreophilus99 / 9
0.00r17perennial rock-cressArabis perennans40 / 9
0.00r18*curveseed butterwortCeratocephala testiculata99 / 9
0.00b19Powell's amaranthAmaranthus powellii20 / 2
0.00r20Utah service-berryAmelanchier utahensis99 / 9
0.00l21Utah juniperJuniperus osteosperma20 / 9
0.01rSign: "Mesozoic Rock Formations / Kaibab Limestone"
0.02b22*tumbling oracleAtriplex rosea40 / 2
0.02l23*tumble pigweedAmaranthus albus5 / 2
0.02b24matchweedGutierrezia sarothrae5 / 2
0.02r25littleleaf globe mallowSphaeralcea parvifolia30 / 9
0.02l26~prairie sunflowerHelianthus petiolaris1 / 1
0.02l27*horehoundMarrubium vulgare20 / 5
0.03l28fern bushChamaebatiaria millefolium10 / 9
0.03l29*Russian thistleSalsola tragus20 / 3
0.03r(AST California brickellbush, Brickellia californica)
0.03b30*foxtail barleyHordeum murinum99 / 9
0.04r31*Klamath pepper-grassLepidium perfoliatum99 / 9
0.04b32California brickellbushBrickellia californica99 / 9
0.04rJct. path from Kolb Studio
0.05r33slender wheatgrassElymus trachycaulus50 / 9
0.05r34squirreltailElymus elymoides30 / 9
0.05r35*catnipNepeta cataria20 / 3
0.05r36Palmer's penstemonPenstemon palmeri10 / 2
0.05r37silver wormwoodArtemisia ludoviciana99 / 9
0.05r38Virginia creeperParthenocissus vitacea1 / 1
0.05rSign: "Bright Angel Trail and Grand Canyon Information"
0.05r39Arizona thistleCirsium arizonicum var. nidulum30 / 9
0.05Switchback left
0.06r40*London rocketSisymbrium irio10 / 3
0.08rSign: "When mules pass"
0.08r41Fremont's goosefootChenopodium fremontii20 / 5
0.08r(POA mutton grass, Poa fendleriana)
0.09l42beautiful aster Eurybia pulchra99 / 9
0.09l43Grand Canyon rock-daisyPerityle congesta50 / 9
0.09r44mutton grassPoa fendleriana99 / 9
0.10l45creeping barberryMahonia repens20 / 5
0.12l46Grand 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)
0.15r47big sagebrushArtemisia tridentata30 / 9
0.15First Tunnel; Indian pictographs on rim far above trail can be seen after the tunnel
0.15l(CAC Mojave prickly-pear, Opuntia erinacea)
0.15r(EPH green ephedra, Ephedra viridis; AGA Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis; CAC desert prickly-pear, Opuntia phaeacantha; far off-trail: ROS rock spiraea, Petrophyton caespitosum)
0.16b48beaked penstemonPenstemon rostriflorus10 / 5
0.16l49Fendler's meadow-rueThalictrum fendleri55 / 9
0.16r50flatspine stickseedLappula occidentalis var. occidentalis30 / 9
0.17l51Wright's bedstrawGalium wrightii2 / 2
0.20l52fragrant snakerootAgeratina herbacea30 / 5
0.21r53pallid hoptreePtelea trifoliata ssp. pallida var. pallida50 / 9
0.22l54alfalfaMedicago sativa1 / 1
0.23rSign: "Do not attempt to hike to the bottom and back in one day…"
0.23Switchback left at ridge, then S curve in trail
0.23r55shepherd's purseCapsella bursa-pastoris10 / 3
0.23r56black sagebrushArtemisia novax / 1
0.25l(banana yucca, Yucca baccata; Cooper’s rubberweed, Hymenoxys cooperi; southern mountain phlox, Phlox austromontana)
0.25l57rock whitefeatherIvesia arizonica40 / 2
0.25r58Utah fendlerbushFendlerella utahensis1 / 1
0.26l59wallflowerErysimum capitatum var. purshii5 / 3
0.26l60*annual blue grassPoa annua1 / 1
0.27l61Cooper’s rubberweedHymenoxys cooperi5 / 2
0.28r(ROS Apache plume, Fallugia paradoxa)
0.29Cross Bright Angel Fault onto Toroweap Redbeds, thickness 250 feet here
0.29l(Rocky Mountain Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)
0.30l62Munz's bedstrawGalium munzii ssp. ambivalens40 / 9
0.30l63coral bellsHeuchera rubescens var. versicolor4 / 4
0.30l64Drummond's false pennyroyalHedeoma drummondii1 / 1
0.30l65~Aspen onionAllium bisceptrum var. palmeri5 / 1
0.33b66Simpson's buckwheatEriogonum microthecum var. simpsonii50 / 9
0.33r67Indian ricegrassAchnatherum hymenoides40 / 9
0.34r68green ephedraEphedra viridis50 / 9
0.36l69cliffrosePurshia stansburiana20 / 9
0.36l70Basin butterweedPackera multilobata3 / 2
0.36l71*Bermuda grassCynodon dactylon5 / 1
0.36r72yellow spiny daisyMachaeranthera gracilisx / 1
0.37b73~slender cryptanthaCryptantha gracilis20 / 3
0.38r74Rocky Mountain Douglas firPseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca10 / 3
0.39l75sticky snakeweedGutierrezia microcephala30 / 9
0.39r76freckled milk-vetchAstragalus lentiginosus var. diphysus1 / 1
0.39l77Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii3 / 1
0.39b78Fremont barberryMahonia fremontii10 / 9
0.40Switchback 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.
0.41l79sand dropseedSporobolus cryptandrus10 / 1
0.41r80*smooth bromeBromus inermis99 / 9
0.43l81banana yuccaYucca baccata10 / 9
0.43r(SCR Eaton's penstemon, Penstemon eatonii ssp. undosus)
0.44r82desert prickly-pearOpuntia phaeacantha5 / 5
0.44r83rose heathChaetopappa ericoides20 / 6
0.50Cross Bright Angel Fault back onto Kaibab Limestone
0.51r84Fendler bushFendlera rupicola40 / 9
0.54r85shrubby cream bushHolodiscus dumosus10 / 3
0.54l(CAC claret cup, Echinocereus triglochidiatus)
0.55l(CAP blueberry elder, Sambucus glauca)
0.55r(POA Richardson's brome, Bromus richardsonii)
0.55rContact between the Kaibab and Toroweap Formations
0.58r86wild candytuftThlaspi montanum var. fendleri8 / 3
0.59r87Eaton's penstemonPenstemon eatonii ssp. undosus20 / 9
0.59r(SCR, *common mullein, Verbascum thapsus)
0.60l88~blueberry elderSambucus glauca1 / 1
0.61l89~narrow-leaf four o'clockMirabilis linearis2 / 1
0.62r90spfleabaneErigeron sp.x / x
0.63r91scrambled eggsCorydalis aurea5 / 2
0.64r92southern mountain phloxPhlox austromontana10 / 5
0.66r~(SEL spike-moss, Selaginella mutica)
0.67r93?vine with alternate leavesMaurandella antirrhiniflora? /
0.70lJct. use path
0.71lJct. use path
0.72rKolb Seep Springs
0.72r94~curly dockRumex crispus1 / 1
0.73Switchback left; CP #2, elevation 6364 feet (1940 m)
0.80l95spiny greasebushGlossopetalon spinescens var. aridum20 / 9
0.86l96Knowlton hop hornbeamOstrya knowltonii30 / 9
0.87Second Tunnel, through hardened Bright Angel Fault, CP "Tunnel (#2)", elevation 6248 feet (1904 m). Cross into Coconino Sandstone, thickness 350 feet here
0.89lGrand Canyon rock-daisy, Perityle congesta, with ovate leaves (earlier plants had narrowly-elliptic leaves)
0.90Switchback 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)
0.96Switchback left
0.98l97birchleaf buckthornFrangula betulifolia ssp. obovata2 / 2
0.98Switchback right; CP #4, elevation 6153 feet (1875 m)
0.98l(AGA Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis)
1.01Trail curves right 90°.
1.05Switchback left
1.08Switchback right; CP #5, elevation 6073 feet (1851 m); cross into Hermit Shale, thickness 300 feet here, just below this point
1.12b98trumpet gooseberryRibes leptanthum50 / 9
1.12Switchback left
1.16Switchback right; CP #6, elevation 6007 feet (1831 m)
1.17r99skunkbushRhus trilobata20 / 6
1.17rCheck for Thelypodium integrifolium (sepals erect in bloom, not spreading)
1.20Switchback left.
1.24Switchback right; CP #7, elevation 5946 feet (1812 m)
1.27Cross drainage
1.27rRibes leptanthum (on left, white flowers) and R. velutinum (on right, yellow flowers) side by side.
1.27r100narrow-leaved miner's lettuceClaytonia parviflora ssp. utahensis99 / 9
1.30Switchback left; CP #8, elevation 5900 feet (1798 m)
1.30rJct. use path
1.31Switchback right.
1.33r101barestem larkspurDelphinium scaposum10 / 5
1.35rJct. two use paths
1.35r102virgin's bowerClematis ligusticifolia2 / 1
1.42l103?western wheatgrass?Pascopyrum smithii?3 / 1
1.47r104fragrant ashFraxinus cuspidata30 / 9
1.48Trail bends right 90°; CP #9, elevation 5780 feet (1762 m)
1.51r105gooseberryleaf globemallowSphaeralcea grossulariifolia50 / 9
1.53l(AGA closest Kaibab century plant, Agave utahensis var. kaibabensis)
1.54r(SEL spike-moss, Selaginella mutica)
1.55Trail curves right at ridge
1.57r106tidy fleabaneErigeron concinnus50 / 9
Voucher of Argemone arizonica "above and below trail here", but I haven’t found it
1.58r1.5 mile Resthouse; CP "(1.5 mile) resthouse", elevation 5714 feet (1742 m)
1.58r107western redbudCercis orbiculata1 / 1
1.59Cross drainage
Check for Ephedra torreyana (lvs in 3s)
1.60r108Mojave prickly-pearOpuntia erinacea3 / 3
1.62rJct. short trail to the 1.5 mile restrooms; switchback left; CP #10, elevation 5692 feet (1735 m)
1.64Cross drainage again; Indian pictographs above the trail somewhere before 2 mile corner
1.64l109common mulleinVerbascum thapsus2 / 1
1.68Cross into Supai Group, thickness 950 feet here
1.70Trail curves left 90°; CP #11, elevation 5644 feet (1720 m)
1.71r110longleaf brickellbushBrickellia longifolia99 / 9
1.75rCheck for different prickly-pear
1.77"Shade View" - overhanging boulders giving shade with a great view.
1.80Trail curves left 90°; CP #12, elevation 5582 feet (1701 m)
1.81l111spike-mossSelaginella mutica1 / 1
1.91Long switchback right at main drainage; CP #13, elevation 5518 feet (1682 m)
1.91l(Check for FAB bush peavine, Lathyrus brachycalyx ssp. zionis)
1.93l112single-leaf ashFraxinus anomala10 / 5
1.95l113greenstem paperflowerPsilostrophe sparsiflora5 / 2
1.95l114narrow phaceliaPhacelia filiformis20 / 3
1.95l115eyed giliaGilia ophthalmoides2 / 2
1.95l116Utah penstemonPenstemon utahensis20 / 7
1.95r117James' galletaPleuraphis jamesii1 / 1
1.99r118~Mormon needlegrassAchnatherum aridum20 / 5
2.00l119*red bromeBromus rubens10 / 1
2.01Switchback right at 2 mile corner; CP #14, elevation 5443 feet (1659 m)
2.03l120giant four o'clockMirabilis multiflora20 / 5
2.04r121*ripgut bromeBromus diandrus30 / 9
2.10Long switchback left at red amphitheater in main drainage; CP #15, elevation 5407 feet (1648 m)
2.10l?(Lupine? Or different Penstemon?)
2.18r122~Parish needlegrassAchnatherum parishii20 / 9
2.20r123?Pale Bastard Toad-flax?Comandra umbellata ssp. pallida?10 / 1
2.25Switchback left; CP #16, elevation 5305 feet (1617 m)
2.25rJct. with what looks like a previous segment of the Bright Angel Trail
2.33Switchback right; CP #17, elevation 5244 feet (1598 m)
2.39Switchback left; CP #18, elevation 5197 feet (1584 m)
2.42r124whitetopCardaria draba20 / 1
2.42r125Kaibab century plantAgave utahensis var. kaibabensis1 / 1
2.43l126black brushColeogyne ramosissima1 / 1
2.43Switchback right; CP #19, elevation 5165 feet (1574 m)
2.48Switchback left; CP #20, elevation 5133 feet (1565 m)
2.50r127hairy-podded pepper-grassLepidium lasiocarpum var. lasiocarpum20 / 5
2.52Switchback right; CP #21, 5097 feet (1554 m)
2.58Trail curves left 90° at side drainage; CP #22, 5056 feet (1541 m)
2.58r(FAB bush peavine, Lathyrus brachycalyx ssp. zionis)
2.64l128shrub live oakQuercus turbinella10 / 2
2.68Switchback left, CP #23, elevation 4978 feet (1517 m)
2.71Switchback right; CP #24, elevation 4955 feet (1510 m)
2.74129sacred daturaDatura wrightiiiN / 2
2.75Curve left 90°.
2.77l130Mojave woodyasterXylorhiza tortifolia20 / 9
2.77Curve right 90°.
2.78Switchback left, CP #25, elevation 4897 feet (1493 m)
2.84Switchback right at drainage; CP #26, elevation 4855 feet (1480 m)
Check for Argemone munita vouchered from "4800 feet" here
2.90Curve right 90°.
2.90r131Torrey's milkvetchAstragalus calycosus10 / 1
2.91r132bush peavineLathyrus brachycalyx ssp. zionis2 / 1
2.95Curve left 90°.
3.01Jct. short path to 3 mile Resthouse; CP "(3 mile) Resthouse", elevation 4733 feet (1443 m)
3.01r133needle & thread grassHesperostipa comata10 / 2
3.03Switchback left.
3.07l134~trailing fleabaneErigeron flagellaris5 / 1
3.07l135netleaf hackberryCeltis laevigata var. reticulata1 / 1
3.09Switchback right; CP #27, elevation 4663 feet (1422 m); enter Redwall Limestone, thickness 450 feet here
3.12r136rose bladderpodLesquerella purpurea30 / 7
3.13Switchback left.
3.15Switchback right.
3.16Switchback left.
3.21Switchback right.
3.22Curve right 90°.
3.23Switchback left.
3.26Curve left 90°.
3.28137snapdragon vineMaurandella antirrhinifloraiN / 3
3.28138resin brittlebushEncelia resinifera ssp. resinifera30 / 7
3.29Switchback right at the closest part of the trail to the "Petrified Snow". CP #28, 4512 feet (1375 m)
3.30l139wire-lettuceStephanomeria pauciflora /
3.32Curve right 90°.
3.34Switchback left.
3.36Curve left 90°.
3.38Switchback right.
3.40Curve right 90°.
3.41Switchback left.
3.44Switchback right; CP #29, elevation 4396 feet (1340 m)
3.45Trail curves left 90° and crosses small drainage
3.46r140brownfootAcourtia wrightii2 / 2
3.46r141California hedge-parsleyYabea microcarpa2 / 1
3.46r142common bedstrawGalium aparine1 / 1
3.50Enter Temple Butte Limestone; thickness 35 feet here
3.51r143turpentine broomThamnosma montana2 / 1
3.51l144longleaf phloxPhlox longifolia30 / 9
3.52l145side-oats gramaBouteloua curtipendula50 / 9
3.59146nodding scorpionflowerPhacelia laxifloraiN /
3.61r147~rush rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. juncea1 / 1
3.61l148poison milkweedAsclepias subverticillata1 / 1
3.61l149winding mariposaCalochortus flexuosus10 / 2
3.61l150Patagonia plantainPlantago patagonica10 / 1
3.61l151red three-awnAristida purpurea var. longiseta10 / 2
3.62Switchback right; CP #30, elevation 4255 feet (1297 m)
3.65152?unk spiny shrublike Prunus fremontii /
3.65l153western bernardiaBernardia incana3 / 2
3.65l154??Like a shrubby Artemisia ludoviciana with entire leaves /
3.69Long 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.
3.69l155Roaring Springs prickly-poppyArgemone arizonica1 / 1
3.70lCheck these plants to see if they are young fourwing saltbush
3.72l156Apache plumeFallugia paradoxa5 / 2
3.72b157desert trumpetEriogonum inflatum10 / 1
3.73r158fourwing saltbushAtriplex canescens1 / 1
3.74r159spBuckwheat with terminal inflEriogonum sp.x /
3.75r160wing-nut cryptanthaCryptantha pterocaryax /
3.75r161silver puffsUropappus lindleyi1 / 1
3.75End my plant trail guide; following are landmarks to Indian Gardens along with some iNat observations
3.92Cross creekbed, with high-pressure water pipe elevated on left; CP #32, elevation 4093 feet (1248 m)
4.02162catclawAcacia greggiiiN /
4.09Curve left 90°, cross streambed, then turn right 90°; CP #33, elevation 4029 feet (1228 m)
4.12Switchback right (only ~90°)
4.36Cross creekbed; CP #34, elevation 3884 feet (1184 m)
4.40Sign: "Indian Gardens" (arrow pointing downhill)
4.41Sign: "The plants you see here are the living desert. They grow by the inch and die by the foot".
4.59163common reedPhragmites australisiN /
4.59164Fremont cottonwoodPopulus fremontiiiN /
4.59165Canyon wild grapeVitis arizonicaiN /
4.66166water cressRorippa nasturtium-aquaticumiN /
Species only present off-trail are listed here
0.13167ponderosa pinePinus ponderosa /
0.15r168rock spiraeaPetrophyton caespitosum /
0.54l169claret cupEchinocereus triglochidiatus /
0.55r170fringed bromeBromus richardsonii /
Additional species from a plant list for Upper Bright Angel Trail provided by Lori Makarick:
Lori171prickly poppyArgemone munita /
Lori172interior roseRosa woodsii var. ultramontana /

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Copyright © 2007-2019 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 25 August 2019.