Bright Angel Creek
Bright Angel Creek, flowing down the longest tributary canyon, joins the Colorado River at about 88 miles, a welcome oasis. John Wesley Powell and his crew rested here for several days in 1869, and Powell named the creek Bright Angel for its clear and gentle waters. (The predam Colorado River was so laden with silt that pioneers joked it was “too thin to plow, too thick to drink.”)
Powell’s men weren’t the first—or the last—to appreciate this peaceful spot. The Ancestral Puebloans settled near the confluence, building a small L-shaped pueblo. Trail builder David Rust established a camp here in the early 1900s, connecting his North Rim trail to trails from the South Rim via a cableway. He planted cottonwood trees and rented tents to guests, including Theodore Roosevelt.
After Grand Canyon became a national park in 1919, visitation increased, and the Santa Fe Railway decided to build a lodge on the site.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition