Cassie and Erik plan to visit this summer and want to backpack into the Grand Canyon for a three or four days. Thought I'd better get some first hand experience. My friend Pati (who has been hiking the canyon for 20 years) and I took a hike on Bright Angel Trail down into the canyon today as far as Indian Garden and back, a ten mile round trip and a 3060 foot descent from the rim. We started about 10:00 am and got back to the trailhead about 6:00 pm. There was plenty of water and electrolytes but I should have carbo loaded more carefully. Bright Angel is one of two ways to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. The Kaibab Trail is shorter and steeper but offers no shade or water. Some folks prefer it for the descent. Bright Angel has shade and water and is recommended for the ascent, especially in the afternoon.
PS, the fudge brownie sundae at the Bright Angel Lodge Restaurant is a perfect reward for a day well spent.