Hermit Trail in the Grand Canyon National Park is one of the lesser visited trails at GCNP when compared to Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails. The hike is located a quick walk from the Hermit Rest area on the west side of the South Rim off Grand Canyon Village.
How To Get There
I highly recommend taking the shuttle from the Grand Canyon Village since the walk on the Rim Trail would take quite some time and would wear you out before tackling an already strenuous hike.
The shuttles in the Grand Canyon are free and are the best way of covering ground fast across the park. You are able to jump on the Blue Line from the Village and connect to the Red Line that will take you all the way to Hermits Rest area.
The trailhead is located really close to the actual shuttle drop off but its hidden away enough that most “casual” visitors wont know its even there.
One big piece of advice is to get all your hydration and restroom issues taken care off at the rest area. Once you leave the rest area there is no potable water on Hermits Trail and no restrooms so when nature calls lets hope no one is around!
The start of Hermits Trail follows a gravel path that quickly turns into steep switchbacks offering some great canyon views on the way down. The entire trail can lead you to the Colorado River which would entail a rather intense day hike which is why most people who choose to hike all the way down spend the night there.
In order to camp at the bottom you must get a backcountry permit which sell out fast so if that interest you make sure to check the NPS Grand Canyon website for reservation windows.
I would recommend an easier 5-8 hour hike that entails about 5 miles round trip and still offers some great views and hiking.
Santa Maria Spring
The Santa Maria Spring is roughly 2.5 miles from the trailhead and while not a long hike depending on the time of year can be a very challenging hike. When I visited during the summer months of June and July you can expect scorching heat that only gets worse as you descend. You can easily see temps hitting above 100 fahrenheit in the summer months and with no water and lack of shade things can get dicey fast.
The one thing people also need to remember is the first 2.5 miles include close to 2,000 feet of elevation meaning get ready for a steep hike on the way out. I do recommend hiking poles since they are a lifesaver on steep terrain.
There is a shelter and water spout at the Santa Maria but unless things have changed they encourage everyone to filter/treat any water they get at this rest area. That is partly the reason I encourage everyone to bring all the water they need unless they already have water treatment tabs or a filter like a Sawyer.
I personally did not make it past Santa Maria Spring and decided to turn around since I was planning on hiking down Bright Angel the next day. I was trying to preserve my legs as best I could and thought a 5 mile round trip would suffice.
If I am honest those five miles felt closer to ten after it was all said and done. Like I have mentioned before hiking in the Grand Canyon sets up new challenges where the second half of the hike tends to be the hardest. This is unlike hiking up a mountain where you get to let gravity take you down hill and ease some of the work.
Overall I would like to encourage anyone visiting GCNP to add Hermits Trail to their list of hikes while in the park. The biggest selling point to Hermits Trail will always be the lack of people on this trail which really lets you enjoy the Grand Canyon unlike some of the other more popular trails. If you are lucky you might be able to do this trail with just running into one or two other hikers or maybe see no one!
Have you visited the Grand Canyon? Did you do Hermits Trail Hike?What was your favorite hike?
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