This route to Hermit Rapids descends along a well-used trail through Hermit Canyon. The route is obscured in a few places by rock slides in the Supai Sandstone. This is a challenging and scenic way to enter or leave the canyon. At the northern end of this route is Hermit Rapids some of the largest along the Colorado.
Begin this hike from the end of West Rim Drive at Hermits Rest. The trail leads southwestward at the start. It descends through the upper stratum of the canyon along a meticulously carved stairway. The trail work along the upper section of this trail is a testament to the long hours in the hot sun that were spent creating it in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Slightly less than a mile and a half from the trailhead this route reaches the Waldron Trail. Waldron leads southward toward Horsethief Tank. At this junction follow the Hermit Trail to the right as it continues southwestward for a short distance. It soon turns sharply northward to meet the Dripping Springs Trail. At this junction stay to the right to continue along the Hermit Trail.
At this point the trail reaches the head of Hermit Canyon. It begins descending the eastern wall of the drainage through the Supai Sandstone. Less than a mile from the Dripping Springs Trail the Hermit Trail reaches Santa Maria Springs, elevation 4,880 feet. Below this rest area the trail continues to descend along the eastern wall of the canyon. In the morning this section of trail is shaded from the sun. During the afternoon this section of trail is fully exposed.
After Santa Maria Springs the trail the trail continues through the Supai Sandstone crossing a few rock slide areas and passing Four Mile Spring before reaching the Redwall Formation. The trail leads across the deep red sandstone before reaching the tight switchbacks of Cathedral Stairs.
After descending through the Redwall Sandstone the trail contours westward on to the Tonto Platform, descending, but less steeply. The trail soon meets the Tonto Trail and turns left along a portion of the route where the Hermit and Tonto Trails follow the same path. One mile from the Tonto Junction the track reaches Hermit Camp. At this point the Tonto Trail leads westward and the Hermit Trail turns northward following Hermit Creek.
The route becomes rocky as it descends through the lower Hermit Creek Canyon. It parallels the creek one and a half miles to the Colorado River. Backpackers should not use Hermit Creek as a water source due to high fecal coli counts. Santa Maria Spring and the Colorado River make the best water sources along this route.
Directions: From South Entrance Station, Drive northward on South Entrance Drive to the East Rim Drive/West Rim Drive junction. Bear left on to West Rim Drive and follow it 8 miles, through Grand Canyon Village, to Hermits Rest. The West Rim Drive is open to private vehicles from October through March. At all other times a free shuttle takes visitors to Hermits Rest.
Elevation: 6,640 feet
Ending Elevation: 2,400 feet
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West Rim Drive, 8 miles west of Grand Canyon Village
Trailhead near Hermit's Rest
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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