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Hermit Trail, AZ

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2.1k 197 7
Guide 197 Triplogs  7 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
Rated
4.3
4.3 of 5 by 52
 
10
Statistics
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,630 feet
Elevation Gain -3,400 feet
Avg Time One Way 3-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.67
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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18  2019-01-02
GC Loop Hermit Tonto Bright Angel
bretinthewild
12  2018-12-08 LindaAnn
44  2018-11-09 mt98dew
33  2018-09-21
Monument - Hermit Creek
BiFrost
29  2017-05-26
BA Tonto Monument Hermit
survivordude
1  2017-04-22
Hermit Basin Jaunt
Hippy
20  2017-04-15
Boucher Hermit Loop
Tortoise_Hiker
19  2017-04-15
Boucher Hermit Loop
joebartels
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 13
Author whereveriroam
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 0
Photos 48
Trips 57 map ( 501 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Apache Junction, AZ
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Preferred   Nov, Feb, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
 
19 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Good Western Trail
by whereveriroam

This trail was improved in the early 20th century by the Sante Fe Railroad as an alternative to the Bright Angel trail. Before this became a trail it had been a route to the river by native Americans and was then partially improved by the early miners of the late 19th century. The reason why the Sante Fe RR decided to improve this trail was because the Bright Angel trail at the time was owned by a private party who charged a toll. The railroad didn't want to pay the toll so instead they put a lot of time and effort into improving the route into a trail. Parts of the incredible job they did can still be seen today. To make this a profitable foray they built a tourist camp by Hermit Creek and would mule tourists down this trail. Sometime in the early 1930's the Park Service acquired the Bright Angel trail and finished construction of the 2 Kaibab trails. The RR then decided to discontinue using the Hermit in favor of the other trails since they were much closer to their RR station.


The Hermit trail is a good choice as the next step of Grand Canyon hiking after completing the Bright Angel and South Kaibab loop. Even though it's not regularly maintained by the Park Service it is in real good shape and easy to follow. At the Hermits end, which is at the intersection with the Tonto trail you have a number of choices for further exploration of the canyon, I'll get to that later. Since this is an easily accessed trail you will encounter a good amount of tourists during the 1st portion of the hike but they will thin out around Hermit Basin and Santa Maria spring. On the bright side of that they don't number in size as they do at the top of the Bright Angel, S. Kaibab or even Grandview TH's. This is probably due to West Rim Drive being closed to private vehicles during tourist season requiring tourists and day hikers to take a shuttle bus to the TH. Those with a backpacking permit are given the access code to open the gate so they can park at the TH, don't forget to press # before entering the code!

Before I get into the trail description I'm going to give you a phrase to memorize and then speak briefly about a couple of the rock layers since I will mention all of the canyon's layers in this trip write up. I do have to say I'm by no means a geologist but I've been learning more from each trip I make. The phrase is; Know The Canyons History Study Rocks Made By Time. Now take the 1st letter in each of those words since they are the same as the 1st letter in the order of rock progression from rim to river and you get this;
K - Kaibab
T - Toroweap
C - Coconino
H - Hermit
S - Supai
R - Redwall
M - Muav
B - Bright Angel Shale
T - Tapeat's


Additionally there is one more layer and that's at river level and is called Vishnu Schist. Now what you should know that can help you is that the Supai and Redwall are typically the thickest and hardest levels to penetrate to access the inner canyon and river. Also the Redwall isn't necessarily a red hue but is actually grayish with the red coloring coming from staining from the Supai from up above. Both of these layers make those impressive walls of rock that you see all over the canyon.

The trailhead is located all the way at the end of West Rim Drive at Hermits Rest, you'll see a NPS information board next to the trail. The Hermit trail starts off briefly heading in a SW direction thru the Kaibab layer down a few switchbacks thru pinyon pines and junipers on this very well built trail. You will descend about 100'+ on this stretch into a drainage but just prior to reaching this drainage you change directions and will head NW and then N descending another 300'+ or so to a point. As you go around this point you will then again be heading in a SW direction and will get your 1st good view into the canyon as well as your 1st view into Hermit Basin 800' below, which is where your heading. Along this next stretch it's a gradual descent thru the Toroweap which looks a lot like the Kaibab layer but it is short lived and lasts only about 5-10 minutes. At the end of this minor traverse you will come to the 1st of many switchbacks. These take you down into Hermit Basin while passing thru the Coconino Sandstone level. Near the end of descent into Hermit Basin on your left side you may notice some slabs of Coconino Sandstone lying diagonally on the slope with a short 20' spur trail branching up the slope. If you look closely here there are small fossilized footprints embedded into the slabs!

As you enter Hermit Basin which is wooded with pinyon and juniper, you will be passing into the Hermit Shall level and at 1.5 miles from the TH you'll reach the signed intersection with the Waldron trail. I've haven't been on this trail as of this writing so I can't say what's there. As you reach this intersection turn back and look at what you've just hiked down. My 1st time I hiked out this trail I thought the above referred to point in the Toroweap layer which you will see was where the TH was, it's NOT! After passing the Waldron turn off the trail will change direction heading W and you'll encounter several switchbacks that'll take you down 200'-300' in a 1/4 mile crossing a wash to the Dripping Springs trail intersection. This is a good place to stash water if you plan on hiking out on the Boucher trail to close the Hermit/Tonto/Boucher loop. (The Boucher trail turnoff is 1 mile up the Dripping Springs trail on the other side of Hermit Canyon.) From this intersection you will head north on the Hermit a short distance along the west side of the wash. Although you've had views of the upper reaches of the western side of Hermit Canyon for some time, you haven't had a good look into Hermit Canyon but that will change soon since your at the headwall of it. 1st you have to descend a couple short switchbacks and re-cross the dry wash and enter onto the Supai level.

Once in the Supai you will start your 3 mile traverse along the eastern side of Hermit Canyon. You won't descend too much along this part, maybe 1000' or so with much of that coming along 2 stretches. The 1st of those 2 is pretty much right off the bat as you drop about 150'in a 1/4 - 1/2 mile down to Santa Maria spring and a rest house. During this stretch you will be able to see at times the rest house and locked stone outhouses below it as well as down into Hermit canyon. Once at the rest house go inside and enjoy the shade (it's cold in winter) or check out the spring. Basically the spring is a pipe coming out of the hillside feeding into a trough and even though I haven't seen it dry is unreliable. This rest house was built by the RR and they had a corral in the small flat area just below the rest house. It may be hard to believe but when you look across Hermit Canyon to the western wall the Boucher trail runs along it several 100' above you! Once you continue along after the rest house you will probably not encounter any more tourists. The pinyons and junipers you saw earlier on will now become less in number and size and give way to more desert type vegetation.

The trip along the Supai is uneventful and heads in a NE direction until about 2 miles past the rest house. You will change to a NW direction and come to the 1st of 2 saddles (if you can call them that) here and this is where the 2nd substantial descent thru the Supai is located. The descent is only 300' or so and will take you to the 2nd saddle called Lookout Point. Both of these saddles provide great resting spots since they allow you to get off the shelf you've been walking on and not that you haven't had great views by now but here your view of the canyon will really start to open up. Take out your topo here and see what G.C. landmarks you can identify, if your like me you won't remember any of the names anyway. I sure wished they named them after dead presidents, states or something easier. The trail will then head to the NE again after the 2nd saddle but prior to leaving Lookout Point you can look NE and see how some of the trail ahead goes. The last point on the Supai level to the NE you can see in the near distance is Breezy Point and that's going to be your last turn before you arrive to the top of the Redwall descent at Cathedral stairs. In back of that you'll see part of a long descending trail and that's also part of the Hermit trail.

Once you resume hiking you'll soon be able to see a foundation way below you, actually it's a corral. That is the area of Hermit Camp which I'll get to more later. As you approach Breezy Point and have traveled along the Supai since the rest house you will have encountered 3-4 rock slides total that have obscured small portions of the trail. I've read from other sources that these can be a problem, I found only 1 to be a small problem route finding and that was on the way up. If you get a little off track in these sections just stop and look for the trail further ahead, remember that this portion of the hike descends gradually except where I've mentioned and stays on the obvious eastern wall of Hermit Canyon. The rock fall I had a small problem with was when the trail starts to turn a little to the NW just prior to Breezy Point and was more from detour trails in that area. As you round Breezy Point and again head in a NE direction you will only have 2-3 minutes of hiking left until you reach the top of Cathedral Stairs. At the top of the stairs you'll be treated with the best view of the inner gorge and views to the east than at any other point on this trail thru a saddle of a rock called Cope Butte.

The Cathedral Stairs are a rapid series of about 25 switchbacks that drop you 400'-500' pretty quickly thru the Redwall. These are in great shape and well constructed but there is a bit of loose rock and that will be with you the rest of the way down to the Tonto JCT. Once at the bottom of the stairs you'll begin the descent of that long switchback thru the Muav layer that you have seen earlier on the west side and below Cope Butte. As I said earlier it will be a rocky and miserable descent and at the end of this long switchback there will be more but shorter switchbacks. What makes them so bad is the nature of these switchbacks they add 10-15 minutes to the hike in my opinion then a direct plunge to the Tonto would. Finally you'll arrive at the Tonto JCT and if curious from the top of the stairs to the JCT it's about 1 mile and a 1250' drop.You'll be in the Bright Angel Shale at the Tonto. When hiking out this trail I would recommend an early start so you can make the climb to the top of the Redwall in the shade since the Bright Angel shale bakes you when the sun is out and offers no shade.

You have several choices on where to go from here, I've been lucky and done them all. You can go east on the Tonto 15-20 miles to Indian Gardens from this JCT or head west on the Tonto. If you head west you'll come to a well defined trail junction in - mile and the trail that goes down obviously gets you into Hermit Creek, from here it's 1.5 miles to the river. If you stay on Tonto west in - mile you'll come to the corral you saw from way up above. I don't think many people realize this or are to tired but there's a trail in the back of the corral that leads UP and that takes you to what is left of the ghost town of Hermit Camp. There are ruins up there and worth checking out. Believe it or not they used to drive a Model T around here! The Model T was brought down via the aerial tramway that was built from Pima point, piece by piece. Continuing west on the Tonto past the corral in 1/8 mile you will come to the designated Hermit Camp use area. It's nice and you're tucked a little above Hermit Creek in the Tapeats layer. For those really adventurous you can hike up Hermit Creek 2-3 miles, bushwhacking as you go. I went up that way on a tamarisk removal volunteer trip so those trees you see cut down are part of my handiwork :-) There are a number of small waterfalls and pools up the creek worth lounging around. The last option is head west further on the Tonto to Boucher Creek. If you do the last option I recommend hiking up Boucher rather than down!

History: Much pioneer period history of northern Arizona revolves around various schemes of development designed to promote and capitalize on the indescribable but undeniable magic of the Grand Canyon. The Hermit Creek basin was the scene of one of the most aggressive of these improvement efforts. Initiated by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1911, this program involved much development on the rim and also included the construction of what was, at the time, a state of the art rim-to-river trail. The Hermit Trail was built to serve a luxury campsite near Hermit Creek. Hermit Camp predated Phantom Ranch by 10 years, and in its heyday was complete with a tramway from the rim, a functional automobile for transportation within the facility, and a Fred Harvey chef. Operations ceased in 1930, but for two decades Hermit Camp was the last word in gracious tourism below the rim. As is always the case at Grand Canyon, time and erosion have taken a heavy toll. The old Hermit Trail is today a mere shadow of its former self, but for experienced, knowledgeable canyon backpackers the walk offers a direct link to the excitement and romance of the early days at Grand Canyon.

The "hermit" of the Hermit Creek basin was Louis D. Boucher who lived in the area for 20 years. Boucher built the Boucher Trail (west of the Hermit Trail) and seasonal residences at Dripping Springs and near Boucher Creek. Labeled a hermit because he lived alone, Boucher was in fact socially active within the South Rim community.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a difficult hike. Arrive fit and prepared or this could get ugly.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2004-04-21 whereveriroam

Grand Canyon NPS Details
The upper section of the Hermit Trail is steep and sustained, dropping almost 2000 vertical feet in the first 2.5 miles. Passage through the Kaibab and Coconino Formations is via well defined switchbacks. Most of the Hermit Trail was originally surfaced with large hand-fitted rock slabs that created a smooth walking surface. Ongoing erosion has claimed much of this remarkable labor-intensive paving, but a few isolated fragments survive, especially in the Coconino. Fossilized animal tracks in the Coconino Sandstone have been noted in many locations, but were first studied in detail along the Hermit Trail. A few of these fossilized lizard-like tracks can be seen by observant hikers in the lower half of the Coconino.

Pass the Waldron Trail junction at the bottom of the Coconino and the Dripping Springs Trail near the top of the Supai Formation (taking the right fork at both junctions) and drop into the Hermit Creek gorge. Santa Maria Spring is not considered permanent, but there is usually a trickle of water and the masonry shelter offers welcome shade.

Between Santa Maria Spring and Cathedral Stairs the Hermit Trail is characterized by long traverses connected by short, sharp descents. The trail runs across an angle of repose slope, crossing high gradient drainages at roughly perpendicular intersections. As the result, the Supai section of the Hermit Trail has been badly damaged by the same erosional forces that shaped the larger canyon. Hikers must scramble across chaotic jumbles of rocks washed down or fallen from above every time the trail crosses a gully. It is possible to loose the trail entirely where breakdown has covered the original route so pay attention at these crossings. The most dramatic detour up and around a deteriorated area comes at the bottom of the Supai just above Cathedral Stairs. The uncertain footing as well as the impression of exposure presented here has caused inexperienced canyon walkers to conclude that they are engaged in a truly hazardous enterprise.

The descent becomes unrelenting at Cathedral Stairs. An endless series of rocky switchbacks eventually leads hikers through the Redwall cliff and down the talus below Cope Butte to the intersection with the Tonto Trail. The Tonto Trail is an important transcanyon route that allows access in both directions, east to Monument Creek, west to Hermit Creek. Turn left (west) and follow the Tonto Trail about a mile to the Hermit Creek campsite. Be sure to walk downstream a short distance during your stay at Hermit Creek. The little Tapeats gorge is a real gem.

The Hermit Trail continues another 1.5 miles beyond the established campsite at Hermit Creek to the Colorado River and Hermit Rapids. Follow your nose down the bed of Hermit Creek or take the cut-off from the Tonto Trail that drops to the drainage bottom below the campsite. A little of the original trail construction shows in the Vishnu Formation, but today the lower section of this once impressive trail is mostly a little foot path winding quietly through riparian vegetation to the shoreline. Hermit Rapids is a big one, well worth the trip if time and energy allows.

Water Sources: Santa Maria Spring, 2.5 miles below the rim usually offers a trickle of water, but it is not considered permanent, so don't bet your life on it. Hermit Creek is a permanent water source that flows all the way to the Colorado River. All water sources require purification.

Campsites: The only legal places to camp within the Hermit Creek drainage are the designated campsites at Hermit Creek (BM7) and Hermit Rapids (BM8).

  • The Hermit trail day hikes to Santa Maria Springs and Dripping Spring.
  • Trail conditions are tougher than the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.
  • Allow extra hiking time because of trail conditions. Hiking shoes a must.
  • Only recommended for experienced hikers.
  • Everyone needs to carry water! A common mistake is not carrying water and not carrying enough water.
  • When hiking in a group, each person should be carrying water; carrying for the group is a common mistake.
  • Always remember to eat as well as drink while hiking, you will be using alot of energy when hiking the canyon.
  • YIELD to Hikers going Up-Hill.


Trail Condition:Steep, rocky and Strenuous. Unmaintained trail. Some shade on trail, varies on time of day.
Directions to Trailhead:By shuttle bus, NO vehicles allowed.
Trailhead Elevation:6640 Feet
Services:NO Assistance on Trail.
Note:NO treated water along trail. ALL water MUST be treated!


DestinationDistanceElevationnotes
DestinationRound TripW = Water
Waldron Trail Junction1.5 mi3 mi5400 ftJunction Sign (Right at Jct.)
Hermit Trail Junction1.75 mi3.5 mi5200 ftJunction Sign (Hermit / Dripping Spring)
SANTA MARIA SPRINGS ROUTE (Right at Hermit Trail Junction Sign)
Santa Maria Springs2.25 mi4.5 mi4880 ftWMUST treat water! Rest Shelter.
DRIPPING SPRING ROUTE (Left at Hermit Trail Junction Sign)
Boucher Trail Junction2.75 mi5.5 mi5270 ftJunction Sign (Left at Jct.)
Dripping Spring3.25 mi6.5 mi5680 ftWMUST treat water!

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 66 deeper Triplog Reviews
Hermit Trail
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Bright Angel to Hermit Loop
This is my first triplog entry so sorry if it's clunky. First GC hike of the year. Weather was great, although had high winds on the 2nd day. 1st camp at Horn Creek. Water is supposed to have high radiation levels, but it wasn't glowing so hard to tell (humor). We didn't drink it. Next camp was Monument Creek. Spent 2 nights here and it was fabulous. A lot to explore, not too many people, had trickling water, and the hike to Colorado river was easy. Hiked out the Hermit Trail. Left camp at 6 am and we were out by 1 pm. Beautiful hike out.

Wildflowers
Some cactus were blooming but it was infrequent. Brittle bushes weren't quite out yet.
Hermit Trail
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BA Tonto Monument Hermit
Been sitting on these permits for 2 months now and finally it was time to go back to the Grand Canyon! I took my oldest daughter there last year for her birthday and she had a blast, so we did it again this year and also brought the boy and his friend. Stevie Wonder and my friends Corey and Alix rounded out our group of 7.
Camped in the forest near Tusayan on Thursday and got an early start on Friday morning down Bright Angel. This is my first official time down the BA. So many people it reminded me of the Squaw Peak superhighway but more international. Great views the whole way down to Indian Gardens. Everything was still nice and green. Took a short break here and filled up on water. Then on to the fun stuff. The Tonto has got to be one of the best trails of all time. It keeps a pretty steady elevation as it winds in and out of every side canyon. The views never stop on this trail. Neither does the sun. After stopping at Horn Creek for a short break we continued towards Salt Creek. This is when several in our group started to break down a bit due to the heat. Thankfully, Salt Creek had some nice shaded ledges to lay down on. We rested and fueled up and headed to Monument Creek. On the decent down to Monument Creek through the Tapeats, we saw 4 kingsnakes. Enjoyed the penthouse suite again at Monument.
Saturday we packed up and headed down to the river. This whole day was spent just relaxing on the beach. The Granite Rapids research project is looking good as several of the recently planted trees had grown quite a bit since last year. After some cliff jumping, the guys mostly just relaxed while Madi did gymnastics and the boys played baseball.. what a surprise.. Several groups of rafters passed through the rapids and a few stopped at the beach before hitting the whitewater. A group of 30 senior citizens on an 8 day rafting trip shared the beach with us for the night. The crew of Jay, Margeaux, and Leila were AWESOME!! After 4 days on the water with the seniors they were so happy to see the kids! They fed us real food and gave us beer.. THEY GAVE US BEER! :y: Probably the best part of the whole trip was when Margeaux and the crew threw Madi a birthday party at the river, complete with cake and singing! She loved the attention (and the cake)! What a special moment for her.
Next day we helped them pack up and wished them off down the river. Our group then made the 5 mile hike over to Hermit Creek. All of the camp sites were on the east side of the canyon and exposed to the sun so we spent a majority of the day hanging out at a nice waterfall. We did make it down to Hermit Rapids and the beach there. The rapids were intense but the beach there was not that impressive (compared to Granite). However, the hike through this canyon was really cool. I really liked how it went from narrows with some cool waterfalls to a very expansive but still closed in canyon. Back at camp with our larger group, we were very close to running out of fuel but another group was headed out that night and they were happy to get rid of the extra weight so it worked out perfect. They even gave us some of their extra food! We ate very well that night and got a good nights rest for the hike out the next day.
Beat the sun to Cope Butte and made it up the Cathedral Stairs no problem. Took a nice break at Santa Maria and then up up up.. That last stretch of coconino and kaibab are brutal, but victory was ours to be had. FYI the best ice cream cookie bars are at Hermits Rest, and its not even close..

Overall this was an awesome adventure and we had a really great team to share it with. A lot of times I take these trips to be alone with nature and to be secluded, but ironically what made this trip so great was everyone on our team and all of the awesome people we met on the journey.
Hermit Trail
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Hermit Basin Jaunt
Headed down Hermit with Jamie and our two good friends KC and Clint for Earth day.

None of them had ever seen Sweetheart Spring so we went there first.

Then after gawking at the Coconino-Hermit contact we contoured down toward the Supai and out to a pretty "point" where we spotted Santa Maria Spring just below us.

From there we skipped merrily back to Hermit trail near Red Bud Cove and Hikes back up toward the rim after poking around Waldron for about half an hour.

Just below the rim Jamie and I led our friends down into a drainage and headed out to show them the "Four Sisters" and some of the "unidentified rusty crap" in the area.

We found glass insulators, beer cans, chew cans, wagon wheel, gasoline containers, something that looked like Fanta, a beanie from the late 90's?!, oh and a gorgeous collared lizard.

Score!

We then hiked out and got booze.

Tis a rough life, but someone must live it.
Hermit Trail
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Boucher Hermit Loop
T'was the day before Easter and all through the canyon we searched for companions. A bunny was not to be found yet the buttonose chipmunk near and dear emitted strange sounds.

Shivering was the name of the game for the first hour followed by perfection for the balance. After five miles it felt like we were still near the rim.

Just a nice hike until the mother of all wildflower shows along my least favorite Tonto killed the pace.

Lunched in the shade of the narrows along Hermit Creek before hiking out. Denny didn't care for the ascent but found the gear to get us out before the buses stopped.

Great to hike new terrain and Dave had a funny or two to share. Big thx to Wally for driving, he's been under the weather this week.

Wildflowers
Bazillion Sego Lilies, brittlebush gone wild
Hermit Trail
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Hermit Monument Tonto & BA
Work has been really busy these past few months and I can't take time off right now. This limits my backpacking options to weekends. So I was very content to fit this trip to the Canyon in to a weekend window. And perfect weather for an early-winter Canyon hike!

We stayed with friends in Flag on Friday night, then left for the South Rim at 5a.m. We started hiking from Hermit's Rest at 7. After a little less than two miles east, along the Tonto, we headed down Monument creek to the Colorado, and then back up to spend some time in the narrows section. Monument Creek was definitely the highlight of this trip! We left Monument at 3:15pm and continued along the Tonto until we arrived at our campsite in Salt Creek backcountry area. It was about 5p.m. and the sun was setting in the Canyon. This left about 12+ miles for Sunday's hike out: east on the Tonto, and then up Bright Angel.

Snow conditions: scattered drifts on the rim. About 0.5 inch or so for the first mile on the Hermit, but no significant ice. BA has snow and scattered ice for the highest 1.5 miles. This was actually quite slippery, but trekking poles were enough. We all had microspikes, but no one wanted to stop and put them on when we were so close to the end of our hike.

Temps: 24 degrees on the rim when we departed down the Hermit, 28 degrees at our campsite on Salt Creek, 60 at Indian Gardens at noon, and 43 back on the rim at 2:15p.m. -- Not too bad, if you're prepared for it!
Hermit Trail
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Rim-Hermit-Dripping Springs-Waldron
The Turtle invited me to tag along for a Canyon hike. Hard to say no. We departed the Valley at 1 AM planning to return that evening. Between Williams and Grand Canyon we were treated with an up close (we thought) and personal encounter with a meteor entering the atmosphere. Wow! Daylight at 3:57 AM.

We hiked the Rim trail to the Hermit trail, to Dripping Springs, back to the Waldron trail, up and down Waldron and back up Hermit. Nice to hike to a couple spots I hadn't been before. Felt like a tourist at times on the Rim trail, but the views really are nice. It got a little warm by the end of the hike. Ice cream at Hermits Rest hit the spot! :)

On to more tourist activities with the Turtle... Fun hike. Thanks Denny. :)
Hermit Trail
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I got to spend the weekend in the most awesome place on Earth with the most awesome person on Earth! Haven't been to Grand Canyon since Havasupai last year and I got a great opportunity to go with my gymnast daughter, Madisyn for her 12th birthday. Went with my buddy Mark and his son Josh also, as they have been to Monument several times and I'm a relatively newbie to the Grand Canyon (**complainer disclaimer**). This place offers a lot more than spectacular views and excellent workouts, it is an experience that is measured beyond what any words could describe. You take away a lot more than photos and memories.
When we got to the park and the first glimpses of the canyon came into view, Madi's jaw just dropped for about 3 minutes straight. We camped up top on Friday night and started down Hermit at about 7AM. It was nice and cool on the switchbacks down through the Coconino. I really enjoyed the forested area between there and Santa Maria Spring. Most of this hike is in the Supai going in and out of side canyons along the side of the cliff above the redrock layer. Madi made sure that she did many gym poses in front of some pretty scenic views. I think the two of us getting to hang out together and be goofy and laugh our way down the trail might have been my favorite part of the whole trip. Seeing her enjoy herself so much and being at an age now that she can appreciate it was very cool, as a father, to witness. After a while you emerge from the side canyon and out into the main canyon where the views are even more magnificent. Coming down the Cathedral Stairs, we took our time and I did my best to not think about having to hike back up! Coming down to the Tonto level, things took a turn a bit. As we were taking our sweet time enjoying the views it was getting later and hotter and we were running out of water very rapidly. I never knew how grueling a downhill hike could be. We got to a saddle and found about a 6 ft long piece of shade that we all enjoyed and finished up the last of our water. Knowing we had about 2 more miles to go, two in our group decided to go ahead and get water while the other two took a slower pace to camp. We were all exhausted when we finally arrived but despite being Memorial Day weekend, we were able to secure the penthouse spot at Monument Creek. Having the benefit of no iPhones, and no internet nor TV, allows conversation to dominate. It is great to sit around telling stories and getting to know each other better, especially since we all have a common bond now of that brutal hike to get to camp.
The next day we hiked down to the beach on the Colorado River near Granite Rapids, where we spent literally all day just resting in the shade and enjoying watching the rafters go through the rapids. I cannot remember the last time I spent an entire day doing absolutely nothing and it was wonderful! (While the guys rested, Madi was practicing her gymnastics floor routines the whole time.. ahhh to be a kid again..). On the way back to camp, instead of taking the trail back, we opted to go through the narrow section of Monument Creek. This proved to be most excellent as climbing around this area was very fun. Not too often I get to practice the ol' Spiderman moves. Lets just say I am not as graceful as a gymnast.
We decided to get an early start on the hike out to beat the sun on the Tonto section. That was probably the main reason why the hike out was actually not that bad. Even all 23 switchbacks of the Cathedral Stairs were not that terrible. Even though we did take several breaks, we passed 3 groups on the way out. I think it has a lot to do with the psychology of knowing we have to hike out that makes the return always seem quicker. Had a nice long break at Santa Maria and enjoyed some lunch. With extra motivation and a full stomach we finished the final ascent back to the trailhead.
This was one of the best hikes I have ever been on. What can I say? Its the Grand Canyon!! Everything about this place is bigger, stepper, tougher, hotter, and more remote than anywhere else. I love all of hiking. I love the nature and views, and the company, but I also love the struggle and the pain, the frustration and exhaustion. It all comes together for an experience that changes the very fabric of who I am. Again, these words and these photos don't even come close to describing this weekend. I got to spend the weekend in one of the 7 wonders of the world with my awesome daughter and made some good friends at the same time.
Hermit Trail
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Claire and I headed back to the Grand Canyon for a nice overnighter down the Hermit Trail. We spent the night in Monument Creek and had a fun afternoon heading down to Granite Rapid and exploring the narrows by camp. We hiked out Sunday morning to beat the heat.

We drove up on Friday night and camped in the national forest west of Tusayan. This let us take our time on Saturday morning. We made a quick stop to Maswik for a light breakfast and then drove to Hermits Rest where we started hiking around 9:45am. The first few miles down Hermit make a steep drop. We made steady progress and hit the Supai where you make a long traverse. The going was moderate as the temps climbed while the sun beamed down. Shade was a commodity. Before long we hit the Cathedral Stairs and dropped to the Tonto. From there we headed for Monument Creek where we set up camp in the penthouse site.

After we had camp set up, Claire & I went for a day hike down canyon towards Granite Rapid. The going is very easy as we wind down canyon in and out of shade. Soon after we hit the Colorado River and headed for Granite Rapids. This rapid is a beast and I really enjoy admiring it from shore! It must be a thrill for river runners! After we had our fill we headed up river along the shore to check for backpackers or rafters. We were shocked to find the area completely vacant! My first two times here had multiple groups including rafters. The solitude here is a real treat. We spent time relaxing in the shade and admiring the views. I took some time to filter Colorado River water which was flowing green and clear... very easy for filtering.

We eventually turned around and headed back for camp. The return flew by and once there we decided to drop down through the narrows. It's short and relatively easy. We both wanted to keep our feet dry so we took our time as we worked our way down. This is a really fun area as we scrambled and stemmed to keep dry. I stepped in water a few times but my feet were dry overall. We had a blast and joked about going down a second time.

We settled in for a clear evening with pleasant temps. Monument Creek was filled with four small groups spread out. We have the penthouse site. This is the group site so make sure there aren't any large groups before taking this site. We enjoyed our dehydrated dinners and admired the stars. A few satellites flew over but no shooting stars. The overnight temps were very comfy as we both slept well. I love these pleasant nights in the Canyon!

Our day two started early as we wanted to beat the heat on the hike out. We broke down camp and had breakfast and hit the trail around 7:45am. The going went well on the hike out. There was a mix of shade and sunlight along the Tonto. We had all shade for the climb up Cathedral Stairs which really helped. We continued on along the Supai Traverse and took a break about a mile before the Santa Maria Spring. From there it was the typical grind up the Hermit Trail. Once up top we stopped at Hermits Rest for a cookie sandwich and soda. Another solid trip complete!

I really enjoy the camps off Hermits Rest. With this hike I have spent at least one night at all the major camps: Boucher, Hermits Camp, Hermits Rapid, Granite Rapids & now Monument Creek. These are perfect options for those wanting to get off the corridor trails and see another part of the Grand Canyon. Go to Boucher last. ;)
Hermit Trail
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Tonto Trail: South Bass to Hermit
And now, ladies and gentleman, an epic tale of adventure, danger and triumph in the grandest canyon on earth...

I've been trying to "get er done" with this hike for years. My concept of hiking the whole of the Tonto from the LCR to Royal Arch Creek seemed doable enough back in 2009 - and now 7 years later I can finally count it finished :y: . The Gems passage between South Bass and Hermit may not be the most difficult portion of this route, but it has proven over the years to logistically challenging and down right elusive. Cancelled shuttles, sick hiking partners and bad weather have cancelled my prior 3 attempts at this stretch of the trail. I vowed that come hell, high water or bad roads I would complete it this year - and the canyon pulled out some of her best attempts at stopping me.

Oh, and doing the trip this way means you have to hike out Hermit, which I hate by the way. Just sayin'.

The days before our hike, a storm blew into Northern AZ which threatened to make the roads impassable out to South Bass. A stroke of luck kept the worst of the moisture away from our area, and the roads were dry and safer than expected. It seemed almost a let-down that there was no mud on the road in, as I'd really sold it hard to my hiking companions not familiar with that road that as was gnarly and potentially dangerous. Of course, the fact that I was still finding red mud in my Subaru 3 years after driving it to do Royal Arch should have been evidence enough. Thanks to Tim for getting us out there safe and happy!

We originally had permits to camp at South Bass TH the night before our hike in, and we were VERY glad we changed our itinerary to drive in and hike down on the same day. Although it meant a very LONG hike in, it also let us spend that 11 degree night in a camping trailer (provided by the most generous Scat Daddy) rather than cowboy camping it. It ALSO meant that we didn't have to carry the gear needed for 11 degree camping with us for the remaining 5 nights ... none of which dropped below about 40. All around, a great choice!

Day 1: South Bass and Rainbows
I love this trail...up and down it is a delight to hike. The little break you get crossing the Esplanade under the watchful eye of Mount Huethawali feels like a piece of heaven. I was making up a little tune (think along the lines of Gentle On my Mind) as we hiked in...

"Well I'm back here on the Esplanade,
Making up a country song,
Hiking in with some of my good friends,
I feel I'm back where I belong,
in spite of this here country song,
walkin' through the canyon once again..."


If you read Sirena's trip report, you'll note that a couple of the folks we ran into that day either knew her or me or both of us, which made for a fun bit of conversation. I love knowing that our community of Grand Canyon devotees is not as big as one might fear, and that we all congregate in season about the waterholes and overhangs of our favorite side canyons.

Our trip for water down to Bass Tanks was hot and stressful, but in the end we got enough to drink to support a dry camp out on the point (always a preference!). I'd like to say that we took the wrong route to the tanks (following the creek instead of the trail) on purpose, looking for waterholes we'd found before. But the truth was that we really had no idea what we were doing, and we made a long trip even longer. Luckily, no permanent harm was done and the worst thing that happened was that we were short on mileage for day 1. We made camp on the plateau just before the trail turned back to the south.

When we set our packs down, I pointed out a substantial storm that was building over the Powell Plateau. We all excitedly headed down to the edge of the plateau to see the river, and the storm kept building. Once we realized that it was actually going to hop across the canyon at us, we rushed back to try to make camp before it hit. Instead, we made camp as it hit - with strong winds whipping our tents and tarps out of our hands and strong spray blinding us as we tried to stake everything down. I think the strongest rain was falling for about 5-10 minutes after we got the tents and all up, but it was never really a downpour. When the drops got more infrequent we crawled back out and were treated to that golden-light show that only a sunset shower in the canyon can give you. Even rainbows to play in!

"There's a storm brewin' across the rim,
but Roger says the chance of rain is slim.
Well either way the wind begins to blow.
The rain it beats upon my face
putting me back in to my place
I just hope it doesn't turn to snow."


Day 2: Helicopters and Bright Sunshine

The morning was brilliant as we watched a (much less spectacular) sunrise. We decided to try to follow a pattern of breaking camp before breakfast and eating later on the trail to make the most of our cooler morning hours. We figured it was about 2.5 miles into Serpentine, and we made it in a little over an hour. The hike back into the back of the canyon was a little more challenging than I'd anticipated - the Tonto platform is narrow going into the back of the canyon, and there were many little twists and turns to navigate. None the less, it was a spectacular morning for hiking - with blooming prickly pear abundant, the sage busting out with dark green foliage and delicate yellow flowers and a cloudless blue sky.

"We're Tontouring into Serpentine,
The rocks are brown, the sage is green,
The cacti have such lovely bright pink blooms,
I hope the canyon's kind to me,
I hope I hike out gracefully,
and not have this big rock hole be my tomb...
"

We filled up a few containers with water in Serpentine. Reports of the quality of this water vary from "just fine" to "damn near poison", and we weren't sure which to believe. Like any seasoned canyon hiker, though, we were aware that passing a water source with empty bottles is tantamount to running with scissors - so we topped of. Some people tried a "blend" of Serpentine water, while others kept it in a separate emergency storage device. In the end, after all was said and done, our feelings on the water were mixed. No one reported major intestinal issues, but I've always had difficulties with my inards on backpacking food and water, so it's tough to say what the culprit might have be.

Like most groups, we don't always hike close to each other, but instead accordion out across the trail. John (who earned the trail name BBJ) was out in the lead - still nervous that he wouldn't be able to keep up (obviously he hadn't hiked with me before!). Sirena was cruising in second, a real force of nature out there on the trail. Then the accordion collapsed behind her when she stopped with some unexplained leg pain.

I'll refer you to her very detailed and fascinating trip log for details on her injury, call for help and subsequent rescue: [ triplog ]. We waved goodbye to the helicopter (video here: ) and then encountered that very surreal moment where there's nothing left to do but pick up your pack and start walking again. Minus one.

The rest of the day felt decidedly anticlimactic. We Tontoured in and out of Emerald and Quartz canyons - both of which were very standard, easy Tonto canyons. As we headed back into Ruby our water bottles were getting down to just the Serpentine blends and we were glad to be approaching what we'd been told was a pretty dependable source. The sun went behind the canyon walls while we collected water and chatted with the group planning to camp there (they were curious about the helicopter since they'd all spoken to Sirena as they passed us).

"I'm looking into Ruby now,
my feet are tired, and are they how,
I'm hoping for just one small bit of shade.
The ground is hard, the sun is hot,
for water we've just this one shot
and miles to go before our camp is made."


We watered up and kept on hiking out to a sweeping vista overlooking a particularly pretty piece of marbled schist. A point camp on the Le Conte Plateau made a wonderful place to watch the stars, regain some much needed nutrients and wonder how our friend was doing up on the rim.

Day 3-4: Slogging Out the Miles

The trail description written by the NPS on this portion of the Tonto is full of warnings about the remoteness and challenge of this piece of the Tonto (which felt misleading since we leap-frogged with 2-3 groups the whole way). However, in the end they say, "..it is mostly just a question of slogging out the miles".

If this is slogging, sign me up for a lifetime of it.

We hiked through Jade and Jasper quickly in the morning before breakfast. We knew from the day before that the heat was on its way, and we wanted to water up before it hit too hard. The Shaler Plateau is beautiful with its Muave cliffs and views of the greater canyon's constriction at the Scorpion Ridge on the north side of the river.

"Turquoise is up around the bend
the trail's red, it's green, it's brown again
It's changing just as quickly as my mind.
I love the canyon's morning light
the wren's call and the raven's flight
the worries of the modern world they mend."


Turquoise is a delightful tributary to hike back into, with lots of great views down into the Tapeats narrows and across the very narrow canyon. The big natural rock tank near the trail junction was a delightful place to rest and filter water - with some amorous frogs to keep us entertained and plenty of beautiful ledges to rest on.

After departing Turquoise, the trail becomes more Tonto like than ever, with a long, relatively flat hike around Castor Temple. It started to get quite hot, and so when we started back into Sapphire, we were really hoping for a shady afternoon siesta. The canyon is quite open compared to the previous Tapeats gorges, though, and the floor is baking in the sun...

...except for the space just under 2 Apache pines at the base of the canyon just below the trail crossings. Glorious pine tree shade! We napped until the sun dipped behind the walls of the rim, then gathered water from the slick rock pools upstream. We hiked on, determined to make enough miles to give us some room for a trip to the river the next day, and we ended up at a glorious rock shelf suspended in the middle of the rocky and dry Agate Canyon.

That night, we played with our headlamps and long-exposure camera shots to pay tribute to our lost comrade. We watched the stars (so brilliant with the late moon rise) and contemplated the nature of the universe that was laid out before us.

Then its back on the Tonto - singing my new lyrics and enjoying the eternal views. Scylla Butte made me think of my favorite Stripey Butte on the AZT Passage 17a, and it made me miss my hiking buddy even more.

"I'm out here on the wide plateau,
how far it goes, it's hard to know
you walk until your feet can go no more.
The side creeks all fall into line
already eight, or was it nine?
the Tonto always has some more in store."


Water was plentiful in Slate Creek, once you get down to it. Of course, like all of the Tonto canyons that deliver a big drop through the Tapeats to get to their floor, you get a nice healthy climb to get back out and up on the plateau again. By this time, though, we were feeling quite strong and it was fun to climb. Besides, it was but a warm up for the big show coming our way at Boucher Creek.

Hiking around Marsh Butte involves navigating some massive landslides that are reasonably recent as Grand Canyon landslides go. We picked our way through boulder fields and dry moraines, hiding from the intense sun under the cover of my umbrella. rounding the corner into Boucher is like entering a whole new type of canyon - the amphitheater created by Topaz and Boucher Creek is MASSIVE, crowned by Vesta Temple.

The descent into Boucher follows a huge collapse in the Tapeats that keeps you looking upstream in Topaz Canyon. It was steep and rugged enough to motivate us to put away the umbrellas and use both poles (and our full concentration) on keeping our feet where they belonged and our pumpkins off the dirt. There was nowhere to hide from the shade, except for about a 3 square foot space at the base of a boulder, where we found our companion John resting and waiting for us to finish the descent. Then we headed over to the babbling base of Boucher Creek to top off our water bottles, dump water over our dry, sweaty heads, and begin the final descent to the river (at last! The river!).

The hike from Boucher creek to the beach is a beautiful and easy walk down the gravel creek bed. I didn't bother to keep my feet dry, but enjoyed the cool water washing through my shoes and soaking my socks. There were lots of new flowers and plants down here, including some gorgeous scarlet monkey flower. By the time we made the beach, there was ample shade and just enough sun to indulge the skinny dipper in the party.

We watched a boat trip run the rapid, wistfully I might add, wishing that we could ride along (freezing water notwithstanding). Though I'd originally intended to camp upstream of the creek confluence, I'd completely forgotten about the GIANT beach downstream. The boys went off exploring and their excited discovery of a practically virgin stretch of white sand where the boaters usually camped got us to pack up what we'd spread out and move. Thus ensued one of the more delightful nights I've ever spent backpacking - with barefoot dancing on the beach, long ballads being sung and Scat Daddy's first cowboy's night out (of the tent). The rapid sang us to sleep and woke us in the morning again, refreshed, rehydrated and ready to climb.

"I'm still singing this here country song,
aren't you glad you've come along
on my travels through the canyon wide?
Camped under a starlit sky
the sand is soft, the hikers high
I wish the boats could offer me a ride..."


Day 5: Finishing the Tonto
The day went precisely as planned. We woke early, followed the winding stream up to its travertine dome and ate breakfast next to a gushing waterfall. We explored the ruins of Boucher's cabin briefly before beginning the climb back out of the canyon behind White's Butte. Then it was across the Tonto again to the next (dry) tributary. There's a beautiful if small campsite at Travertine which was still in the shade when we arrived at lunch time, so we took our siesta there. It was a little difficult to be still, knowing that I was so SO close to my finish point, but the clouds which had kept us cool in the first part of the day had burned off and hiding from that sun was a important part of keeping things fun. Once the death-orb had moved into position to erase our shade, we picked up and started the final leg into Hermit Creek and my last little piece of un-explored Tonto Trail.

I loved the little stretch that skirted the cliffs just above Hermit Rapid, ducking around an ancient juniper that clung to the slopes like a stubborn old man. My vertigo liked it less, though, so I didn't linger. By 3:45 we were in Hermit Camp, doing my happy dance and throwing Wendy's all over the place like I'd done something special. Yes - I was doing the happy dance with my pack ON - that's how excited I was!

We managed to snag the awesome ledge camp just as it got shady and we settled in for a delightful afternoon and evening of story swapping and booze finishing. A wonderful night's sleep was all that was in between me and the only part of this trip that I hadn't looked forward to: the hike out on the Hermit Trail.

Day 6: Did I Mention I Hate Hiking Out Hermit?
Okay... I guess this has become an epically long trip log, and all you really need to know at this point is that I successfully hiked out the Hermit Trail. We did have one fun encounter along the way: a young woman who was traveling from Grandview to Hermit met us on our hike up. She was a solo hiker from Australia by way of British Colombia, and would be traveling into the canyon once more the next day to help bring some food down to a group traveling very slowly from South Bass and out the Bright Angel. She was fun to talk to, and we helped her a little with rides once we got to the rim.

The Hermit is just a frustrating hike out. I actually enjoy the Cathedral Stairs...it's those "paved" ramps in the Coconino that really kill me. My feet don't like that steeply angled tread, I'd rather do steps up any day. But, for all the bitching it wasn't that bad and we were out in time for showers before grabbing an early dinner in Tusayan.

"As I climb all those Cathedral Stairs
the condors circle up in pairs
but they won't get a feast from me today.
I'm feeling good and pretty strong,
though the canyon sometimes proves me wrong
I think I'm gonna make it all the way"


As the sun set on yet another wonderful adventure in the canyon I began thinking about my next big goals, both in the canyon and beyond. I hope all of them provide me with as much challenge, satisfaction and sheer magnificent beauty that this one has.

But maybe, if at all possible, a couple fewer side canyons.

"I'll be back, I don't know when
to hike the Grand Canyon again
You know, I just can't seem to stay away.
There's something there I can't resist
a special kind of magic bliss
Come with me friend next time, and we will play...

...another stupid country song,
I promise it won't be so long,
but then again I always tend to lie.
I'm better off just walking there
deep inside the great rock lair
lets go and hike the canyon one more time.


Wildflowers
Prickly pear and black sage were blooming a lot. Cliff rose and the redbuds in the canyons up above the plateau.
Hermit Trail
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Grand Canyon South Rim & Red Mountain
Hiking the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River and back has been on my bucket list since I was a teenager (some 45 years ago) and I finally fulfilled that dream hiking with members of the Arizona Backpacking Club headed by Clyde Kilgore and Peter Pilat and 7 others.

We arrived on Friday, March 11th car-camping at the Mather Campground. There were at least 30 elk roaming around the campground and throughout the Grand Canyon Village area. Crazy. After we set up camp, we took a short hike down the Hermit Trail deviating off trail to a site called the "Four Sisters." Clyde discovered this place years ago and wanted to share this little treasure with the group. We hiked to four natural arches -- more like bridges -- that very few people know about but yet is close to a heavily traveled trail (Hermit Trail). The first night at Mather Campground it started snowing around 2:30 a.m. and temperatures in the 20's. I was toasty warm in my tent cot bunker but waking up with 4 inches of snow on top of it made packing it up a bit of a challenge.

Saturday, March 12th -- We ate a good breakfast at Maswik Lodge and then donned our backpacks, strapped on our micro spikes, braved the bitter cold wind on top of the rim and down the slippery Bright Angel Trail we went. We stopped along the way to view various pictographs that many people miss while hiking on the Bright Angel. We took our time and stopped at both the 1 1/2 and 3-mile rest stops. It wasn't until the 3-mile rest stop that we took off our micro spikes. It was an exhilarating hike down to Indian Gardens where we set up camp for two nights.

After setting up our IG camp, we took a short hike on the Tonto trail to a point west of the Plateau Point to the edge of the inner gorge--a point less traveled and unlike Plateau Point, this point had no guard rails. There we discovered several cairns and benchmarks and fantastic views in all directions especially of the Colorado River.

We came back to camp, made dinner and watched the sunset from the camp ranger's porch sharing my flask of "Fireball" with the gang. We were all in bed by 7:30 p.m. and the choir of snores commenced. I slept fantastically.

Sunday, March 13th -- I've been looking forward to our hike to the river and Phantom Ranch. The weather was perfect! On the way down to Phantom Ranch, we stopped (off trail) to a Native American Ruin on the edge of Plateau Point across Garden Creek from the Bright Angel Trail. The cliff dwelling and granaries were a treat to see. It always amazes me that these dwellings stand the test of time and to imagine life back then. After experiencing the Devil's Corkscrew at the point where Garden Creek flows into Pipe Creek, we went off trail again to see stepped waterfalls. Most people on the Bright Angel Trail miss this hidden wonder of the canyon. I climbed on some tricky ledges and footings to get to the waterfall but it was worth the effort.

We hiked to the river to see 25 young folks in shorts and tank tops playing on the beach of the Colorado River. They were on a planned "life experience" trip and you could tell they all appreciated the beauty and magnificence of this magical place called the Grand Canyon. It was a joy watching these teenagers. I talked one of my fellow backpackers to dip his feet in the river with me. The rest of the group would not because their feet were all taped up from blisters. The water was definitely cold but it sure felt nice.

We took the River Trail to Phantom Ranch. I drank two expensive lemony lemonades and one beer. So Good! We spent an hour at the Ranch then hiked back up the River Trail and Bright Angel to Indian Garden, but Clyde, once again, had another option for us. Four of us opted to experience the upper portion of the Old Devil's Corkscrew skipping the section of the Bright Angel Trail along Garden Creek and connecting with the Tonto Trail below IG. It was definitely off trail and we got to see more cliff dwellings and granaries.

We got back at camp, had dinner and was in bed by 7:30 p.m. It was a windy night and I'm not talking about the snoring this time.

Monday, March 14th -- Up by 5:30 a.m., had a quick breakfast, packed up and everyone got to hike out at their own pace with the caveat that the 2nd to the last person stayed with the last person. It took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to hike up the Bright Angel Trail. It was tough! I knew it would be and I was prepared for it, but it was all I could do to keep moving one foot in front of the other. I took 10-minute breaks at the 3-mile rest stop and the 1 1/2 mile rest stop. There was a train of people hiking down the Bright Angel Trail (Spring Break tourists) all looking at me with my big backpack thanking God it was not them. I felt proud of myself and exhilarated that I made it to the Bright Angel Lodge meeting up with the group without puking my guts out. Yeah!

After having a beer at the Bright Angel Bar, we all went for Mexican Food in Tusayan and then all departed home except for me and one other gal who spent another night at Mather campground because she knew she did not want to drive home to Yuma after hiking out of the Grand Canyon. I stayed the night at the Best Western and enjoyed one of the best showers I've ever had! I did not want to drive home either.

Tuesday, March 15 -- Had a big breakfast at the Best Western and then traveled to Red Mountain Geological area in the Coconino National Forest. I've never been there before. This short 2.6-mile hike was worth the detour. This cinder cone, estimated to be over 1 million years old, rises 1,000 feet above the plateau to 7,960 feet. Very unique rock formation and features.

While back on the road heading home to Phoenix, I get a call that my Mother-in-Law just got out of surgery from having her gall bladder removed and that I will be flying out to help her with her recovery for a few weeks. Hence the delay in my trip report. I will post photos soon.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Hermits Rest Trailhead
From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

Hermits Rest is at the west end of Hermit Road. Hermit Road is a restricted area, you must take the free-bus. Keep in mind the bus ride is over a half hour long each way when planning your hike.

Backpackers with a valid backcountry permit can drive private vehicles to the Hermit trailhead. A numerical code (provided by the Backcountry Information Center) is needed to open the Hermit Transfer access gate. Use the keypad mounted on the steel post that supports the gate to enter this code. Drive to Hermits Rest and follow the dirt road 1⁄4 mile beyond the end of the pavement to the trailhead.

During the winter the Hermit Road is open to private vehicles and no special access is required.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 239 mi - about 3 hours 58 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 344 mi - about 5 hours 28 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 91.9 mi - about 1 hour 49 mins
128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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