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Boucher Rapids via Boucher, AZ

Guide 33 Triplogs  1 Topic
  4.5 of 5 
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 21 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,630 feet
Elevation Gain -4,297 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 14-18 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 42.49
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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20  2017-03-11
Boucher Rapids Hermit Loop
121  2016-03-31
Tonto Trail: South Bass to Hermit
24  2015-03-19
S.Bass to Silver Bell
24  2015-03-19
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS
27  2015-03-19
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS
45  2015-03-19
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Tonto Trail
34  2015-03-19
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Gems
44  2014-06-07
Boucher to Bright Angel
Page 1,  2,  3
author avatar Guides 10
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 432 map ( 3,121 miles )
Age 60 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:42am - 7:26pm
Official Route
4 Alternative

Black Diamond
by Tim

Note: 21 mi RT is from the NPS. Tim logged 23.6 RT. GPS trace depicts 18.5 RT.

Overview: This Grand Canyon trail is not maintained, but still easy to follow. However, expect a great deal of scree and exposed areas, especially in the steep sections of which there are two in particular. There are two ways to access the Boucher, ("Boo-shay"), Trail from the south rim. One is from The Dripping Springs Trailhead and the other more popular way is from Hermits Rest Trailhead as it has passenger vehicle access, (permit required), from the Grand Canyon Village. This description is from Hermits Rest. The total distance from Hermits Rest to Boucher Rapids was 11.8 miles per our GPS unit and it took us 8 1/2 hours, not including our 2-hour siesta at Boucher Creek.

Hike: Five of us, (Carolyn, George, Rick, Keith, and myself), began this trip on May 1st at 5:40 am. The temperature was in the upper 50's with no wind and the day gradually warmed up to the upper 70's as we neared the bottom. An ideal day. One begins the descent down Hermits trail which is steep, but much like a sidewalk as it receives a lot of day-hiking traffic and is well maintained. A very popular day hike is to take the Hermit Trail down to Santa Maria Spring and back which is probably a 2 to 2.5-hour trek. The first intersection you come to is for the Hermit Trail and Walden Trail at roughly the 1-mile mark. Continue west on the Walden Trail roughly another mile until you come to the intersection of Walden/Dripping Spring and Boucher Trail when you will take the Boucher Trail north. This trail is pretty much a lateral transverse atop the red wall around the Yuma Point. After Yuma Point, the trail heads back south into upper Travertine Canyon which is when it begins its first steep descent off of the red wall which is very similar to skiing a black diamond run. The switchbacks are covered in loose scree from previous rock slides and the trail is very exposed in some sections. There is one section that is particularly steep where one may find it more comfortable to lower the backpack rather than try 3-pointing down while balancing 40+ pounds on your back. Whichever way you choose you should be just fine provided you're taking your time and paying attention. As you head back south parallel to Travertine Canyon on the west side, the trail levels off until you reach a saddle just north of Whites Butte. This was where we stopped for lunch at approximately 11:15.

Once you head over the saddle you begin the descent into a double black diamond. This is the steepest part of the trail as it heads down into a narrow canyon just west of Whites Butte. It is not necessary to lower packs anywhere on this part but it is steep throughout. With a pack on your back, the knees can take a beating. A HAZ member, Desert Girl, recommended investing in a pair of hiking poles which paid for themselves twice over on this trip. After coming off of this double black diamond you begin a more gradual westward descent to the intersection with the Tonto Trail.

From this intersection, you continue to head west into Boucher Creek. At Boucher Creek, you will find a wonderful stream of cool running water. Some enterprising hikers from the past have constructed several small dams which create several pools under a cottonwood tree that you can filter water from and "wallow" in to cool off. This was a great stop for a rest and took approximately 10 miles in and took 7 1/2 hours to get to. We elected to take an extended break here before heading the rest of the way down the creek to the river. The remaining 1.8 miles took less than an hour and simply follows the creek bed the entire way. We found it easier to walk straight down the creek and accept wet feet rather than trying to follow the side of the creek amongst the scrub brush. At the intersection of Boucher Creek and Topaz Canyon, you will see a large pile of cairns on the bank above you to the left. This is where the Tonto Trail continues west. You continue to head to your right, (ie: south), down the creek. At this point, the creek winds through some spectacular slot canyons until it finally emerges on the beach at Boucher Rapids. There are numerous campsites on this sandy beach. It's the best campsite I've ever had. The Colorado River is significantly colder than Boucher Creek but braving a dip is a well-deserved reward after a hard day's work.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.

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

2003-05-05 Tim
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.

Permit $$

Grand Canyon National Park
Details for each are occasionaly below numerous alerts
Entrance Fee
Overnight/Backpacking Permits
Grand Canyon Use Areas Map
Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run

Map Drive
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
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
prehydrate & stay hydrated

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