for free!
show related photosets
Hermit Trail
109 Photosets

1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6  
mini location map2014-11-15
22 by photographer avatarLucyan
photographer avatar
page 1   2
Hermit TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 15 2014
Backpack19.40 Miles 3,400 AEG
Backpack19.40 Miles2 Days         
3,400 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Distance: Moderate (20 miles)

Elevation: Difficult (~4000 ft. loss, then back up)

Wilderness: Difficult (Unmaintained trails, rocky terrain)

Hermit Trail is technically unmaintained, and it much more primitive than those that make up the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails. Hermit Trail is notoriously rocky and steep, which will make the descent down and return up more difficult than any trip to Phantom Ranch. Because of this, the NPS recommends that no one attempt the Hermit Trail unless they have experience hiking in the Grand Canyon already. The flip side to all of this hand wringing about the difficulty of this hike is that few people venture on this trail or will stay at the Hermit campsite. That being said, we had Hermit trail and campground to our selves whole weekend ;)

The Trip Itself:

We drove up Friday night, camping at Mather campground. Saturday morning we rose early and drove into the park to catch the hiker shuttle to the Hermit trailhead. Part of the backcountry permit is a code to get us through the gate that restricts Hermit Trail use. The hike to Hermit Campsite is 8.2 miles and 3700 ft. down. It took most of the morning and some of the afternoon to get down. A worthwhile option at this point was to drop our camp gear at the campsite and continue down another 1.5 miles and 600 ft. down to Hermit rapids at the Colorado river for great views and some solitude amongst the naturals cathedrals. (Of course, that means another 1.5 miles and 600 ft UP to get back to the campsite).
Sunday we woke up early to make the slog back up Hermit and to a hiker shuttle to the main area of the park.

More info:

Trail Description
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-offfrom 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.

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

Locations/Elevations Mileages
Hermit trailhead (6640 ft / 2024 m) to Santa Maria Spring (5000 ft / 1524 m): 2.2 mi (3.5 km)
Santa Maria Spring (5000 ft / 1524 m) to Breezy Point (4420 ft / 1347 m): 3.3 mi ( 5.3 km)
Breezy Point (4420 ft / 1347 m) to Tonto Trail Junction (3210 ft / 978 m): 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Tonto Trail Junction (3210 ft / 978 m) to Hermit Creek, BM7(2900 ft / 884 m): 1.2 mi (1.9 km)
Hermit Creek (2900 ft / 884 m) to Colorado River at Hermit Rapids (2300 ft / 701 m) : 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Hermit trailhead (6640 ft / 2024 m) to Hermit Creek, BM7(2900 ft / 884 m): 8.2 mi ( 13.2 km)
Hermit trailhead (6640 ft / 2024 m) to Hermit Rapid, BM8 (2300 ft / 701 m): 9.7 mi (15.6 km)
Tonto Trail Junction (3210 ft / 978 m) to Monument Creek, BL7 (2995 ft / 913 m): 2.3 mi (3.7 km)
Monument Creek, BL7 (2995 ft / 913 m) to Granite Rapid, BL8 (2330 ft / 710 m): 1.6 mi (2.6 km)
Hermit trailhead (6640 ft / 2024 m) to Monument Creek, BL BL7 (2995 ft / 913 m): 9.3 mi (15.0 km)
Hermit trailhead (6640 ft / 2024 m) to Granite Rapid, BL8 (2330 ft / 710 m): 10.3 mi (16.6 km)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fourmile Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Santa Maria Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
7 archives
HAZ Member
816 Photosets

1 ... 34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,  40,  41  

end of page marker