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Hermit Trail
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mini location map2014-11-09
48 by photographer avatarbballard
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Hermit TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 09 2014
Backpack7.00 Miles 3,400 AEG
Backpack7.00 Miles5 Days         
3,400 ft AEG50 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
We backpacked Hermit, Tonto, and Bright Angel as a five day, four-night loop. What an incredible experience- a bucket list trip that has wet our appetite for more Grand Canyon adventures. Personally, this was my first time venturing below the rim and everything went wonderfully according to plan, including above average temps for this time of year.

The Hermit trail is a very difficult descent and it took the group most of the day. I felt the trail was in good shape however and we were going easy on our legs while soaking up the views around every corner. Cathedral Steps pushed us to the edge through the red wall layer. Thanks Hikearizona for the geologic descriptions of all the rock formations! Camping at Hermit Creek the first night was pleasant besides our position downwind of the latrine.

It was onto the Tonto trail the next day to Granite Rapids. Reaching the river and camping there one night was very rewarding and exciting. A high flow event happened to be scheduled for the morning and we curiously watched the water levels rise, the river turn to brown, and the rapids become an even more incredible torrent.

Tonto trail to Cedar Spring: very enjoyable short day. Monument Creek is also a nice camp and extremely picturesque. Cedar Creek has an interesting little slot canyon overlook at the edge.

Horn Creek was our next camp along the pleasant Tonto Trail. The only drawback was hauling our camp water from Cedar to avoid the radioactive flow from the old mine. The deer and skunks didn't seem to mind the water.

Overall this was an amazing trek through more remote areas west of the corridor. There was a ton of variety and amazing views along every section of the trail. We broke up our journey so we could enjoy and make the most of our time. It's nice appreciating some solitude before meeting the crowds at Indian Garden. It forced us to upgrade gear, pack more efficiently, and become more creative with our dehydrated menu. This trip no matter how you plan your camps is whole-heartedly recommended, and will easily tempt us back for more exciting future journeys.
Mule Deer

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cedar Spring Dripping Dripping
Small flow and good clean pools to filter from.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hermit Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Lots of nice water flowing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Horn Creek Light flow Light flow
Decent looking flow, useful for cleaning up from camping, but not recommended to drink because of radioactivity from old mine. Note, the camp is actually the east side of this drainage area.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Monument Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Looked like there was good water but we didn't take a close look at the creek area near the camp.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Salt Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Light flow possible, not recommended because of salty mineral taste. We didn't bother with water here.
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