Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Avoid GCNP crowds at Hermit’s Rest

Pima Point on South Rim Trail. Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS.
To get away from the crowds that frequent the popular Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails on Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim, consider heading to the Hermit Trail trailhead for a couple of options.

During April to October, take the shuttle bus from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest (Personal vehicles may be driven and parked there, though, if you have a handicap permit.). Hermit’s Rest is a century-old building built as a restaurant for a stop along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It was designed so that from a distance it looks like a natural rock formation and now serves as a small gift shop and snack bar.

From Hermit’s Rest, you have two day hike options:
g Rim Trail segment – Sometimes referred to as the South Rim Trail, the trail runs 13 miles past Grand Canyon Village to the South Kaibab trailhead but can be shortened to a 1.1-mile trek to Pima Point. This option is perfect if you have younger children or are carrying them on your back. The dirt trail is fairly flat and offers excellent views of the canyon a mile below. At Pima Point, you can pick up a shuttle back to the village or return for a 2.2-miles round trip.
g Hermits Trail segment – The 8.9-mile backcountry trail easily can be shortened for a scenic 1.2-mile day hike to the Waldron Trail junction (2.4-miles round trip). The trailhead is about 500 feet west of Hermits Rest. Children hiking the trail should be fit teenagers as it’s a steep walk back up; the unmaintained trail descends 1240 feet into the canyon.

Read more about day hiking the Grand Canyon in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Grand Canyon National Park guidebook.