Park in Grand Canyon Village and then walk towards the Bright Angel Hotel. Continue past the hotel treading west along the rim. You will soon find the bus stop for the Hermits Rest Point loop, which comes every 15 minute or so. Take the bus to its final stop, Hermits Rest. The road is only open to public traffic during a brief period of time in the winter, so odds are you will be required to take the bus. At Hermits Rest there are pit toilets, water refill stations, and a small snack bar/gift shop.
Total Gain: 703m
|Type of Hike||Out and Back|
|Route Signage||Excellent before junction, moderate after|
|Backcountry Campgrounds||Yes, permits required|
|When to Do||Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat|
From where the bus drops you off, follow the main trail that leads along the edge of the point. This trail — on the opposite side from the toilets — will pass by the gift shop and snack bar, and continue along through the picnic area of the point. At the end, past where the winter parking lot is, you will find the Hermit Trailhead.
From here, start along the switch backing path that leads down the flank of the point towards a small plane. Though not as steep as the notorious Grandview Trail, this path still holds its own in the grade department. Take care when descending, and remember that you will have to ascend this same trail! It should also be noted that there are very few shaded spots along this trail, so leave early to save yourself on the ascent!
After 1.5 miles you will reach the Waldron Trail junction. Turn right here to continue along the Hermit Trail. At this point you will have done the majority of the decent. Continue along the mostly flat valley for another quarter of a mile until you reach the Hermit Trail junction. Turn left here, signed as going towards Dripping Springs. At this point the trail quality goes down a few notches, principally due to the lack of attention from hikers that this route receives. This is the halfway point to the springs, in terms of distance.
The hike will now start to gain elevation. You will continue along the somewhat exposed rim of a red rock cliff face. You will weave in and out with the rim, slowly gaining and losing elevation. You will get views down into the heart of the Grand Canyon, including the incredibly narrow and steep sided sub-canyon known as Cathedral Steps. If you look really hard you will even be able to see the rest house for Santa Maria Springs across the valley!
After traversing above the cliffs the trail veers left and heads up a lush valley. Along this section of the hike, cacti and other thorny plants have invaded the way, so watch your step and be ready to duck and weave! The other slight route finding difficulty along this section of the trail is when the path crosses a dry creek bed. However, just simply following the cairns and other distance trail markers to be on your way without confusion.
After a final short climb you will arrive at the springs, dripping from a mossy spot on the roof of the shaded alcove to a small pool on the bottom. This is a fantastic spot to wet your hair and clothes, cooling yourself off for the way back up.
- If you want to drink this water you must bring a method of purifying it, as it has not been treated.
- For an especially long day hike, try combining the South Rim trail with Dripping Springs.