Santa Maria Springs

  • Difficulty
  • 6.9km
  • 640m
  • 2-2.5h
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While exploring the far western tip of the Grand Canyon, this hike descends towards a rest shelter with a quaint rocking chair as well as water for the horses. Stunning views of the edge of the canyon, as well as of impressive rock formations permeate the entire trail.

Getting there

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 roughly every 15 minutes. 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: 640m


Type of Hike Out and back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets At trailhead
Family Friendly No
Backcountry Campgrounds Yes, permits required
When to Do Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

 Detailed Description

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 to 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 point’s flank toward 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. Again turn right to remain on Hermit Trail.

From here you will switchback a few more times to descend from the small plateau. Here, however, there is plenty of shade. After another three quarters of a mile you will finally reach the Santa Maria Springs. There is water here, however it is not potable, so pack some sort of sterilization method if you plan on drinking it.

Insider Hints

  • If you forgot your water filter but still want to make good use of the spring, dunk your shirt into the basin. It makes the climb up in the sun more bearable!
  • For an especially long day hike, try combining the South Rim Trail with either Santa Maria Springs or Dripping Springs.