Hermit Road on the Grand Canyon's South Rim

Explore this less-traveled route on the South Rim's western end by foot, bike, or shuttle. Hermit Road follows the rim for 8 miles with scenic overlooks.
Author:
Publish date:
Biking on Hermit Road. Photo by Elisabeth Kwak

Biking on Hermit Road. Photo by Elisabeth Kwak

Explore this less-traveled route on the South Rim's western end by foot, bike, or shuttle.

Located west of Grand Canyon Village, Hermit Road follows the South Rim for 8 miles and offers access to scenic overlooks via the park shuttle and rim trails. It is closed to most private vehicles except during the months of December, January, and February. For that reason, it's a great spot for cycling.

Hermit Road Highlights

Map of Hermit Road on the Grand Canyon's South Rim by Peter Sucheski

Map of Hermit Road on the Grand Canyon's South Rim by Peter Sucheski. Click on image to enlarge.

1. Hermits Rest

The arch welcoming you to Hermits Rest. Photo by Whit Richardson

The arch welcoming you to Hermit's Rest. Photo by Whit Richardson

Built in 1914 and designed by architect Mary Colter to resemble a hermit's hideaway, this longtime tourist outpost is located at the western terminus of Hermit Road. The stone structure contains a fireplace and front porch as well as a gift shop and snack bar. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter). Restrooms are nearby.

2. Pima Point

Pima Point in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Whit Richardson

Pima Point in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Whit Richardson

This vantage point that leads out to the northernmost edge of a wide promontory offers excellent views of the canyon and the Colorado River, including Granite Rapid (you can sometimes hear its roar). In 1925, the Fred Harvey Company installed an aerial tram that dropped a 6,300-foot-long aerial tram here to ferry supplies down to Hermit Camp resort, 3,600 vertical feet below the rim. It was dismantled in the 1930s when the resort was closed under National Park Service policies aimed at returning Grand Canyon to more natural conditions.

3. Monument Creek

Peer down into the depths of the Monument Creek drainage. A paved, multiuse trail begins here and extends west to Hermits Rest.

4. The Abyss

The Abyss in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

The Abyss in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Not for the acrophobic! The view from here is 2,600 feet straight down over sheer cliffs that descend to the Grand Canyon's Redwall Formation and overlook the Monument Creek drainage area.

5. Mohave Point

An outstanding view of the Colorado River 5,000 feet below. From here you can see three rapids: Salt Creek, Granite, and Hermit. Use binoculars to see river runners negotiate the whitewater; Hermit Rapid's waves can be up to 20 feet high.

6. Hopi Point

Sunrise at Hopi Point on the South Rim

Sunrise at Hopi Point on the South Rim

This overlook juts farther out into the canyon than any other viewpoint on the South Rim, making it a premium spot to watch the sunset. Among the famous formations that light up in the evening glow are Shiva Temple and Zoroaster Temple.

7. Powell Point

In addition to panoramic canyon vistas, a memorial is located here honoring pioneering Grand Canyon explorer John Wesley Powell, who led the first recorded journey down the Colorado River in 1869.

8. Maricopa Point

Grand Canyon Maricopa Point. Photo by Whit Richardson

Grand Canyon Maricopa Point. Photo by Whit Richardson

For travelers heading west down Hermit Road, this is the first stop with sweeping canyon views. Just west of the point (and fenced off to visitors) are the remains of the Orphan Mine, which operated from 1891 to 1969 extracting copper and uranium. The National Park Service acquired the site in 1987. Today, the Rim Trail detours around the closed minesite due to concerns about lingering radiation.

9. Trailview Overlook

Peer down at the snaking switchbacks of the Bright Angel Trail, the park's most popular hiking path, and watch hikers make their way to the lush oasis of Indian Garden and beyond to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. Also visible: the majestic El Tovar Hotel on the rim.

10. Hermit Shuttle Transfer

The Grand Canyon Shuttle Red Line at Hermit's Rest. Photo by NPS

The Grand Canyon Shuttle Red Line at Hermit's Rest. Photo by NPS

A free public park shuttle (red route) goes between here and Hermits Rest, stopping at every overlook point. During summer months (May-September), buses run every 15 minutes between sunrise and sunset and every 30 minutes for one hour after sunset. Round-trip travel time to Hermits Rest and back (without getting off the bus) is approximately 80 minutes.

The Hermit park shuttle doesn't run in November, December, and January.

Other shuttle routes at transfer: Grand Canyon Village (blue).

Hiking Trails from Hermit Road

Hermit Trail: Following the Hermit Creek drainage for 8.2 miles to Hermit Creek campsite and ending on the Colorado River at Granite Rapid (10.3 miles), the Hermit Trail is a good option for intermediate-level backpackers. The path is named after Louis Boucher, the "hermit," who unsuccessfully mined the area in the late 1890s and allegedly lived alone for 20 years. Explore the hermit's stomping grounds with a 3- to 4-day loop hike that descends the Hermit Trail to the Colorado River and returns via the Boucher and Dripping Springs Trails. Backpackers with permits are allowed to park overnight at Hermits Rest.

Rim Trail: A good option for families and novice Grand Canyon hikers, this fairly level path follows the rim edge for 7.5 miles, connecting the viewpoints between Grand Canyon Village/Hermit Shuttle Transfer and Hermits Rest (best stretch to escape road traffic noise is between Powell and Hopi Points). The 3-mile section from Powell Point to Monument Creek is dirt. The multiuse, paved "Hermit Greenway," suitable for biking and wheelchairs, extends for 2.5 miles along the rim from Monument Creek to Hermits Rest.

Biking Along Hermit Road

Greenway Trail: This paved trail system is open to bicycles and extends from Grand Canyon Village Train Depot east through Market Plaza, terminating at Grand Canyon Visitor Center at Mather Point. Other sections of the trail traverse from the Visitor Center to South Kaibab Trailhead, and from Grand Canyon Village down a flat, forested path to Tusayan.

Watch the Video: Biking on Hermit Road

Related

Sunset at Hopi Point on the South Rim. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Grand Canyon South Rim

Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views. It is the most-visited part of the canyon.

Hiker at Bright Angel Point on the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

Those visiting the remote North Rim (5-hour drive from South Rim) will be rewarded with a chance to see the canyon without the crowds.