Hermit Trail

Grand Canyon National Park

A lesser-visited path to the Colorado River, often chosen for shorter out-and-back runs.

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
27 km
Ascent
1.7 km
Descent
1.7 km
Low Point
716 m
High Point
2 km
Gradient
25˚
VIEW ON MAP
Hermit Trail Map

Description

One of the least visited routes to the Colorado River, the Hermit Trail offers a similar experience to the popular Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails, just without the crowd. Many opt for shorter out-and-back trips, though experienced runners should have no problem reaching the river and returning in less than 8 hours. The developed trailhead also offers water, restrooms, and a concession stand to stage your run.

According to this article by The American Southwest, "Early in the 20th century the Hermit Trail was a well used and well maintained route, an upgrade of an old Indian path, used to take visitors to a resort-like campground (operated by the Santa Fe Railroad) beside Hermit Creek, but is much degraded due to decades of neglect after the camp closed in 1930."

Though an out and back to the Colorado River is attainable, the same article by The American Southwest notes two landmarks along the trail that many turn around at. The first, Santa Maria Spring, is just 2 miles from the trailhead and offers visitors drinking water and a shaded spot to take a break. For those heading further down the trail, stock up here as this is the last dependable water source.

The other landmark, Breezy Point, is 1 mile further (3 from the trailhead) and offers sweeping views atop a prominent vista. Should you continue further, you'll quickly be greeted with one of the steepest sections on the Hermit Trail, Cathedral Stairs. Beyond this, the trails sees few visitors, often only backpackers planning to stay at a campground near the river.

Many would consider this run best in spring, the snow and ice melt offering plenty of drinking water along the way. Trekking poles are highly recommended and a hydration vest is necessary for anyone heading beyond Cathedral Stairs.

Sources: https://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/grandcanyon/hermit-trail.html

Difficulty

Difficult

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area