Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
"Over 250 people are rescued from the canyon each year.
The difference between a great adventure in Grand Canyon and a trip to the hospital (or worse) is up to YOU.” This foreboding quote comes from the Grand Canyon website and is reiterated on dramatic signs throughout the park.
Know your fitness and experience before embarking on any Grand Canyon adventure.
In addition, choosing the appropriate time of year can make all the difference.
Carry PLENTY of water; it gets extremely hot in the canyon.
Plan to catch the very first shuttle of the morning, which is at 6am.
While this Dripping Springs route is not advised in the summer, it does not reach the canyon depth and accompanying heat that many other hikes do. As Scott Thybony explains in his excellent guidebook, "Official Guide to Hiking Grand Canyon: Day Hiking and Backpacking South and North Rims," the Hermit Trail is a "Threshold Trail," which is the category between the well maintained, wide "Corridor Trails" and the very faint, almost non-existent "Primitive Trails." As such, it is much narrower than the well-known Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails. For experienced desert hikers, the 6-mile out-and-back Dripping Springs hike is wonderful, but is not for those with a fear of heights or aversion to exposure.
Portions of the trail are extremely narrow and hug the edge of sheer drop-offs, where a slip and fall would be disastrous.
The trek begins at 6,420', sharing the first 1.5 miles with the Hermit Trail as it drops to 5,280'.
At the junction, which is at the head of Hermit Gorge, the route heads northwest and stays relatively level for the next mile.
As with most trails in the Grand Canyon, there are numerous options for length and destination, but making the 2.5-mile point a turn-around makes a perfect day out.
There is more than enough scenery and photography opportunities and just enough edgy excitement to increase the heart rate! Access to the Dripping Springs Trail is from the Hermits Rest trailhead.
From March 1 to November 30, Hermits Rest Route shuttle bus provides transportation between the Village Route Transfer and Hermits Rest.
For schedules and stops, visit: go.nps.gov/gc_shuttle .
Private vehicles are only allowed between December 1 and February 28.
Hermits Rest has water, snack bar, toilets, and a gift shop. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/day-hiking.htm#CP_JUMP_1910241 https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/HermitTrail.pdf